Longevity and the Spine

“You are as young and healthy as your spine is strong and supple.”

– Ancient yogi saying

Part of back care is developing strength and flexibility. I created a short yoga flow that will help advance that process. Before we get started, let’s perfect one of the moves in the vinyasa: lightning bolt into half camel pose.

Linda Eichberg, Half Camel Pose variations

Backbends can seem intimidating because they go against the natural way we hold and move our bodies. We slouch forward and move forward. Backbends take us the opposite direction, correcting weakness and poor posture.

Lightning Bolt into Half Camel

Instructions

1. Come up onto both knees, placing them hip width apart. 

2. Inhale, support your core and lengthen the spine, press the hips forward, squeezing the buttocks and thighs. 

3. Exhale and lift one arm for a long stretch to the sky as you carefully reach for your heel with the opposite arm. If you cannot reach the heel, keep the hand on the sacrum.

4. Next, reach your extended hand back behind you as you continue to push the hips forward. If it feels safe, drop the head all the way back.

5. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

6. Release the pose with both hands on the sacrum, slowly inhale up, releasing the head and neck last.

7. Repeat on other side.

Benefits: Half camel opens and stretches the shoulders and arms, and opens the chest. Half camel stimulates the respiratory, digestive and endocrine systems.

Modifications: Tuck the toes under or use a yoga block if the hands cannot reach the heels.

Variations: Have the upper arm reaching up towards the ceiling rather than towards the back wall or simply keep both hands on your sacrum.

Contraindications: If you have knee, shoulder, neck or back injury or pain, consult your doctor. 

Now, let’s incorporate this pose into a vinyasa.

Wishing you all the best in health, Linda

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. – Hebrews 12:11-13 ESV

Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before practicing any new fitness routine.

© Copyright: All materials contained within this blog may not be used without written permission.

Savoring the Moments

Nine years ago, I became interested in practicing gratitude and what neuroscience had to say about it. Neuroscience tells us that negativity and gloomy thoughts stick to the nerves like Velcro, while positivity and gratitude slide away from those same nerves until we choose them and savor them for at least 15 seconds. It is only then that they imprint and stick. It was this knowledge that encouraged me to start this gratitude blog in 2013. What better way to savor the things I am grateful for.

This month we celebrated my daughter, who is soon the give birth, with a baby shower.

We had Lindsay play some fun games like diapering a baby doll while wearing mittens.

Lindsay’s mother in law, Sue was a wonderful hostess! She did an incredible job decorating.

I made food and designed this adorable cake. Lindsay is using a bear theme for her baby boy.

The future father, Ben, joined Lindsay for opening the gifts.

Lindsay was funny as she squealed with delight when she saw the gifts for her and baby Caleb.

Steve and I are very excited to become grandparents!

Lindsay and Ben are always so appreciative. Their gratitude always makes for very joyful occasion.

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I’m glad I took the time out this month to do a sundown hike and watch the sunset. It was spectacular, like God took a bucket of paint and threw it across the sky!

The reflection of the lights across the sky was beautiful in all directions in Westlake Village.

Lake Eleanor open space trail in Westlake Village

This was the view to the north-west.

Keep reflecting gratitude for overall health and well-being.

Best in health, Linda

The Charm of Marseille and Provence

After our stop in Gibraltar, we spent a day at sea enjoying the ship’s entertainment and recreation areas. The following day we reached the second largest port on the Mediterranean, Marseille. As the Royal Princess settled in its home for the day, we continued our adventure on land. First stop on our motorcoach tour was Provence, France.

AIX, PROVENCE

Aix en Provence is know as the City of a Thousand Fountains. The real number might be closer to 107. That’s still a lot of fountains. The first beautiful fountain we encountered was the Fontaine de la Rotonde. This two-tiered fountain is the most famous and covered with impressive sculptures. The three figures at the top represent: justice, agriculture and fine arts.

