Saturday, July 11, 2020

Homemade bug spray recipe

The CDC maintains that the best way to protect oneself from mosquitos is to stay inside during peak exposure times and wear protective clothing. But for those sunset walks, backyard barbecues, and socially distanced picnics, your next line of defense is insect repellent.

Many bug sprays on the market these days are formulated with N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET. Though it is generally considered safe to use as needed, overexposure to DEET in humans has resulted in eye irritation, vomiting, and nausea. If you'd rather steer clear of DEET, essential oils can be one effective alternative. However, it's important to never apply these oils directly onto the skin, as they too can cause irritation in high doses.

This recipe dilutes essential oils with vinegar and witch hazel for a smell-good DIY mosquito repellent:

Homemade bug spray recipe:
·       ½ cup water (or apple cider vinegar, for a more potent blend)
·       ½ cup witch hazel
·       20 drops citronella essential oil
·       10 drops rosemary essential oil
·       15 drops lemongrass essential oil
·       10 drops holy basil oil
·       20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
·       1 tbsp vegetable glycerin

Combine ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle and shake them up! Douse any exposed skin diligently, and reapply every couple of hours for maximum effect. Please note that essential oils should be patch-tested (i.e. applied to a small patch of skin) on everyone first, and shouldn't be used on children under 2 years old.

Author: Lindsay Kellner

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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Heart-Opening Yoga for Stress Release

Stress often manifests in the center of the chest. This sequence helps release tension and open the heart to soothe anxiety and pain.

We often hold stress in the center of our chest. Reasons for this include poor posture, as well as our tendency for shallow breathing, particularly when we’re under stress. When we learn to soften in our heart space, we make room for our breath to flow in and emotions to release. The following is a subtle and simple relaxing sequence, which encourages openings in our centers of emotion. It is both grounding and opening; it re-sets the body and the mind to feel at ease. The following sequence requires four blankets, or one bolster and two blankets. If you don’t have blankets or bolsters, you can use a pillow or couch cushion. 
Rest Pose: Lie down so that the head is supported, and the neck is long. Allow the sternum and the low back to soften and widen. The palms face up and the breath is gentle.
Reclining Butterfly: Stay reclined on the blankets or bolsters, and bring the soles of the feet to touch. Let the knees fall open. If this is very intense on the hips, you can place rolled up blankets or bolsters underneath the thighs to give more support. Let the palms face up and breathe.
Supine Twist: Lie on the back relaxed. Draw the legs to touch and move them out to the right about thirty degrees, keeping the back and neck in place. Lift your left arm up overhead along the ground and gaze over to the right. Hold for ten deep breaths, and return to center, repeating to the other side.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Teach Your Child this Meditation for Positive Energy and Keeping an Open Mind

This quick and fun practice is a great introduction to the physical and mental benefits of meditation. Plus, tips for how to help your kids build a meditation routine.
Meditation isn’t about getting kids to sit still for 10 minutes. It’s about teaching them that mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s about demonstrating the art of “paying attention” during and after meditation. And maybe most importantly, it's about giving kids tools to handle the uncomfortable feelings that are a normal part of life and can come up when you sit still.

Zip Up and Sit Up

Pretend it’s a chilly and sunny fall day—better put on your (imaginary) jacket and sunglasses before you go out to play. This is a great way to start the day, and it also gets you in the right position for other meditations in this book. Plus, it’s a great bed-itation (meditation you can do in bed) for those mornings when you don’t want to get out from under the covers.

1. Sit cross-legged on the floor or bed.
2. Pretend that you are wearing a jacket with a zipper that runs from your belly button to your neck.
3. Sit up tall, grab the pretend zipper, and say “zzzzziiipp” out loud as you zip up your jacket. Keep your back nice and straight.
4. Now it’s time to put on your sunglasses. Make 2 circles by touching your thumbs to your pointer fingers on both hands, then straighten out the rest of your fingers.
5. Bring your sunglasses up to your eyes and look out as far as you can see.
6. Now rest your sunglasses down on your knees, keeping your back straight. You are zipped up and ready to meditate.
7. Close your eyes and mouth and pretend that you are breathing in a chilly fall breeze through your nose. Then, open your mouth and say “ahhhhh” as you breathe out all of that cool air. Breathe in and out like that 3 to 8 more times.
8. Open your eyes, relax your hands, and notice how your body feels.

