Celebrating with Both Big Toe Pose

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice; the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga.

Yoga is an invaluable gift! More than just exercise, yoga is the exploration of the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. “It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being.” – Narendra Modi

 

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Both Big Toe Pose – Ubhaya Padangusthasana

 

Spotlight on Both Big Toe Pose – Ubhaya Padangusthasana

 How to do Both Big Toe Pose – To hold this pose, you will first need to breathe and calm your mind. The object is to find a balance of energy in the legs and spine. Sit down with your legs bent. Grab your toes with two fingers; use your sitting bones as your grounding point. Without letting go of your toes, straighten your legs up. Elongate your back, lift your breastbone and lengthen through the hamstrings.

Energy Flow

Feel life force extend through your head and feet. Keep your heart lifted; don’t let your rib cage collapse onto your stomach or round your back. Hold for six deep breaths or longer and enjoy this energizing yoga posture.

“Every posture has important principles of structure, alignment, and kinesiology. But learning to cultivate internal energy flow is just as important as mastering these mechanical aspects,” – Ganga White

Happy yoga day and May God bless you with His life-giving energy.

With gratitude, Linda

 

“For He who is Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.” – Luke 1:14

 

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Finding the Balance to Stay Strong and Carry On

 

It may seem that I’m sitting on the rock, but look closer and you will see my body is floating, hovering above it.

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Floating Stick Pose – Utpluti Dandasana

The goal of this exercise is to explore how changing your center of gravity affects how well you can balance. It would be almost impossible for me to support all my body weight, as I am in the photo, if I didn’t find the perfect spot to place my hands to balance evenly front to back.

When I put Floating Stick Pose into one of my yoga fitness classes, it invokes some giggles because at first, my students think it’s impossible to do. But once the foundation of the fulcrum is placed in the right spot, it is possible.

Exploring Balancing Poses

Most of the women I teach like to follow me as I go through my yoga postures, this is fine, but sometimes I need to challenge them to find their own way in balancing postures. Balancing poses cannot be achieve by just watching, you must listen to your own body and discover the way. It is not only how far you stretch into a yoga pose that matters but also how you engage your body’s dynamic energy. 

Benefits

Balancing requires that we tighten our core, and lengthen outward, as a result it tones the whole body.

Working to stabilize a balancing posture burns calories and improves cardio vascular function.

Holding your balance teaches the interplay of concentration and focus.

In learning to balance, you will perfect control and develop an understanding of lines of energy.

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Balancing Stick Pose -Tuladandasana

Other names for this posture include warrior three pose, one-legged pose & balancing staff pose.

“If I am loosing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me. It works every time, and not just in yoga.” – Terri Guillemets

Soul Yoga

Balance is the foundation of all movement and helps to develop coordination and grace that carries over to everything you do. Finding the right balance and the right purpose is one of the secrets to a long fulfilling life and when life’s storms come, you will know how to stand. 

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” – Barbara De Angeles

Mindfulness, prayer and meditation releases God’s wisdom into our circumstances. If we continue to feel for the vibration of our true essence as daughters of God and align our thoughts to Him, we will find balance and energy.

I reflect on the many blessings God has given me and my family. His blessings are my inheritance. I am here for a purpose. God is within me.

With gratitude ~ Linda

 

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” – Matthew 7: 24 – 25

 

Energize and Turn Up Your Body Heat With Inversions

SIX GREAT REASONS TO DO INVERSIONS

The world seems a little upside down lately. The tide has turned in politics and it’s really shaking things up. I’m feeling like I need to ward off some sensory pollution and get a renewed mindset on taking care of my wellbeing.

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Standing Split

By shaking things up in your yoga practice, you can refresh your body, mind and spirit. When you’re feeling weighed down or sluggish, inversions are wonderful for bursting through the blahs, especially in the winter months when you need increased circulation to stay warm.

1) Improve circulation and stimulate the blood flow in the body. In inverted yoga poses, the head is below the heart. This boosts your vascular system, helping the blood to circulate and stabilize body temperature. Inversions aid the body in transporting nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen, carbon dioxide and hormones to and from the cells in the body.

2) Strengthen your upper body and core. The standing split I am doing in the photo, supports a good deal of body weight on the shoulders and triceps. It takes a considerable amount core strength to hold your balance in inversions like headstands and handstands.

3) Increase your mental clarity. Acute focus is needed for most inversions, which helps concentration and calms the mind. Blood and oxygen flow to the brain is stepped-up. Your head will be cleared of negative thoughts, as you feel empowered by your practice and ultimate success.

4) Move out of your comfort zone emotionally and physically. Upside down asanas are some of the most difficult and challenging. You may experience a wide range of feelings, from apprehension to courage about changing your relationship to gravity. But do not fear, you can always start with more gentle inversions, like legs up the wall, standing forward fold or down dog.

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Downward Facing Dog is a good pose to start with to get yourself comfortable with being upside down.

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana – Half Feather Peacock Pose) is great for toning the arms. It stretches deeply in the upper back, shoulders, hamstrings and calves. Dolphin can flow from Downward Facing Dog by lowering down to your forearms and firmly pressing your heels into the mat. You can also approach Dolphin Pose by starting out on all fours.

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Dolphin Pose

5) Boost your immune system. By turning upside down, you are going against gravity which helps purify the body. The fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system can travel more readily to assist in the elimination of toxins and bacteria and bring you optimal health. Increased blood flow provides extra nourishment to the cells and serves to fight diseases and stabilize pH.

