A Beginner’s Guide To Yoga Practice At Home

So, it’s coming to the end of the year, Christmas season is upon us. I know that I have been slacking with the Grace Guru lifestyle recently as work and social schedules are very hectic! During this season I start to brainstorm goals for my new year’s resolutions. If you’ve been thinking the same and trying yoga is one of your goals, this short and simple guide is just for you! We will talk you through the basics so you’ll be calmly yogi-ing your way into 2016!

A key benefit of starting yoga at home is that you are not committed to a specific time or place, you have no nerves about being in a room with strangers, or having anxiety about not being able to reach into a certain pose. The only promise you need to make is to a yoga mat!

However, you will require one form of commitment, a pledge to yourself. Yoga beginners will need an open mind and a lot of patience, mix this with determination and you will feel your body progress and see results in no time at all!

Step 1 – Breathing

Lay down flat on your back (on your yoga mat), feet shoulder width apart and hands relaxed to your side. Attempt to engage your diaphragm and take a long deep breath, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeating this 10-15 times will reduce your heart rate and take you to a much calmer place. You can also play calming background music, to help create a peaceful atmosphere and block out any surrounding noises.

If something has been irritating you during the day, think of this as you breath in and out, feel the tension release through your shoulders and down your limbs.

Top Tip: Remember to maintain a smooth breathing pattern throughout your yoga routine to help your body stretch and strengthen.

Step 2 – Stretch

Mountain Pose – stand tall with your feet together; let your arms rest to the side with fingers together. Feel your spin stretch from the bottom of your spine all the way to the top of you neck.

easy begginer yoga pose

Child’s Pose – this pose is perfect for resting! Start wit your knees and feet on the floor, with your feet touching. With your knees apart rest your belly and chest between your legs. Stretch your arms out in front of you and place your head on the floor.

Beautiful sporty fit yogi girl practices yoga asana balasana

Step 3 – Progress

5 Yoga Poses To Strive Towards!

  1. Tree Pose – stand with arms at your side, shift your weight onto your left leg and place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. With hips facing forward, when you have found your balance, bring your hands in front of you into prayer position.iStock_000012256061_Small
  2. Warrior – step your feet about legs distance apart and turn your right leg out to about 90 degrees. Take your arms out to the side and bend your right knee so it is above your ankle.virabhadrasana warrior pose #4
  3. Downward-Facing Dog – from the mountain pose hinge forward from your waist to place your flat palms on the ground. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart with your arms and back in a straight line. This may feel a little challenging at first, but remember to breath and relax deeper into the pose when you feel more comfortable.Business woman in conference room
  4. Cobra – lie facing down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and your legs extended, tuck hips downwards as your squeeze your glutes, push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest.Yoga upward facing dog pose
  5. Bridge – lie on the floor with your knees bent and directly over your heels, place your arms at the side with your palms down, press your feet into the floor as you lift your hips. Bring your chest toward your chin and clasp your hands under your lower back. bridge

Step 4 – Cool Down and Relax

When you have finished a yoga-routine it is really important to lay down and completely relax your mind and body. The corpse pose is perfect for ultimate relaxation!

Relax your body, with your arms and legs by your side in a natural position that feels comfortable. Feel each muscle in your body start to relax, shut your eyes and breath deeply. Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes to restore balance ensuring you will be re-energised after your first yoga session!

Beautiful sporty fit yogi girl relaxes in yoga asana Savasana

Which poses do you love to practice?

PicMonkey Collage

Namaste!

 

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

What is one of the most powerful word we use or should use everyday?

A magic word that in a second transforms everything into a great and happy moment for everyone?!

Yes, it’s one of the first words that we learn as a child and hear and say everyday…

Thank you!

“Thank you” Do we? But Do we use and say it often enough? Is it possible to overuse it? And do we really know the real meaning and the power that this one phrase captivates?

I think it’s very good and important to give lots of gratitude to all the good things that surround us everyday, whether it be – people, food, work, family, children, sun, moon and the stars! ….. the list can be endless!

Let’s keep reminding ourselves as to what we should start being thankful for! Everything we have in this life!

Let’s not look back but pay attention to the existing… the moment of now… the power or now!

I love saying thank you to the universe or call it God if you will, every time I’m having a meal. Blessing our food and energising it with positive vibes?!
So many millions of people are hungry at this moment and we the lucky ones who lets be honest spend most of our time complaining about some bullshit that does not really matter!

Why not be grateful for the family and friends we have! Whether that be a few or alot it simply does not matter…just be grateful and send your positive energy out!

Wake up every day and be grateful for life and for a new wonderful day to ahead!

Look at the rain or the sun and be thankful for Mother Nature!

I believe that by expressing gratitude you will even boost your inner happiness! I often take a few minutes in the morning or when throughout the meditation process to just say thank you for all the good things and people that I have in my life! This will work for you too…

Start by creating this amazing energy around you and even more amazing things will start coming back in to your life!