Tips for Teaching Kids Meditation

Meditation can become just as routine as brushing your teeth or sitting down for breakfast. Here, kids meditation teacher Tejal V. Patel talks you through developing a meditation habit with your kids, so they can access the physical and mental benefits of focused awareness.
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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Prenatal Yoga Video

Here's a new, nice and smoothing prenatal yoga class. Mummies, please get the medical clearance before you start your practice! Listen to yourself... Listen to the baby... and enjoy the practice!
Breathe & Smile :-) Sophie / So Yoga
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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Prenatal Yoga

Special safe & slow practice for pregnant mummies! Check with your doctor if you're safe to practice. Listen to yourself, if certain poses don't see right for you, rest into child pose. Enjoy... Relax... Breathe... Smile! #prenatalyoga #yogaonline #soyoga #happyminiyogi #breatheandsmile

Sunday, June 7, 2020

What's Family Yoga these days

...It looks like this! It's one of the only ways to forget about the social distancing in the comfort of your house!

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

How to strengthen our lungs?

Along with social distancing, wearing a face mask is a critical component in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, masks may make it more difficult to breathe. Some people even fear they'll lead to hypercapnia, or too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the bloodstream, as a result. 
To help quell your mask-related fears, we broke down how masks may affect oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and rounded up expert-approved tips for supporting your lungs.

How might masks affect breathing?
"Our lungs allow for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is essential for the body to function," physician Robert Graham, M.D., MPH, FACP, says.
Because masks cover the nose and mouth, they may make breathing difficult, says human performance coach and New York Timesbestselling author Brian MacKenzie. In an Instagram post, he writes that masks may even trap carbon dioxide, which could be dangerous for people who are CO2 intolerant. "CO2 intolerant means we don't use our lungs as much and do not use O2 optimally," MacKenzie tells mindbodygreen.
According to one study, symptoms of CO2 retention (hypercapnia) may include rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), shortness of breath (dyspnea), flushed skin, confusion, headaches, and dizziness. 
Unless your mask is tightfitting and used for a prolonged period of time, though, there is little risk of becoming hypercapnic. "For most people, wearing cloth or surgical masks puts them in little to no danger of breathing in unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide," Graham says. 
That said, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with CO2 retention, Graham suggests taking off your mask while social distancing and breathing deeply.
While breathing in fresh oxygen is a critical solution, it's still a short-term fix. "[Oxygen] cannot work without CO2, and the better we control our breathing—say spending most of the time nasal-only breathing—the better we develop a tolerance to CO2," MacKenzie tells mbg.
To help you strengthen your lungs over time and increase your tolerance to carbon dioxide, these four tips could help.

1. Exercise

"[Exercise] raises carbon dioxide, which is why we breathe more when we exercise," MacKenzie says.
In fact, one study explains, it's normal to get breathless during exercise, but regular exercise can increase the strength and function of your muscles. "Your muscles will require less oxygen to move, and they will produce less carbon dioxide," the study says. "This will immediately reduce the amount of air you will need to breathe in and out for a given exercise."
Exercise is important because it requires more metabolic activity, MacKenzie tells mindbodygreen. "That would be optimized by doing things that are aerobic in nature like hiking and running." You can also increase metabolic activity through strength exercises, like squatting, pressing, and pulling. "Picking heavy things up from time to time is critical and can be done a number of different ways and through varying modalities," he says.