Fontaine de la Rotonde

We walked towards Old Town with our guides. On Le Cours Mirabeau, the most prestigious avenue of Aix en Provence, we saw our second fountain. Fontaine des Neuf-Canons (nine cannons) was built around 1691, it served as a watering hole for livestock.

Fontaine des Neuf-Canons

My nephew, David, stands in front of the facade of Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce or Registry of the Commercial Court on the Cours Mirabeau.

Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce

René of Anjou, also known as Good King René, was a very important man in his day. A fountain was unveiled in his honor in 1923. He played a major role in France and Europe in the fifteenth century. The fountain du Roi René is the work of David d’Angers (1819). The stone statue depicts King René holding a scepter in the right hand and a bunch of Muscat grapes in the left, all enthroned on a fountain.

Monument au Roi René

A figure of the Blessed Mother and Baby Jesus on the corner of Place Richelme and Rue Maréchal Foch.

More street corners adorned by a statuettes of the Virgin Mary. There are dozens of street corner statues of Mother Mary around Old Town. They were placed there, starting in the 17th century, when the influence of Catholicism was very strong.

Navigating the small alley ways of Provence was delightful. There were colorful produce and flower markets, shops and cafes.

I was enticed by some of the smells coming out of the stores that featured soaps and lotions made from the Herbs de Provence. Herbs from the Provence region of France includes a combination of thyme, rosemary, savory, marjoram, and oregano. Other herbs can also be added.

I saw some interesting and well preserved doors.

Before we entered the Place d”Albertas, we passed the Museum of Natural History. Love the iron work on the gate.

Museum d’Historie Naturalle

Place d”Albertas is a small cobblestone square in Aix (pronounced X). In the 18th century the Albertas were one of the city’s leading families. We marveled at the Baroque architecture of the buildings and saw yet another interesting fountain.

At the Fountaine de la Place d’Albertas

Check out the decorative cast iron around the fountain.

The Aix Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church, built on the site of the 1st-century Roman forum of Aix.

Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur d’Aix-en-Provence

The Aix Cathedral combines three different styles of architecture: Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque.

Aix Cathedral

My traveling companions and I loved Aix, Provence. It was so charming and held a wealth of culture. Now on to Marseille!

MARSEILLE

The remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring Marseille, a bustling port city.

Marseille – with Cathedral Major and harbor in the background

The cathedral of Saint Mary Major was a fascinating sight. It is one of the largest cathedrals in France. This Neo-Byzantine-style church was built during the reign of Napoleon III.

Marseille’s Cathedral – Cathedral of Saint Mary Major

Our motor coach passed Plage des Catalans Beach was an overcast but warm summer day by the sea. I captured this quick snap from the moving motor coach.

Plage des Catalans

On our way up the hill, we stopped a some stunning spots including Monument Aux Morts Des Orients.

Monument Aux Morts Des Orients

The highlight of our short stay in Marseille was Notre Dame at the apex of the hill above the city.

Notre Dame from the harbor

The Golden Statue of Mary dominating the basilica is 11.20 metres tall and weighs nearly 9,796 kg! It’s made with copper and gilded with gold. The bell tower it stands on is equally incredible in design and detail.

Golden Statue of Mary and Jesus atop the bell tower of Notre Dame de la Garde

Notre Dame de la Garde is translated, Our Lady of the Guard and is know as “The Good Mother”. It is a Catholic basilica.

Basilica interior

The basilica is Romano-Byzantine is style, as amazing inside and it was outside. Many works of art can be found within the large basilica complex.

The Grande Roue de Marseille was impressive from the top of the mountain.

The Ferris wheel is 55-meters tall and has 42 gondola cabins.

The traveling five

We had some free time to explore the markets down by the harbor. Lots of vendors and activity in the area made for a colorful scene. The Fresh seafood market was a feast for the eyes! Lobster anyone?

Marseille is for lovers.

These memories are pre-COVID but I’m looking forward to more traveling adventures soon! Check out my other blogs related to this Mediterranean cruise. It starts in Barcelona.

