Monday
Mar132017

Pro Natal Care with Ayurveda and Yoga

Ayurveda and Yoga have been promoting and preventing wellness for centuries.  Together they are the perfect recipe for a healthy lifestyle.  At the end of last year I joined forces with Surya Spa in Pacific Palisades to develop a dosha yoga program and promote their beauty and wellness products and practices.  

In what I hope to be the first of many articles, Aleiela Allen, Director of the Surya Spa Mother Baby program, and I partnered to write this Article for Ayurveda Mantra Magazine.  I hope you enjoy reading it and will share it with your new mothers and mothers to be! 

Cheers to Healthy Mamas and their Happy Babies! ;)


Friday
Jan062017

"Self Care" your way to "Balanced Beauty" all Winter Long!

When it comes to health, beauty and wellness I feel the new buzz phrase today is "Self Care".  Right up there with kale, acai berries and coconut water people are realizing, holy cow, this stuff is good for me!  Only now instead of a smoothie or salad, people are talking about a number of ways to better serve their bodies, minds and spirits.  You know what I have to say to that?  It's about time!!

With Balanced Beauty, I've always preached there is no one magic solution for everybody.  Each individual has to find their own "Balanced Beauty" routine.  Depending on your lifestyle, genetics, diet, exercise habits, skin and body type, what makes one person look and feel good, may not be right for someone else.  Also, as seasons change and our bodies age, what was once relevant to us may not be the best thing now.  So just as we evolve and seasons change, so will our "Balanced Beauty".

Speaking of our bodies and seasons, as we find ourselves deeply rooted in the winter months, we must take care of ourselves more than ever.  Just like in nature, we find ourselves colder, drier and wanting to hibernate.  To maintain the energy and vitality we need to get through the day, it is important that we consider ways of "self care" (there I said it!  I feel so hip.) to keep our minds, bodies and spirits in balance! 

Here are a few ideas for "self care" in winter that might just work for everyone!

 

Drink Warm Lemon Water

Drinking a glass of warm lemon water when you first wake up in the morning helps in so many ways. 

  • Aids in Digestion (Think Big Winter Meals)
  • Detoxifies the Liver (Drinks to go with said, "Big Winter Meals")
  • Hydrates the Lymph System
  • Boosts the Imunne System (Flu Season!)
  • Terrific for Skin (Get your winter glow on!)
  • Boosts Energy (i.e.  get off your couch)
  • Helps Fat Loss (refer back to "Big Winter Meals")

 

 

Massage your hands and feet with warm sesame oil

 

Cold hands, Warm Heart?  In the winter most of us just simply have cold hands!  Massaging Sesame Oil into the hands and feet has a warming effect which not only is great for circulation but also calms the nervous system, lubricates the joints and softens dry skin.  Feel free to continue up the leg and arms, using long strokes on the limbs and circular motions around the joints.  Great to do in the shower, when you wake up and before bed for a better night's sleep! Give the oil time to soak in or pat it dry with a towel.

 

 

 

 

 

Use facial oils to hydrate the skin

"If I put oil on my face won't I break out?" Not so. Facial oils, unlike body oils are lighter. With the right formulation for your skin type they won't clog your pores like so many think.  When not cleansed and exfoliated, dirt and dead skin cells will clog your pores and potentially result in break outs.  Facial oils like Argan, Rose, Frankincense, Hemp and Jojoba are very nourishing for dry, dehydrated winter skin.  When applied and combined with a mini-facial massage, you not only feel the difference in your skin, but see and feel the relaxed muscles in your face also!

 

 

 

Take steamy warm baths with essential oil bath salts

 Bath Salts made with essential oils turn a regular bath experience into a "self care" experience.  Essential oils like Vetiver, Jasmine and Lavendar are known for setting a calm and tranquil mood.  Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang and Lemongrass are stimulants that uplift your mood and Eucalyptus will help to clear congested respiratory systems. Combine that with pleasing music, candle light, good book and maybe a glass of wine and your mind, body and spirit will thank you! 

 

 

 

 

Eat soups made with seasonal vegetables and broths

In the winter time our bodies benefit from eating foods that are naturally available during this season.  Foods that are sweet, sour, salty, heavy, oily, moist and hot such as soups, stews, steamed veggies and warm herbal teas.  Unlike summer where our bodies benefit from drier, colder foods such as salads and smoothies, in the wintertime we balance the dry chill we feel with hearty, warm food.  Soups and stews made from winter squash, tomatoes, pumpkin and carrot are not only delicous but nutritious too! 