2. Breathwork 

To increase awareness of the diaphragm muscle, Graham recommends practicing diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing, and simple deep breathing. "These techniques get you closer to reaching your lungs' full capacity," he says.
To do this: 
1.    Count how long your natural breath, in and out, takes. 
2.    Slowly add one more count to every inhale and exhale.
3.   Do this until you can comfortably extend the time it takes to fill and empty your lungs. 
"Learning to have some sort of breath control or doing some hypoxic work...will increase your CO2 tolerance, which will increase your ability to have on a mask," MacKenzie says in the post. It may also help to reduce panic associated with wearing a mask.

3. Improve your posture 

Certain postures can interfere with respiration. To prevent this, Graham says to "stand strong while lifting the chest and opening the front of your body as you breathe deeply." Most importantly, don't hunch over. 

4. Stay hydrated 

Staying well hydrated is important for several reasons, including respiration. Drinking water throughout the day helps keep the mucosal linings in your lungs moist, Graham explains, which helps the lungs function better. 

Bottom line. 


Breathing in excessive carbon dioxide is dangerous, Graham tells us, especially for people with preexisting respiratory conditions. However, the risk of becoming hypercapnic from appropriately fitting cloth masks is low.
If you do notice dizziness, fatigue, or other symptoms of hypercapnia from prolonged use, separate from others, remove your mask, and breathe in fresh air.


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Sunday, May 24, 2020

New Video - Yoga for Sleep

Having some issues going to sleep, lately? Follow this easy and slow practice in the evening... No age restriction! Enjoy the practice and your sweet dreams afterwards :-) Breathe & Smile :-) #soyoga #soyogaonline #yogaforsleep

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sweet & Strong Video by So Yoga on Youtube! Perfect for you and / or your tween or teen at home!

Nice and deep stretches for hips and shoulders, as well as lots of balancing poses... Are you ready for it? Don't hesitate to share with your friends and families, send me feedbacks and subscribe to this channel! Take care.. Breathe & Smile :-) Sophie / So Yoga #yogaonline #kidsyoga #tweenyoga

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Toddler - Sea Yoga Class online - Free!

Do your kids like moving? Do they like sea animals? Try this video with them! I've added loots of illustrations to please them 
A short yoga session to swim like dolphins, sharks, whales, wiggle as an octopus, and relax like star fishes.... Tell me if you like it, and share with your friends with mini yogis at home!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Your "Me" time today!

Join me for a complete body fix... It's quick, so you can do it every day - even if you're out of time! You'll stretch our upper & lower body, front & back, left & right sides - while improving our strength. Give me a thumb up if you like it, share it with your friends and subscribe to the channel! Let me know your thoughts, feedback too! Breathe & Smile :-)

Getting Quality Sleep Is More Important Than Ever For Your Immune System

Although it is always important to be conscious of the health of your immune system, it's even more so while we are in the midst of a pandemic. Because of the restrictions placed on our normal lives while sheltering in place, we face a number of challenges that affect our immune health: Many of us are not moving or exercising as much since we are stuck inside, the lack of sunshine may be affecting our vitamin D levels, and, for a number of reasons, we're experiencing shifts in our stress hormones.
However, one thing that most of us still have control over is the ability to create good sleep behaviors. I can't emphasize enough that good-quality sleep is especially important right now to support a healthy and balanced immune response. 

Why is sleep important for a healthy immune system?
All of our bodily functions are based on a 24-hour circadian rhythm. Our sleep-wake cycle is part of this system and is regulated mostly by the presence of dark and light. The immune system is directly connected to that cycle: At night when it gets dark, there's a drop in our stress hormone cortisol, along with hormones from our sympathetic nervous system like epinephrine and norepinephrine. At the same time, hormones connected to immune function, such as melatonin, are elevated when we sleep. In addition, melatonin acts as a free radical scavenger and helps repair any damaged cells.
While our body is resting, the immune system cells can also focus all efforts and energy on a strong attack against viruses and bacteria. Also, sleep enhances the formation of memory antibodies to bacteria and viruses, to help build a stronger immune system for the future.

Conversely, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on our immune system. For example, sleep deprivation is associated with a rise in susceptibility to the common cold. One study that worked with 153 male and female participants found that those with shorter sleep duration in the weeks leading up to exposure to a rhinovirus were less likely to be resistant to the illness.