By sending positive vibes out into the universe, the universe will reply to you with the same or even more back!

Therefore I would like to end this post by saying thank you my dear subscribers for reading this and sharing the same gratitude to the world!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Benefits Of Sirsasana!

Yoga has been around for many years and is credited with many benefits. For example, it is said to have healing qualities in addition to enhancing physical fitness. It is important to understand some yoga poses since they carry specific gains for you. One of the most significant of these postures is Sirsasana.

What Exactly Is Sirsasana?

Widely considered as the best asana, Sirsasana is essentially the headstand. In plain words, it means balancing your body on your head with your feet pointing upwards. Some people think that doing this is acting like a child; after all, children are the only people capable of engaging in dangerous physical play like attempting to support the body’s weight with the head.

What these people do not know is that the headstand is among the most beneficial poses that one can practice in yoga. However, there is a rider. This is the kind of posture or activity that carries with it the tag ‘don’t try this at home.’ Seriously speaking, only engage in the Sirsasana if you have an expert taking you through the motions. If you have back or neck problems please wait until you are fully healed for you to practice Sirsasana. You would rather lose the benefits for the time being than worsen your health problems.

headstand_sequence 

What Are The Benefits Of Sirsasana?

Sirsasana can help you to increase the flow of blood in your body by allowing the blood into the lower limbs to reach the heart faster and get purified. People who sit for long will tell you that by the time they rise up they feel heavy in the feet and legs. The truth is that a lot of blood will have flowed to the lower limbs with little blood moving up. Through Sirsasana it becomes possible to allow stagnant blood to flow back to the heart more efficiently.

Another important benefit of Sirsasana, and which is related to the first, is allowing blood to reach the head region more effectively. Studies show that this movement is important in helping in toning the pituitary gland. All other endocrine glands are controlled by the pituitary, which also helps the reproductive glands to function more effectively. You also must understand that having blood flow to your scalp and follicles will greatly improve the quality of your hair.

Your organs are subject to gravitational pressure and Sirsasana will give you relief for negative effects of this strain. This is in relation to hydrocele and piles which can make you very uncomfortable. It is important to know that for your entire life, your organs have faced downwards because of gravitational pressure. The best way to give them a relief is to let them face the other way for some time.

Sirsasana will also help you to relax particularly when you are stressed. Stress is a common phenomenon in human life but it affects each person differently depending on issues and circumstances they have to deal with. The headstand helps you to become less worrisome and to overcome fear and anxiety. As you breathe in and out in this posture, you will begin to deal with the issues that make you anxious.

Sirsasana will also help you with focus issues. Your brain needs adequate blood to help it function optimally. When you give the brain its food, it becomes better in its work in addition to helping it to focus. In this situation, you are likely to feel more confident, active and attentive. That is what many people are trying to achieve through many not-so-effective methods. With this yoga pose, you have a shortcut to concentration.

If you want to make your arms and shoulders stronger, then Sirsasana is one of the best strategies for doing this. As you stand on your head, you will be building the stamina and muscles in the head and shoulders. To make sure your muscles get the required exercise, you can push your body down and up as you get off the pose. There are not many exercises that can give you this type of workout.

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If you are having problems with your metabolism and digestion, it is time you tried Sirsasana. One of the reasons you are not feeling well in your abdomen is because some of the food you have been eating is stuck somewhere in your system. This yoga pose will help to remove such food and this will in turn help blood to flow into the organs that support digestion. Nutrients are also likely to be absorbed faster and more efficiently when you engage in Sirsasana. 

There are many other benefits of Sirsasana. For example, you can relieve your migraines and headaches through this pose. If you are suffering from asthma, try this posture and you will find relief. Sirsasana also rejuvenates your body. The only way to find out is to begin Sirsasana lessons today.

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With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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What Is Karma?

How many times have you heard someone say, “What goes around comes around?” Karma is the principle that is epitomised by the unwritten law of life that for every action there is a reaction. Have you ever realised that if you do evil there seems to be a way through which evil comes back to you? Let’s put it another way. Do you know that when you do good, good things happen to you even if it is not immediate?

Karma is a Sanskrit word that means word, action and deed. But there is more to this term.

Some Examples

To understand Karma more, let us delve into more examples. Chickens love eating insects like ants. It is part of the chicken’s food. But notice that the remains of a dead chicken are eaten by ants. Wood from trees is the raw materials for making a matchstick. But you must be aware that one matchstick can burn an entire forest.

Have you ever heard of a driver who cuts off other people in traffic or overlaps only to cause an accident? This accident means that all the hurry has now come to a stop and instead of arriving at his destination this driver spends that night in a police cell, a hospital bed or a morgue. This is karma acting in the here and now. There are many examples that we can site, but those ones will suffice for now.