 

 

 

 

Take walks despite the weather

For all you L.A. folks, let me tell you a little story...growing up in Chicago Winters, there were streets downtown where ropes were tied between buildings so people could hold on while they walked door to door. If they did not grab tight, the strong winter winds would blow them down the street. (For everything I'm about to say, this is the exception). Everyone else...get out and move!  It is so easy to cuddle up by the fire, sink into the couch and stay in bed when it is cold outside.  As we mentioned before, seasonally, this IS the time to hibernate!  However, do yourself a favor (and your pooch if you have one) dress appropriately and go for a walk. Part of staying warm is keeping the blood circulating!  Ropes not included. 

 Practice restorative yoga and yoga nidra

During the winter season one of the most sensitive systems in our body is the nervous system. Emotions are high, our focus is scattered and our bodies naturally are less grounded. This is why practices such as restorative yoga and yoga nidra are so important and much needed during this time. Restorative yoga, using props, deep juicy stretches and postures rooted in the earth nourishes us and leaves us feeling well rested. While yoga nidra, releases stress and tension by consciously scanning the body, witnessing your thoughts and feelings and connecting deeply with your breath. 

I hope one or all of these can be incorporated into your daily routine this winter season!  Wishing you focused, calm days and cozy, warm nights! 

 

Alison Burmeister

For 

Balanced Beauty

 

Monday
Jan022017

Happy 2017!!

 

Looking forward to a great New Year!  I am starting out 2017 with new skills and certifications that I am very excited about!  Stay tune to hear all about them!

 

Wishing you and yours the healthiest, wealthiest (in all things) and happiest year yet!

 

Cheers!

 

Alison Burmeister

For

Balanced Beauty

Saturday
Dec172016

Sit and Be Fit This Holiday Season!

 

LOOK WHO'S DOING CHAIR YOGA THIS SEASON!


 

YOU CAN TOO!


WHEN WE TRAVEL, WHEN WE VISIT, WHEN WE EAT,

 THE HOLIDAY SEASON INVOLVES A LOT OF SITTING!

SITTING UP STRAIGHT OR A SIMPLE TWIST CAN TAKE LUNCH WITH AUNT PAT

FROM FILLING AND FUN TO FUNCTIONAL AND FABULOUS!

 

Check out a few of these poses

you can do anywhere, anytime this holiday season!

 


 

Saturday
Nov052016

The "Magic" of Baseball

The Magic of Baseball

I leap to my feet on the edge of the couch and finally take my first real breath in the past hour.  Still standing, jumping actually, I key in the most familiar numbers of my parent’s home phone back in Chicago, Illinois.  The phone barely rings when the other end answers.  Squeals of joy beam through the receiver as my Dad declares, “The Cubs have won the World Series!”  With a big fat smile on my face I revel in the pure joy I feel from my Father’s voice and Mother’s bursts of laughter on the other end.  Like so many, this is a moment they have waited for their whole lives! 

 

I too could not wait to celebrate this momentous time in baseball, but maybe not for the reasons you would think.  You see I actually grew up totally annoyed by the Cubs.  Every day as I would walk home from grammar school I could hear the calls of Harry Caray from the alley through the open window of my parent’s house.   Having only one T.V. in the house, (a black and white one might I add…when color T.V.s were totally on the market) this meant no cartoons.  Instead I would sit, eat my afterschool snack of peanut butter crackers and red Kool Aid and watch the Cubs game while my Mom ironed my Dad’s shirts for the week.

 

            I admit, I am not your typical Cubs Fan.  Although the song “Go Cubs Go” was ingrained in my brain very early on like the “Alphabet” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, I do not sing it with glee but rather as my family’s faithful mantra for many years.  Over time, I have grown to appreciate the tradition “America’s Favorite Past Time” has cultivated in our lives and have even enjoyed a game or two.  But the real reason I was so excited for this win was because it was the 108th year since the Cubs had won the World Series!  The number 108, which by the way in years is a really long flipping time to have not won a World Series, is also considered a sacred number in Hinduism and Yoga.  Historically, the numbers significance is open to interpretation.  Amongst the yogi community, of which I happen to belong, Malas or prayer bead necklaces (much like the rosary for all you Catholics out there), come as a string of 108 beads.  Mantras are repeated 108 times for each bead.  Many yogis around the time of the spring equinox will do 108 Sun Salutations to welcome the Solar return.  According to yoga traditions, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites throughout India.  There are also 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.  In other news, the average distance of the Sun and the Moon to the earth is 108 times their respective diameters and in geometric terms, 108 is a natural division of a circle.