All the best, Linda

Life Was a Caberet

Wow! I came across this advertisement from this month 48 years ago! For a moment time stood still. I was transported back to a memory of being on stage, performing in Mexico City at the famous Casino Royal. Throngs of fans were throwing flowers onto the stage.

From our book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams:

Linda: “The Casino Royale in Mexico City was a mind-blowing experience for us. They idolized us there, more so than in the states, it was like we were superstars. We were treated like royalty. They went crazy for us. Every night it was flowers galore, all kinds of gifts. For a small town girl suddenly thrust into that situation there’s a lot you have to take in.

Maria: “The Latin guys are not afraid to tell you how they feel. They were very exuberant. I was on stage singing and a man rushed to the stage calling my name, “Oh, Maria Elena, bonita señorita….” He was carrying so many bouquets of flowers that I could hardly see him.

The Golddiggers in their Cabaret costumes – bottom left to right: Patti, Susan, Maria, Robin, Deborah, Lee, Colleen and Linda

Maria: “[After we finished our Mexico tour,] we boarded a private Lear Jet to Puerto Vallarta where we stayed at Jorge Loera’s mountain top home. This was a side trip, a rare chance to relax. Each girl was given their own room, the enormous house had many maids and butlers with a spectacular pool. For dinner we had our own private fiesta with a Mariachi band.”

Linda: “It was a spectacular mansion high up in the cliffs; up on the roof I could see snipers strategically placed on all corners. Jorge was a high profile guy with bodyguards everywhere. Despite that, we had the time of our lives. Jorge went all out to make us feel pampered; but then again, this was probably all normal to him so he wouldn’t dream of treating guests any other way. He was always the gentleman with impeccable manners.
One morning the cooking staff made us juice from fresh squeezed strawberries for breakfast. It was one of the most heavenly drinks I had ever tasted. We were served outside on a terrace in a beautiful tropical setting.”

Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974: “We found out much later that Jorge Loera was the son of basically the Godfather of Mexico. He owned a bull ring and he invited us down for the day to enjoy the arena.”

Maria: “I had no desire to go to a bull ring because it seemed so cruel. I decided to stay up on the balcony at a specially prepared table to munch on chips and salsa and sip Sangria. All of a sudden I heard someone say “Susie and Deborah are in the bull ring!”

“What?!?” I jumped up to see. They must be crazy! One of the body- guards assured us it was safe because this was a baby bull but it still looked big to me! Susie and Deborah definitely liked to live on the wild side.”

Deborah and Susan in the bull ring!

Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974: They put us in the ring with a baby bull and, you know, a baby bull is still four hundred pounds. They were teaching us how to bullfight, pass the cape—if you commit to the left stay to the left, if you commit to the right stay to the right.
I was standing in the middle of the field and they let this new, young bull out and he was feisty, you could see he was feisty. And I did one pass and Susan was out there and she did a pass. I did another pass and we were being funny, people were shouting, “Toreadoria! Toreadoria!”
At one point the bull was coming at me and I was doing my pass to the right and the bull did like a two step, it went to the right and then to the left. It threw me off because it was so close. And I went to move the cape to match it—which you never do—and the cape ended up in front of me.
I’ve got this bull charging straight at me and I’m in a mini-dress and platform high heels. I somehow managed to throw the cape forward and vault over the bull. It missed me, I literally vaulted over it, legs spread, and all I heard was everybody yelling, “Run!!!”
And I’m running in the high heels and all I hear behind me is bar- ump, barump, barump, and it’s catching up to me! I see this five foot block wall in front of me and I put my hands up to vault over it, I was so grateful I was a dancer.
I heard right beneath my feet as I cleared the top, “Bam!” and this bull slammed into the wall. He would have broken my back. He hit so hard he broke his horn and everybody was upset because this was like a prize baby bull and I said, “A—it didn’t kill me. B—I’m glad its horn is broken because it’ll never fight and never be killed.”