Matthew Walker, Ph.D., sleep scientist and author of Why We Sleep—Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, notes in his book that "after just one night of only four to five hours of sleep, your natural killer cells—a main player in viral killing—drop by 70%."

How can you help promote better sleep? 

At the present time, many of us are dealing with a multitude of challenges to our sleep, whether it's stress from the barrage of news and social media or disruptions to our regular work patterns, exercise, and eating routines. As a result, many of us are staying up later at night, sleeping in, or taking naps. All of this throws a massive wrench into our normal circadian rhythm—an integral part of which is sleep.

Nonetheless, there is plenty we can do to safeguard our sleep and optimize the effectiveness of the immune system: 

1. Create a schedule daily and stick to it.

Many studies have shown that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep for maximum health. Make an effort to go to bed at about the same time daily and get up at the same time.

2. Add in calming and sleep-enhancing supplements.

One great way to ease yourself into sleep is via calming adaptogens and magnesium supplements.*
I particularly love magnesium+ by mindbodygreen that combines magnesium glycinate, which may promote relaxation; pharmaGABA to support sleep quality; and jujube, a fruit used in traditional Chinese medicine, which is often used to support healthy cortisol levels.*
I also love herbal teas and tinctures, such as valerian, passionflower, hops, and lemon balm before bed.

3. Create a soothing nighttime ritual.

It doesn't have to be long and complicated. It may be just a quick body scan meditation or some yin yoga stretches. I also like to journal before bed to dump any stressful thoughts out of my brain before I sleep. Using calming essential oils like lavender and geranium can also be helpful for sleep and a nice addition to your evening routine.

4. Optimize your melatonin.

If you use a tablet for reading, make sure that you always use the backlight dimming feature and/or wear blue-light-blocking glasses one to two hours before bed. You can also use special bulbs in your bedside lamps that filter out blue spectrum light. This will allow for the natural rise of your immune-activating hormone melatonin. 

5. Don't hit the snooze button.

In order to get that morning cortisol rise to start your day, wake up, get out of bed, and expose your eyes to some nice bright morning sun.

However you choose to support your rest routine, just remember that it's especially important to prioritize sleep right now and set your immune system up for success.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Stretch & Flow for Adults

Join me for a complete body fix... It's quick, so you can do it every day - even if you're out of time! You'll stretch our upper & lower body, front & back, left & right sides - while improving our strength. Give me a thumb up if you like it, share it with your friends and subscribe to the channel! Let me know your thoughts, feedback too! Breathe & Smile :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Tips on Establishing a Home Yoga Practice

Thanks Kino for this article, so useful during confinement!

"I’ve been practicing yoga for over 20 years. The vast majority of that time has been spent in quiet mornings on the mat at home. At first I dropped in on classes with different teachers who set me off in the right direction along the path. I was inspired and started coming to class more frequently. Then, I traveled to India to study in the traditional manner and cultivate a direct connection to the lineage of yoga. It was when I returned to the U.S. after spending two months in India that I switched over to a home yoga practice. 