 

            So…what does this have to do with anything you ask?  Well I’ll tell you, I am totally superstitious!  Superstitious to the point that when I was 9, on a family trip to Hilton Head Island and my Dad hit a “Hole In One” that I grabbed a blade of grass from the course and placed it into my locket for good luck.  I still have the grass in that locket…and I like to think it has brought me luck.  Whenever I see 11:11 on a clock I stare at the numbers until the 11 turns to 12.  It is at this point that my wish comes true.  I always think twice when a black cat crosses my path and I have a thing for crows because a medicine man once told me they were “here to guide me”.   I also save everything, sentimental or not, because sometimes you really don’t know the significance of something …until it’s gone.  So on second thought it is possible that this superstion of mine might border on the side of O.C.D with Horder tendencies…but you get the picture.

 

Back to the Cubs…when I found out that the Cubs had not won in 108 years I thought to myself, this HAS to be the year.  It just has to, or I will lose all faith in the mystic and magical number 108!  My whole life, I witnessed my parents cheer on the lovable losers time and time again.  When they didn’t win, my Dad would state his famous line, ”We’ll get them next year.”  However, this was different.  Here stood a fair weather fan with a whole new agenda!  So, each game as I cheered on the Cubs to win I was not only cheering on the team, but the belief that the mystic, magical world beyond our imaginations does exist!  And clearly it does!

 

            Know what else exists?  Good people with blind faith, integrity to a fault and hopeless abandonment who have finally had their day in the Sun!  Families who rarely talk, text and call one another are now connected over the game.  Chicagoans around the world celebrate their city with pride and joy.  Americans take a break from all the political fervor and banter to watch, marvel and hold their breaths as the game goes into extra innings and rain delays…(seriously…all in one game!?).   Baseball unites us in ways that are well beyond the game itself.

 

Don’t worry, I know what you are thinking, wow this self proclaimed “fair weather fan” has gone totally wacko and philosophical over baseball!  Perhaps I have…more importantly, over the past few months of caring about whether or not the Cubs won the World Series, I have seen what the power of belief, tradition, community, positive attitude, persistence and a little superstition can do.  Without these things, our cultures would be so one-dimensional.  I believe there is something truly greater than us out there.  We are too amazing for there not to be.  I love the traditions of family and friends coming together. It is what makes our world so diverse and great.  I feel strongly that a positive attitude through the good and bad times will keep you not only happy but healthy also.  And if given the chance, I will always make a wish at 11:11, because what do you have to lose?

 

As I stand their crazed on the edge of my couch, like Tom Cruise on “The Oprah Show”, my husband, who happens to be one of those over the top, devout St. Louis Cardinals baseball fans, smirks and gives me a mocking glance like, “Look who’s become a fan of the game.”  But the real truth is, I still don’t really like Baseball.  In the past month I have never been so bored and stressed simultaneously since the let down of “Y2K”.  I do, however appreciate what this moment in time has created for American culture and possibly the world.  And if given the chance to recreate the day my husband and I gathered 70 Cubs and Cardinals fans in Wrigley Field (Cubs won by the way) to celebrate the day after our wedding, I’d do it all over again.  So long as there is beer, hot dogs and peanuts.  

As I stand their crazed on the edge of my couch, like TomCruise on “The Oprah Show”, my husband, who happens to be one of those over the top, devout St. Louis Cardinals baseball fans, smirks and gives me a mocking glance like, “Look who’s become a fan of the game.”  But the real truth is, I still don’t really like Baseball.  In the past month I have never been so bored and stressed simultaneously since the let down of “Y2K”.  I do, however appreciate what this moment in time has created for American culture and possibly the world.  And if given the chance to recreate the day my husband and I gathered 70 Cubs and Cardinals fans in Wrigley Field (Cubs won by the way) to celebrate the day after our wedding, I’d do it all over again.  So long as there is beer, hot dogs and peanuts.

 

 

Alison Burmeister

For

Balanced Beauty