*************

It was a wild ride, being chosen to be part of the TV cast of the Dean Martin Show. As singers and dancers with “The Golddiggers”. We had some amazing adventures! When we weren’t ‘making the scene’ with the Rat Pack or performing with Dean Martin, we were traveling the world, singing and dancing as a group. I was only 19.

It was a dream beyond anything I ever envisioned for myself. My sister, Maria Elena was also part of the group. We were asked to write a book about our times working with music and movie legends and here it is!

In the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, My Sister, Maria, and I recall our adventures and mis-adventures working with icons like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Entertainment historian, Billy Ingram, pulls our stories together with contributions and tales from other entertainers. Billy inserts facts about the pop culture and history of the 1970’s, making this book is a unique, exciting and informative read!

Read more or purchase the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Wildest-Dreams-Alberici-Sisters/dp/1463564570

Reminisce with some original television footage!

Enjoy, Linda

Let’s Look at Plant Diversity and Health

Plants are the only foods that contain fiber. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are key for enjoying good health and digestion. Soluble fiber is especially crucial for our health because it is prebiotic. It feeds the microbes in our gut which promotes gut health and allows the microbes to produce short-chain fatty acids. These acids nourish our colon wall and reduces the risk of disease.

There are many different types of fiber and each kind has different physiological benefits. Each plant food has its own mix of different types of fiber that feeds its own unique set of microbes housed in our gut. This allows our microbes not only to grow, but to thrive. “Each microbe eats a different type of dietary fiber, and each plant contains a different mix of fiber. This means that plant-based food diversity in your diet is vital for a healthy gut.”

When our microbes thrive, our health thrives.

A Diet Dilema

“While we obsess about carbs and protein, we’ve ignored fiber — at our peril.”

Beware of any diet that restricts fiber-filled, plant carbohydrates for an extended period of time. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in wholesome plant-based foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. This beneficial fiber helps reduce our appetite, by giving us the feeling of being full, and regulates our body’s use of sugars. It may also be important in fighting obesity.

Scientific studies on obesity have shown the importance of eating high fiber foods.

Although there are multiple factors that could contribute to obesity, the primary cause is due to an increase in the energy absorption or energy expenditure ratio. Limiting energy absorption is critical when treating obesity. Increasing dietary fiber consumption may decrease energy absorption by way of diluting a diet’s energy availability while maintaining other important nutrients.

Fiber and Disease

Fiber is the closest thing we have to a true superfood. Eating a fiber-rich diet is amazingly helpful in slowing the absorption of glucose — which evens out our blood sugar levels — and also lowers cholesterol and inflammation. Fiber appears to reduce the risk of developing various conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diverticular disease, and constipation.

Eat the Rainbow

The American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Heart Association have advocated eating “the rainbow” of healthy food-based colors, especially dark green, red and orange vegetables. These vegetables are packed with essential fiber and nutrients. Dark-green vegetables are cited as good sources of vitamin K, while the red and orange vegetables are recognized for their vitamin A content.

Children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day for good health, but most Americans get only about 15 grams a day. Great sources are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

Maximize the diversity of plant-based foods in your diet to get the full range of micronutrients needed for good health. Every type of plant has something distinct to offer. Some nutritionists recommend eating 30 different plant sources per week.

Enjoy,

Linda

Gender Reveal

I recently found out my daughter was pregnant! This is our Gender Reveal. It was a blast!

We played a game called, “Old Wives Tales”. I was a lot of fun and guess what? It predicted the gender correctly!

Another good activity was “He or She” and “Team Boy or Girl”? I went with team Boy!

For the Reveal ceremony, my daughter had her friend get the info from the doctor and ordered a ‘cannon’. That way the future parents were surprised along with everyone else!

It’s a Boy!!

Not to worry, no fire is involved with the cannon, just powder and confetti. Check out Lindsay’s delight in this video!

Lindsay and Ben, the happy parents to be!

Future grandma and future great Aunt and future second cousin pose with the new mama.