The most important thing is for you to get the drift. Karma is a power that you cannot see but it ensures that every action or thought is reflected back. It is like an echo which comes back to you. Sorry, I had stopped giving examples but could not resist this one. Karma is in simpler terms the law of cause and effect. Whatever you do comes back to you in a different way.

The Law Of Karma?

It is important to emphasise that the law of Karma is universal and cannot be broken. It does not depend on you. Karma will happen whether you want it or not. It does not matter whether you know it or not. You don’t have to love or hate karma for it to work in your life. It is like the law of gravity. You cannot claim don’t believe it exists and then jump from the roof of a skyscraper expecting you will not be hurt or die. Try it and the morgue will be your next destination; a place where you cannot question your beliefs or change them.

Secondly, everything that happens to you is deserved. I know you are fond of blaming others for your mistakes – pardon me if you don’t. But the truth is that you are the architect of your fate. Your misfortune and happiness are just part of your karma. You are in your current state because you caused it. That friend you put in trouble may suffer for the time being, but sooner or later you will find yourself in the same situation. Nothing happens by mistake. You plan it, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Thirdly, everything you go through, the thoughts, the feelings, everything, is specifically for you. Karma demands that you learn from your experiences. Since your current situation is a result of your past decisions and actions, you need to learn to do good and stop being evil. While you may be happy today, tomorrow you have to pay for your past mistakes. The only way to avoid this kind of a misfortune is to live today in a manner that you don’t regret what will happen to you tomorrow.

It is evident, therefore, that you are not fated. Rather, you set your own fate. You have the gift of free will or freedom of choice. You can decide to live honourably or commit atrocities that will come to haunt you later. Nobody has written your future or determined it. You create your tomorrow as you go about today and as you interact with other human beings. Every day you have the opportunity to change your future and to avert bad karma.

Despite this, whatever has been done in the past cannot be undone. You have to experience your share of good or bad karma. The most important thing is for you to learn from what you are going through. When you put your hand into red hot coal, you will get burned. It would be foolhardy for you to be burned again since you should have learned that hot coal can burn your hands. Karma demands that you change your future by learning from the present.

The Role Of Intentions In Karma

It is not possible to talk about karma without mentioning or discussing intentions. Karma is a creation of intention. Most of the evil or good we do is well-thought out. You take time and ponder on what you want to do and the effect it will have on the other person. Once you are convinced that your actions will have the desired good or bad effect, you launch your weapons. Whatever happens, you are creating good of bad karma for yourself and it will surely come to pass.

Does that sound like the couple you caused to separate by spreading malicious rumours and gossip? Wait for your time because karma does not fail. Remember that time you made someone to lose a job by creating the impression that they were not trustworthy? How about the day you laughed at that sick old lady? Isn’t it you who toasted to the collapse of another person’s business? Well, it won’t take long before your bad karma pays you a visit!

What If I Harm A Person Unintentionally?

Karma is born of intention. Where there is no intention to harm, karma will not be unfair to you and inflict punishment. I am saying this because many of us commit mistakes without intending and then fear that bad karma will come our way. Karma scholars hold that where there is no intention, karma is absent. You don’t have to worry. Perhaps you should just perform good deeds to the person you harmed without intention as this will attract good karma.

But I Know Some Evil People Who Never Experience Bad Karma, You Say.

I know them too. I am talking about the relatives who steal from orphaned children – depriving the destitute of their inheritance. I know the politician who murders competitors and instigates violence in order to win a political seat. I know you are aware of the drug load who continues to thrive while the poor people who buy his evil merchandise wallow in addition, poverty and death. There is also your sadist neighbour who will do or say anything simply to see that you are in trouble and suffering. The list is endless.

Don’t despair though; karma does not forget. It is a universal law that cannot be bent. Evil people cannot escape punishment. Their fate may delay, but is will surely come, most likely with vengeance. Karma does not move in a straight line; nor is it subject to our ways of reasoning. Even when people appear to enjoy destroying the lives of others, karma is still lurking in the background, waiting to pounce.

If you have been a keen observer you will have realised that the children of criminals almost automatically become criminals. I read about one of the sons of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi being sentenced to death by a court in that country. When he and his father were running the show and killing with impunity, they would never have thought that a day would come when someone else would rule Libya and condemn the Gadhafis to death. For decades, this family strangled Libya with impunity. The Libyan people would not have understood or appreciated karma then. Today you can be sure they understand that evil will never go unpunished.

Is Karma A Religion?

Although karma is about ethics and morality, it is not a religion. Karma is not about a god who controls what people do or don’t do. It does not emanate from a supernatural being. Karma is a rule of life and existence. Think about it this way: the law of gravity controls objects in space and on earth without fail. Similarly, karma is the law that controls the spiritual world, the realm of the unseen.