There were many reasons. First was economical. I was a graduate student at New York University (NYU) and, like it is for most students, money was tight. If I practiced at home I could save the monthly yoga studio fees. Second was time and convenience. I was living in New York City on Avenue B in the East Village. If I was going to practice at a studio, the teacher whom I most connected with was down on Broome St. Public transportation was a less than ideal connection so it would mean walking for 30 minutes each way or a taxi which I couldn’t afford. While I love walking, I also had to walk back and forth to and from school, which equaled about 90 minutes of walking each day. It was just too much. The last reason, which is harder to explain, was that I felt I had a teachers but that my teachers was in India. It just didn’t feel right to go someone else’s class. There were other reasons too, like how you can wear what you want when you practice at home. Or how you can go directly from your yoga mat to a nice hot shower or even back to bed for a little bit. In a home yoga practice you’re also free to release whatever sounds want to come out of your body freely, within inhibition. This last one is a bigger blessing than you realize. 
So, there I was, just a year in to a committed six day a week yoga practice, and I was already on a home yoga practitioner. As you can imagine, I’ve developed some systems that really help get your home yoga practice established. Let me share a few of my tips below.
1. Routines to Minimize Distraction—Good habits can be hard to form and easy to break. Getting on your mat at home with consistency and regularity requires you to routinize your behavior. One of the biggest obstacles to getting on your mat at home is, well, the experience of being home. Laundry is sitting around waiting to washed, folded and put away. The dishes are there, not really washing themselves. Kids, pets and family make it hard to claim time and space for yourself. A great way to minimize distractions is to set up a moment-by-moment routine for your day that builds up to your practice. I like to practice yoga in the morning, after I meditate. My biggest distraction is getting caught up in the internet, whether answering emails, messages, and comments or just reading the news. My ideal morning routine is a cup of tea, reading an inspiring book or writing if my thoughts are fresh and then getting on my meditation cushion and my mat within no less than an hour after waking up. On days when I stick to my morning routine, practice (and life) flows so much better.
2. Commitment—Not everyone can commit to practicing six days a week, so be honest with yourself about how many days per week that you can commit to. So many home yoga practitioners set really high goals for how often they want to practice only to fail at achieving those goals. Then, instead of yoga being a success experience, yoga feels like yet another good thing that you don’t do, like eating enough greens or drinking enough water. It can be very motivating with a home yoga practice to set your goals lower, like getting on the mat one day a week, when the kids are at school, and then achieving that goal. You can always add on to the positive momentum that you build. 
3. Time—It can be at whatever time works for you, but my biggest advice around setting up a home yoga practice routine is to practice at the same time. Your body will get used to doing yoga around the same time each day. If you adjust your practice time too much it can feel almost as jarring as jet lag. Choose a time that you can be consistent and stick to it.  
4. Find a Teacher—This may seem counterintuitive, but just because you are developing a home yoga practice doesn’t mean you need to be a self-taught yogi. In fact, you will probably find more consistency, direction and progress in your practice if you have a teacher. There are many ways for a home yoga practitioner to find a teacher. After my first trip to India, I practiced at home for about a year and then traveled back to practice for at least a month. This combination really worked for me. I would go to India and immerse myself in the practice. During that period, yoga study was my sole focus. When I returned back home, the lessons learned on that trip would slowly integrate in my practice and in my life. After a year of self practice I was ready to be steeped in the teaching again. Whether you decide to go to travel to study yoga or spend time with a teacher closer to your home, what matters is building a connection to a teacher whom you can return to for guidance and direction. 
5. Online Support—I started yoga in the days before YouTube. If you wanted to watch a yoga video you had to put on a DVD. Compared to the ease with which yoga students today stream vast troves of yoga videos online, this sounds like the dark ages of clunky technology. Now you can have access to some of the world’s best teachers at your fingertips. And, what’s worth perhaps even more than that, you can connect with like-minded yogis all over the world. Sometimes knowing that your friend got on her mat today motivates you to get on your mat today too. On days when you don’t feel motivated to practice, putting on a video created by your teacher can pull you through those low periods. While there are many online channels for yoga, I created Omstars with the specific intention of supporting home yoga practitioners in both their personal practice and in building a true community. 
6. Sacred Space—One of the most beautiful things about going to a yoga studio to take a class is the palpable change in atmosphere that floods the senses when you walk in to the space. It can instill a sense of holiness and call your soul towards the sacred. Tuning in to that same feeling at home can be difficult. Creating a small home altar can radically transform even a small corner of a room into a mini-temple. It doesn’t have to be a big production (unless you want it to be). My practice space always has a candle, an incense burner and a crystal on a small shelf or table. When I’m at home, my altar is more elaborate. But, just lighting a candle for me is often enough to signify the inward turning of the mind that yoga really is. Scent plays into the nervous system and if you get accustomed the scent of a candle or of incense, that can evoke certain attitudes that make home practice more connected to a sense of the sacred. Do you have more tips for a home yoga practice? Share them below!  "
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