So excited to be a grandma and great aunt!

Future granddad and relatives are excited are too!

Ben’s parents have been saving this blanket for awhile. Precious!

Happy family!!

I am filled with joy! Can’t wait to meet baby boy Issler.

~ With gratitude,

Linda

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – 1Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

Feel Your Power in Extended Side Angle Pose

Extended Side Angle Pose is a dynamic standing yoga pose that energizes and strengthens the entire body. 

Benefits of Extended Side Angle Pose

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle, relieves stiffness in the shoulders, hips and back. It provides a deep stretch to the groins and hamstrings, It will also improves stamina. This pose utilizes all of the muscles in the body. 

Your aim in Side Angle Pose is to engage your muscles fully to create a single extension from the outer heel of the straight leg to the extended arm.

Instructions

Before you go into Extended Side Angle Pose, warm up your muscles and joints. I also suggest doing some moving lunges and side lunges.

  1. Begin in Warrior 2. Step your feet open to widen your stance. Side bend towards your bent knee. Keep that knee directly over your heel and your back leg straight with your top hip and torso open.
  2. Lower your bottom arm so your forearm rests of your thigh. Your knee is facing the direction of your toes.
  3. Reach your top arm up towards the ceiling, and then extend it over your head. Your bicep should be over your ear. Firm and extend the muscles of the arm.
  4. Keep your chest, hips, and legs in one straight line. Visualize and feel the chi energy moving from foot to hand. Don’t forget to breathe.
  5. To deepen the pose, lower your front hand to the ground, placing your palm next to the inside arch of your front foot. You can also rest your front hand on a yoga block.
  6. Establish a firm foundation in your legs by pressing firmly through the outer edge of your extended foot. Soften into your breath. Hold for about 10 deep breaths. Support your core and carefully come up to a standing position  Repeat on the opposite side.
To slightly modify Extended Side Angle pose, place your forearm on your thigh instead of bringing your hand all the way to the ground.

“Yoga is the joining or uniting of the mind, body and spirit to enrich the quality of one’s life, and to enhance one’s health.” – Andrew Weil, M.D.

Tips

It’s important to practice this asana with correct alignment. If you’re a beginner or have unsteady balance, you can practice on a yoga mat against a wall. Do not allow your torso to drop forward towards the floor. Keep the outer edge of your back foot pressing firmly into the mat and your front knee aligned with your front heel. Make sure you hips are low enough to achieve a straight line from extended arm to your extended foot. Remember to keep your breath even throughout the pose to deepen your awareness of the way yoga unites body, mind, and spirit.

Contraindications

Do not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, neck or shoulders. You may want to skip Extended Side Angle if you are currently experiencing headaches or neck pain. Always work within your own limits and abilities. 

 If you have medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Parsvakonasana might be a challenging pose but it can stretch your body in new ways. As we expand the side body, we are also opening ourselves to new possibilities and limitless potential.

Enjoy the journey and happy practicing,

Linda

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” – Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)

© Copyright: All materials contained within this blog may not be used without written permission.

Spring Treasures at Malibu Creek State Park, Part 2

I have written a few blogs on the wildflowers and views at Malibu Creek State Park. It’s a big park with several trails. This time my sister and I took the Cistern trail. Almost immediately you will see beautiful Matilija Poppies.

There was a nice showing of Bush Mallow this May but only a few Lupine.

The mountains made a nice background for a field of Deer Weed

California Chicory grows nicely in the drier areas.

Great view before you head down the mountain. We took the Cistern trail to Lookout trail.

Indian Paintbrush mixed with Deer weed looked like a wildflower bouquet.

I loved the bright red color of these Cardinal Catchfly. It was the first time I saw these.

We were rewarded the bottom of the mountain with Century Lake.

Vibrant yellow Canyon Sunflowers still cover the area of the lake, even in late Spring. They love the cooler moist areas.

A few remnants of purple sage, most were dried. There was so little rain this year.