I needed to emphasise this because they are many people who believe that karma is about Hinduism. That said, karma does share some beliefs with oriental religion. For example, karma is about reincarnation. This is the belief that people never die, at least not the soul. After your die, you will continue to exist in a different form and your karma follows you in your reincarnated body. In the same way, your actions come back from the dead, as it were, to haunt you.

It is possible that you understand why some oriental religions advocate for animal rights and adherents practice veganism or vegetarianism. Apparently it is because of the belief that the animal you have in your compound is actually a reincarnated human being who, from his or her action in the previous human life, deserved, through karma, to be reborn as an animal! If you mistreat that animal, karma will catch up with you and you might as well be born a dog in your next life! Wow! That is powerful!

I know I am digressing, but this is important for you to understand the extent to which karmic teachings are entrenched in oriental religions. That goes to show the powerful nature of karma and the fact that we live in an interconnected and never-ending universe where karma will never let you off the hook. If it can haunt you in death, how can you avoid karma when you are walking on the face of the earth?

Are Words Also Subjected To Karmic Law?

Words are powerful tools through which we create reality. Whatever you convince your mind through your words that you can do, you will. Words are also born from intention. The heart and mind ponder what to say before you say it. Consequently, like actions, your words cannot avoid the law of karma. When you pass judgment upon others expect to be judged by the same standard.

Beware of your words when calling people lazy, fat, arrogant, silly and many other negative terms. Time will come for the same words to be used on you. Instead of unfairly criticising people, seek to understand why they behave the way they do. Before you say any words that are unfair to others, think about the type of karma that will result. Remember you did not create anybody and have no justification to call anyone ugly or foolish. If you do, your bad karma will surely catch up with you one day.

Is Karma Reversible?

No and Yes! No because once you have committed a felony, your punishment will come after you without fail. Remember it is a law that cannot be broken and it does not play favourites. However, karma can be reversed by learning from it. By this I mean that once you get your fair share of bad karma, you need to learn and practice good deeds so that you attract good karma.

The universe understands your feelings when you agonise over thoughts or actions that invited bad karma. It cooperates with you as you change your behaviour towards those you may have hurt. It helps you to change your bad habits in order to avert bad karma. As you seek for forgiveness from those who have suffered from your unfair actions, you will begin to feel more at home with yourself and good karma will be you reward.

Final Words

You cannot live on earth and assume that your good or bad actions happen in a vacuum. Karma exists to remind us that we have to be kind, generous and understanding with fellow human beings. You have had your fair share of bad karma, but you can change your life and enjoy more of good karma by beginning to behave responsibly today. Remember karma is real and active, whether you believe it or not.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

 

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BOOK REVIEW: “Calm. Calm the Mind. Change the World” – Michael Acton Smith

The author Michael Acton Smith has been cited by some magazines and organisations as one of the most influential personalities in the digital industry. He co-founded Calm, founded Mind Candy, and created Moshi Monsters. Calm. Calm the Mind. Change the World. Is a handbook sharing the many ways and means by which one can have calmness in daily life.

giphy-13Purpose

Truly, the world is becoming a ball of tension. In daily life, in anywhere, at work, at home, in politics, there is nowhere to run. The calm revolution is precisely a revolution to fight the hysteria going on in each of us. This trughly beautiful handbook intends to share expert knowledge contributed and shared by neurologists and gurus of mindfulness brought together by the author for the purpose of bringing it to the mainstream, thereby reaching more people.

What’s in it for You?

This beautifully-crafted handbook illustrates so many practical, easily doable, and creative activities or strategies that promote calmness in daily life. There are so many little things that can bring us calm and rid the tensions, pain, even anger. A walk to nowhere, without an agenda in mind, nor a goal, is a very simple and inexpensive act that can relax our mind and therefore our bodies. The benefits of learning how to overcome anxiety and stress are priceless. It’s not just the increase in productivity at work, it’s improving your health and life expectancy, increasing the quality of relationships, and countless others, all of which lead to a more peaceful and happy life. All of us are after all, still earthly creatures. We naturally aspire for self-preservation. We only want what’s best for us, we only want to be happy. Being calm and happy means we can give more of ourselves to our loved ones and to anything we work on. Calm begets calm, quality begets quality. Hop in the bandwagon and spread the calmness! The world needs it, that’s for sure.

Get a copy now and get a gift for yourself. The gift of calm. The gift of happiness.


 With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Why You Should Eat Ginger

Ginger comes across as a weird knobby root that resembles an animal from the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. You will be forgiven if you dismiss this important spice as another animal relic from the past. But strangely or ironically enough, some of the best health benefits can come from the most unlikely sources. Indeed, if the people who manufacture medicine were to reveal all the places and organisms from which they derive the pills, tablets, capsules and syrups you take so thankfully, you would think twice before taking any medicine.

Before I send more shivers down your spine, allow me to make a very important statement. If you are not eating ginger, you are not doing your body any favor! I don’t care what you think about the strangely shaped rhizome. What I want you to know that it has tons of health benefits that you may be missing out on. You may be thinking that this is a new health fad that the internet is abuzz with. I will understand if you consider this a wave that will dominate mainstream and social media as well as women gossip forums and die away gradually just like it had started.

If that is the case, you don’t know much about ginger and you need to keep reading this article. Allow me to jog your mind a little bit. During the time of the great explorers like Christopher Columbus, European nations discovered that people in the Far East had healthier lives because of eating spices. Trade in spices therefore became one of the major reasons for people to risk their lives on uncharted waters. While there were many spices involved, ginger was among the most liked. In India and many Arab countries, people liked to eat ginger in its various forms because of the perceived health benefits.

Spicy ginger root

It was in the 16th Century when Europe began to embrace this spice. Today, ginger is a common ingredient in many kitchens in the developed world. However, owing to migration from the countryside to urban centres where people have little time to cook, many have forgotten the amazing medicinal and health qualities that are contained in ginger. Rarely will you find a restaurant that sells food spiced with ginger. Those that serve such meals are few and scattered and only a few people ask for food that has ginger in it. It is unfortunate that while ginger has defied the test of time and remained an essential ingredient, many people are unaware of its benefits and continue to suffer from health complications that could be alleviated or assuaged by eating this spice.

So, Why Exactly Do You Need To Eat Ginger?

1. To detoxify your body:

You and I know that our bodies are in need of cleansing owing to the toxic substances that we eat and the air we breathe. And don’t be cheated by anybody that your body is clean and that it can naturally get rid of all the toxins in it. More importantly, instead of enslaving yourself to ridiculous and ineffective detoxification formulas, simply incorporate ginger in your food. This spice has the elements you need to get rid of poisonous substances in your body, while enjoying ginger’s exceptional flavor.

2. To avert cancer:

If there is a health condition that is scaring people today, it is cancer. Ginger can be of great help to you in this regard because it contains antioxidants in abundance. Not many plants can compete with ginger when it comes to antioxidants content.

3. To overcome nausea and related conditions:

Do you know people who feel sick when they get into cars or when travelling? How about those who have spells of dizziness and nausea more than they should? Think about the pregnant woman who starts be sick when she encounters some odours or aromas? All these people need not worry because ginger can help treat their problems. A little ginger will go a long way in effectively dealing with morning sickness and nausea.

4. To treat inflammations:

People with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis will find great relief when they eat ginger regularly. This plant has anti-inflammatory agents that bring relief to the body especially when one has swellings. This means that ginger can be of great help to the sick and elderly who spend a lot of money on conventional medication. If you have joint pains, there are various forms of ginger that can bring back a smile on your face too.

5. To overcome flatulence:

Most of us have experienced the embarrassing moments then the tummy decides to announce to all and sundry that all is not well. The rumblings of the tummy sometimes become audible to the outside world, with the excess gas being released in not-so-pleasant odours. With ginger, you need not worry much because this spice treats such stomach disorders and brings calm back to your tummy. The impact is almost instant and you don’t even have to eat a lot of ginger for it to work.

6. To bring back your appetite:

There are times when your appetite will take a flight yet you need food to give you energy and nourishment. When hunger pangs seem to elude you, all you need is fresh ginger juice. You will be amazed at how fast your craving for food will come back.

7. To relieve menstrual cramps:

For some women, the monthly visitor is not always welcome. Nobody likes to feel excruciating pain and to miss work for some days simply because of a natural process. The good news is that eating ginger regularly will help you to deal more effectively with this pain. In particular, ginger will give you the much needed relief during that period.

Information On Ginger That You Must Know!

  • Use ginger in many forms. For example you can drink juices, use powdered ginger in tea, mix it in salads or apply its oil externally to the skin.
  • Get acquainted with the many ways that you can prepare ginger as part of your meals. There are countless amazing recipes that will ensure you enjoy your healthy portion of ginger without compromising your meal plans.
  • For nausea and other problems that require immediate relief, you can chew a portion of the ginger rhizome, whether raw or dried.
  • Fresh ginger has more nutrients and benefits than other forms. Once you cut your ginger for use, wrap the unused part in plastic material and freeze it.
  • If you purchase or prepare ginger powder, store it in glass jars that are closed tightly and keep these containers in a dark, dry and cool area.
  • When ginger powder is prepared and stored appropriately, it can last for up to twelve months without any form of preservative.
  • If you want to eat raw ginger, ensure you wash it thoroughly with clean fresh water and peel it into small pieces that you can eat comfortably. If the taste is too strong for you, grate your ginger and add some honey to make it more appealing to your taste buds.
  • Don’t let sore throat and dry coughs spoil your day when you can prepare and enjoy a delicious cup of ginger tea.
  • If you are feeling bored or you need some shot of energy to boost your concentration, take a beverage or a meal containing ginger.
  • Beware that since ginger helps you with memory and concentration issues, it can scare away your sleep. In essence, avoid eating ginger before going to sleep.