Common Goldenstar is very airy and lovely.

California Everlasting aka Ladies Tobacco

Heading back up the trail on Crebs Road, we spied some pretty Woolly Blue Curls.

Wild Buckwheat

Looking back at the lake.

Sticky monkey flowers – Being in a drought, I was pleasantly surprised at the varirty of wildflowers.

The Yucca flowers were gorgeous close up.

Golden Yarrow

I am so grateful I got to spend this incredible day with my sister last month. It refreshed our spirit!

God is good and He fills me with good and beautiful things.

With a grateful heart, Linda

Spring Treasures at Malibu Creek State Park

We were off on a cool spring day to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and nature.

Brilliant Heartleaf keckiella and Matilija poppies adorned the trail.

We entered the park from Mulholland Highway in Agoura Hills and took the Yearling trail.

Wild Verbena was scattered along the path.

How interesting! Wild roses. It was our first time seeing those.

Vetch is a non-native wildflower.

Winecup or Purple clarkia (Clarkia purpurea) was a wonderful find!

Hidden in the weeds, I spotted the tiny and rare American Birds-foot Trefoil wildflower; so small, the size of a petite pea. I was very excited about the discovery!

Clarkia anomena, Farewell to spring.

We came to a cross road and we took the trail toward Crags Road.

We got some relief from the sun as we traversed down the treelined trail.

Fiesta flowers.

Hiding under the trees were these gorgeous Clarkia elegans.

It’s hard to believe such beautiful and abundant flowers grow unattended by man.

Phacelia, could be caterpillar Phacelia.

So pretty, Foothill or Bunchleaf penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus). We followed the sign to the Century Lake Dam.

At Century Lake, a chorus song birds filled the air with their melodies.

The lake shoreline was fringed lavishly with delightful Canyon sunflowers.

Looking out into the Santa Monica mountains.

Purple nightshade or Blue witch wildflower.

My sister Maria and I, made our way up the mountain taking the Lookout trail.

Gumweed wildflowers. Getting back up the trail was tiring but the wildflowers entertained us along the way and gave us an excuse to rest.

The day was priceless. I am so grateful for these State Parks and natural wonders.

~ Linda

Point Dume Super Bloom

Mid-March through mid-April you’ll find an explosion of Giant Coreopsis wildflowers at the Point Dume Natural Preserve.

Leptosyne gigantea are native to Southern California and from the Asteraceae family.

Coreopsis in full bloom. Yellow flowers in every direction. What a glorious scene!

As we walked up the Point Dume trail, looking towards Malibu, we discovered poppies popping.

Not just any poppies, a beautiful bicolored variety.

A graceful heron roamed the hills.

I discovered something new since I have been hiking here, vibrant Mirabiles Laevis wildflowers. Also called Desert wishbone-bush from the Four O’Clock family! What a color!

Around the bend, the were a group of tourist whale watching. We arrived at the right time. A whale breeched the surface, what luck. The tourists let out a delightful gasp!

This is where the trail narrows and there is a dangerous steep drop.

I try not to look down and focused on the deer weed on the other side of the narrow path.

My hiking buddy and I headed out to the point. Point Dume was named by George Vancouver in 1793 in honor of Padre Francisco Dumetz of Mission San Buenaventura.

Nice view of the secluded beach. You have to do some rock climbing to get to it.

It was a breezy day but that didn’t stop people from laying out Zuma beach.

As usual, climbers were scaling the back side of the mountain with their gear.

Splendid bush sunflowers decorated our way back down the hill. Also native wildflowers, they’re similar looking to the Coreopsis except for the distinctive brown center.

Sea rocket (Cakile marítima) is pretty but not native to California. It originated in Europe.

The Scarlet Pimpernel!

The Natural Preserve and trail at Point Dume is a must see during the Coreopsis super bloom or any time of the year if you are visiting Southern California.

Grateful for spring flowers.

Enjoy, Linda

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” – Psalm 54:4

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