 My Fav Ginger recipe!

Ginger and Lemon Detox Drink

Ginger tea

  • 350ml of warm filtered water
  • mince ½ inch knob of fresh ginger root
  • squeeze ½ lemon juice
  • Add squeezed lemon juice and minced ginger in to the warm water and mix well!

 

Anti-Inflammatory Ginger Turmeric, Honey and Garlic Tea Recipe

Ginger tea with lemon. honey and tumeric for detox

  • 350ml of boiled hot water ( 80C )
  • 1/3 teaspoon of grated turmeric
  • 1/3 teaspoon of grated ginger root
  • 1/3 teaspoon of grated garlic
  • 1/3 teaspoon of organic or Manuca honey
  • Add all ingredients in to the hot water, mix well for 3-5min and enjoy!

 

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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World Science Day for Peace and Development

Science has done wonders to the world and humankind over the years. This is not about to stop. However, even among great and renowned scientists, there is a tendency to believe that science has exhaustively understood how the natural world works. Countless scientists believe that the basic questions of science have been answered and what man remains with is the quest to fill the skeleton with flesh.

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and writer considers this a fallacy. Granted, it is possible to fall into this trap considering the advances of science in recent years. Many believe that there is nothing more to be discovered; no earth shattering discoveries can surpass those that have been made in the past. Obviously, the ideal of science is different from the reality. Science has become a belief system or worldview called scientism.

It appears that there is no difference between formal religion and scientism. Both have deeply-held beliefs that cannot be challenged. Both are rigid in approach and consider the other party to be wrong. Science then becomes static, content with the facts and information it has gathered through empirical enquiry over time. When science becomes a form or religion, it loses is fundamental approach and essence.

These dogmatic beliefs hold science back. The law of diminishing returns is active in that the more we spend on scientific research; the fewer the number of new discoveries we arrive at. Scientists do not anticipate that any new thing will come out of their research. This leads to the conclusion that science needs to be set free from the kind of dogmatism that enslaves it and makes us believe that there is only one way of practicing science.

In his book, Science Set Free, Dr. Sheldrake takes the 10 dogmas of scientism and turns them into hypotheses. He approaches them from the point of view of doubt, a fundamental requirement for learning. He tests the hypothesis using empirical methodologies and realizes these popular dogmas cannot stand the test of science. It is obvious that scientists have fallen into complacency over time, choosing to believe that what they have known all along cannot be questioned or challenged.

The 10 Dogmas Of Science

 Dr. Sheldrake identifies the following dogmas as being fallacious and detrimental to real science:

  1. Nature is mechanical: Mechanistic science teaches that nature is a machine. Everything, including human beings, trees and stars, is fixed.
  2. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same except during the Big Bang when it increased exponentially.
  3. The laws of nature are fixed. Scientists believe that they only need one free miracle to explain the rest.
  4. Matter is unconscious.
  5. Nature is purposeless. The evolution process has no purpose or direction.
  6. Biological inheritance is material.
  7. Memories are stored as material traces inside the brain
  8. The mind is inside the head and mental activity is brain activity.
  9. Psychic phenomena are illusory. Telepathy cannot happen since the mind cannot work away from the head.
  10. Mechanistic (conventional or modern) medicine is the one that only works. Alternative medicine doesn’t really work, but is only a placebo approach.

Female circulatory system

From these predominant beliefs that have dogged science for ages, it is obvious that science has been hijacked by materialism. Dr. Sheldrake believes that we need more realistic and organismic science. It is time we questioned what we have always considered to be scientific truth. This is the journey that the biologist undertook and he has documented his findings and arguments in Science Set Free. You need to read this book to see how he systematically explains the fallacy within each of the 10 popular dogmas of science.

For example, Dr. Sheldrake explains how Christianity contributed to the first dogma. Scientists were originally religious people who believed that God was a machine maker who created a machine called the universe. It was created from atoms that could not be destroyed. There was no detailed scientific research to prove this and people blindly accepted the teaching that they could not change anything in the universe. Today, this is a popular teaching of science. In school, children are taught that matter cannot be destroyed.

Dr. Sheldrake also explains that recent developments have indicated some variations in the speed of light as we know it. Similarly, it is becoming obvious that gravitational pull is not absolute. Moreover, many laws in physics and biology can now be challenged because they do not apply to all phenomena equally. His argument then is that scientists must return to the essence of science – empirical inquiry – instead of assuming that they have arrived at the absolute truth.

As we observe the World Science Day for Peace and Development, it is important to remember that science is meant to improve human life through constant research, discovery and implementation of findings. Science is a quest for information and cannot reach a point where nobody is allowed to challenge it. The only way science can go back to its ideal is to challenge the dogmas of the religion called scientism.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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What Does Your Freedom Mean To You?

November 9 every year is a very important day for Americans and many other people all over the world. The World Freedom Day, as it is called, was first commemorated in 2001 to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall and the eventual collapse of communism in parts of Europe. Today, it is a symbol of all that we can point a finger to and call ‘Freedom’? But what exactly is freedom for you?

Freedom means many things to different people. In the days of slavery, nothing brought joy to a slave more than to know that he or she would no longer provide forced labor to a master. Many slaves had died while trying to escape their cruel owners. Those who managed to escape lived as fugitives, dreading the day they would be captured and taken back to their masters.

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Freedom to a slave meant more than stopping to offer forced labour on cotton and sugarcane farms. The worst form of slavery was mental suffering. The very idea and feeling that one’s fate was in the hands of another person was appalling. When the pain of a collection of people under slavery became too much to bear, they revolted, as happened in the Caribbean Islands and other places. People preferred to live in poverty than to be owned and oppressed.

Freedom means being able to determine what will happen to you. That was not the case with colonised nations. The histories of colonisation are complete with accounts of peasants who took up arms to fight powerful, well-armed and trained militaries of occupying nations. To many people, fighting modern armies with crude weapons was suicidal. However, the oppressed were willing to pay any price for freedom.

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Contemporary societies may not be fighting for physical freedom, but we still have various forms of slavery. The fight for democracy did not come easy for many nations. Autocratic rule is gradually coming to an end, but the fight for equal rights for all people came at a price. Many prodemocracy fighters were killed, jailed or injured for life. But there are places where people still have to go to the streets to demand for fair and free elections. This is the point at which freedom becomes a fight for human dignity.

As you consider what your freedom is, do not forget that the freedom of speech and assembly you enjoy did not come without a price. Today, you can take to the street to demonstrate your anger, but that was not always the case in your country. Be grateful that you can criticize the ruling class without necessarily ending up in jail. Freedom is never given to people on a silver platter. It has to be fought for.

On this World Freedom Day, remember that freedom is not absolute. Your rights are not supposed to infringe upon those of others. You have the right to demonstrate your anger against the government by protesting. However, you should not destroy other people’s property or loot in the process. The moment you use your freedom as an excuse to infringe on the rights of others, your freedom becomes slavery.

Do not fall into the temptation of using your freedom of expression to intimidate or harm others. Today, mainstream media and social media are used to unfairly target innocent people and to tarnish personalities. Press freedom should be used to bring out the good in society as well as to expose evil. However, when you infringe on private lives and write malicious and false stories about others because you don’t love them or you have been paid to assassinate their characters, you are not worthy of the freedom you enjoy.

Don’t forget too, that there are still millions of people that don’t enjoy the freedoms you do. Did you know that corruption, poverty, hunger and disease are forms of slavery? A child somewhere will not go to school because some politician or government official has embezzled funds meant to finance education. People will sleep on empty stomachs while others will die of preventable diseases. If you can support a cause that seeks to improve the lot of such people, you will have moral freedom – the satisfaction that you are helping another person to enjoy freedom.

Freedom is a concept that also applies to habits. Many of us are enslaved by alcoholism, drugs, cigarette smoking, pornography, binge eating and other negative habits. Unless you break away from these negative behaviors, you are not really free. In other words, freedom is not merely physical. If you are not in control of your faculties, you are a slave that needs to be freed as soon as possible. Freedom means you have the ability to choose how you will behave in any situation.

On this World Freedom Day, endeavour to become free of negative physical, emotional and psychological circumstances. Moreover, make sure you help others to become free from any form of enslavement. Remember, you cannot be truly free when those around you are slaves. Moreover, freedom comes with responsibility and unrestricted freedom can be slavery in itself.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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You Can Grow New Brain Cells – Dr Sandrine Thuret

Can humans develop new brain cells, as adults? Scientists do not generally agree about this, as it is a relatively new field of investigation. However, Dr Sandrine Thuret, a neuroscientist with expertise in cellular, molecular, ageing and behavioral biology, says you can. In her laboratory at King’s College London, Dr. Thuret studies adult neurogenesis – the process of forming new brain cells in specific brain regions in adults.

Thuret’s work concentrates on the hippocampus, which is a gray structure within the middle of the brain. Scientists have long known that the hippocampus is essential for learning, emotion, mood and memory. Recently, researchers learned that the hippocampus is a unique structure within the mammalian brain which is capable of generating new neurons or brain cells.A researcher, Jonas Frisen of the Karolinska Institute, found that the human brain generates approximately seven hundred new neurons each day within the hippocampus. Dr Thuret notes:

“While this may not appear to be much when compared to the several billions of neurons within the human brain, by the time you clock age fifty, you would have exchanged all the neurons you were born with within the brain with adult generated neurons.”

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The Importance Of Adult Neurogenesis

As stated earlier, new neurons produced within the hippocampus are essential for memory and learning. “And within the laboratory,” states Dr Thuret, “we have found that if the adult’s brain capability to generate new neurons within the hippocampus is blocked, then certain memory abilities are also blocked”. Furthermore, according to the scientist, this is particularly new and true for spatial recognition.

Spatial recognition is utilized in everyday activities, including simple tasks such as deciding what size of container is required to hold a particular object or navigating your way within the city. It is also utilized when you look within a mirror and understand which side of the reflection correlates with the left side and which with the right. Also, spatial recognition skills help to keep individuals from getting lost when adjusting to a new apartment or office building.

“A lot are still being discovered”, says Thuret, “and aside from being essential for memory capacity, neurons are also essential for the quality or features of the memory”. Also, they are beneficial for adding time to your memory as well as helping to differentiate memories that are very similar. For example how are you able to locate your bike, which you park every day at the station, within the same area; however in a somewhat different position?

Neurogenesis And Depression

Thuret also says that she and her colleagues at King’s College London have been conducting some research on neurogenesis and depression. “In studies of depression using animal models, we have discovered that there is a lower level of generation of new neurons in the brain”, says the scientist. “And if antidepressants are given, it was discovered that the synthesis of these new neurons increased, and depression symptoms were decreased, thereby establishing a clear connection between depression and neurogenesis.” However, if you merely block the generation of new brain cells, then the antidepressant’s efficacy will be blocked as well.

This finding helps to explain why some patients who have been informed that their cancer is cured still develop depression symptoms. According to Thuret, the medication which doctors give to their patients which stops the multiplication of the cancer cells also impedes or stops the generation of new neurons in the patients’ brains. In addition, it will take some time to produce new neurons that attain normal functions.

“Thus, collectively, now we believe that there is sufficient evidence to assert that neurogenesis is an excellent choice if we wish to enhance mood or memory formation, or even stop the decline connected to stress or connected to ageing” – observed Dr. Thuret.

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Can Neurogenesis Be Controlled?

Thuret says the answer to this question is a definite yes, and she details some activities and behaviors that can influence the generation of new neurons within the adult brain. These activities include:

  • Learning : This will increase the generation of new neurons.
  • Stress: Stress will reduce the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus.
  • Sleep deprivation: This will also reduce neurogenesis.
  • Sex: Sex will boost the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus of the adult brain; however Thuret cautions that balance is important. Excessive sex can actually lead to sleep deprivation and attendant medical disorders.
  • Ageing: Generation of new neurons will reduce as you age, however that does not mean it will stop completely.
  • Running: Running can greatly increase the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus of the adult brain. Thuret offers more explanation about this.

Thuret points to an experiment conducted by Salt Institute’s Rusty Gage, which showed that the environment can influence the generation of new neurons within the brain. In the study, some mice were placed in a cage with a running wheel, while others were placed in another cage with no running wheel.

At the end of the experiment, mice from the cage with a running wheel showed a huge increase in the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus, whilst mice from the cage with no running wheel showed very little increase in the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus of the brain. This shows that activity has a huge impact on neurogenesis.

The neuroscientist also points out that diet can also impact the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus, and also specifies some eating practices that can influence neurogenesis. These practices include:

  • Calorie restriction of about twenty to thirty percent will boost generation of new neurons.
  • Intermittent fasting (abstaining from calories for a brief time period) will boost neurogenesis.
  • Consumption of flavonoids that are contained within blueberries or dark chocolate will boost neurogenesis.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids which are contained in fatty fish such as salmon will boost the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus.
  • High saturated fat diet will negatively impact neurogenesis.
  • Consumption of alcohol will reduce the generation of new neurons in the brain. Nevertheless, everything is not lost. Dr. Thuret points out that resveratrol, which is a component of red wine, has been found to boost the survival of newborn neurons. Thus, when next you are at a get-together, you may want to opt for this potentially “neurogenesis-neutral” drink.
  • A soft diet (diet that avoids or restricts foods which are difficult to chew or swallow) impairs neurogenesis.

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“Even though all of this data has been generated utilising animal models, this diet has been given to human participants as well”, says Dr Sandrine Thuret, “and what we discovered is that the diet moderates mood and memory in the same way as it moderates the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus”.

For example calorie restriction will enhance memory capacity, while a diet high in fat will aggravate depression symptoms. This is in contrast to omega III fatty acids, which boosts the generation of new neurons within the hippocampus, and also aid to reduce depression symptoms.

“Thus we believe that the influence of diet on mood, memory and mental health, is actually regulated by the generation of the new neurons within the hippocampus”, concludes Thuret. “And it is not just what you consume, but the food texture, when you consume the food and the quantity of the food you consume.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

xxx

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