6) Improve balance and coordination. “Learning to find balance in inversions can help bring balance into your life off the mat as well. Holding an inversion requires patience, practice, and being present in the moment; all qualities that can help create balance in your life.” ¹

If you want to be a yoga ‘rock star’, build your flexibility with this yoga wheel.

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Maria Lauren – yoga wheel with leg extension

That’s my sister, Maria. I’m very grateful to have her to inspire my life!

Wishing you love and light and the best in health, Linda

“Light in the messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” – Proverbs 15: 30

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Disclaimer – Inversions can be harmful to persons with certain medical conditions. Best to consult a doctor before practicing yoga inversions, especially if you have one or more of the following: glaucoma, detached retina, cervical spine or shoulder  injuries, heart disease, stroke and/or high blood pressure.

Footnote

  1. http://www.yogiapproved.com/yoga/10-reasons-to-do-inversions/

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Yoga Befits Children Of All Ages

In our family, we practice yoga for fun as much as for its many health benefits.

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Garland pose with a bind

During family gatherings my grandniece, Riley, will frequently pull me aside and ask me to show her some new yoga poses. Children’s brains and bodies easily take to this form of exercise.

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Squat – opens the hips and groin as it stretches and strengthens the hips and ankles

Children who practice yoga postures, conscious breathing and mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, according to scientific studies. They may also have better eating habits and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Yoga addresses the whole child, encouraging academic and emotional competence. “The studies also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.” ¹

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Yoga Increases Static Motor Performance.

A sample of children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested to observe their steadiness. The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies. ² 

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My nieces, Jocelyn and Marianna practice their splits together on family vacation.

Children Following Yoga Training Improved Their Visual Perceptual Sensitivity.

A study of 14 children with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years who received 10 days of yoga training and another group who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. Yoga group practiced postures and meditation, along with specific activities to improve memory and attention. Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and decrease in degree of illusion while the control group showed no change. The study suggests that children can show better improvement in performance in a relatively short amount of time.³

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Me and Riley working on our Camel Pose

Twenty Benefits of Yoga for Children

The following are just some of the recognized benefits of yoga for children (and adults):

  1. Develops a strong and flexible body
  2. Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
  3. Assists neuromuscular-development
  4. Increases balance, body awareness and coordination
  5. Improves posture and alignment
  6. Reduces injuries and improves performance
  7. Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
  8. Strengthens the immune system
  9. Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep
  10. Calms and clears the mind, bringing us into the present moment
  11. Increases concentration, focus, memory and attention span
  12. Stimulates auditory processing and responsiveness
  13. Expands imagination and creativity
  14. Alleviates tension, stress and anxiety
  15. Balances energy (high or low)
  16. Builds confidence and self-esteem
  17. Develops discipline and self-control
  18. Supports individuality and self-expression
  19. Encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle
  20. Promotes an overall sense of well-being

Yoga helps children feel more comfortable with their bodies and helps them get in touch with who they are inside. “A child who learns yoga, mindfulness and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body and spirit.” 4

Best in health, Linda

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)

 

For more info, please visit my website!

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com/2012/09/research-on-yoga-for-children.html
  2. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ips/om.aspx
  3. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ypp.aspx
  4. http://www.yoga4classrooms.com/benefits-of-yoga-in-schools

 

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A Twist of Fate

My Yoga Story

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Becoming a Yoga teacher was punctuated by an enlightening God moment for me. While I was on vacation in Hawaii I signed up to take a yoga class at the hotel where I was staying and the teacher never show up for the class. I waited for a while and then started doing my own yoga exercises. Several of the people who were waiting with me asked me to please show them some of the poses.

I had never taught yoga before but I had been practicing it for a long time. My fellow vacationers began following me. I taught for an hour without missing a beat and, incredibly, everyone stayed for my entire impromptu class. At that moment I knew I had evolved from student to teacher. I felt God saying to me, You’re ready; what are you waiting for?

You’re never too old to do something great! 

I was in my early 50’s when I completed my training  and started my new career in yoga. This path led me to develop different styles of yoga classes for my students. I sometimes use guided imagery while my students are holding a posture. For example I might coach them to picture each of their internal organs healthy and vital as they rotate in Belly Twist Pose. 

Yoga for Healing

At times in my life, when I have been in stressful situations either physically or mentally, I have been drawn to yoga for healing. I have always been active, I danced and practiced yoga for many years until I sustained neck and back injuries in a car accident. After a year of rehabilitation, I was able to slowly return to yoga but I was still in some pain and not physically able to do all the things I had been doing before. It was a very frustrating time for me. That’s when I discovered Pilates and how important core strength and muscle balance is.

Getting Back In Balance

I realized I had strong abdominal muscles but my back muscles were significantly weaker. A good Pilates practice includes exercises for the entire core, so a girdle of muscle is built around the mid section, equally balancing the muscles front, sides and back. I began focusing on proper body alignment and building up the deep supporting muscles of my ‘powerhouse’.

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Variations of Tree Pose – beneficial for improving balance and core strength

A strong core is the foundation for safety in all fitness practices and well as for everyday functioning in life. Through Pilates, I was able to attained the muscular support I needed for my injured back and neck. I made a full recovery and returned to dancing and doing the activities I loved. I have better back health now, than I did 15 years ago.

Our bodies are amazing miracles. My personal journey to recovery from my car accident gave me the passion for helping others heal and has given me insight to becoming a better fitness instructor. I am an AFAA certified group fitness instructor with additional certifications in yoga and Pilates. In my classes I spend a moment with my students in gratitude for how the body works so perfectly, doing the most complicated biological processes, without us having to tell it what to do. Simply incredible!

Mindfulness

Just as muscle imbalance can lead to injury. Imbalances in health are sometimes created when the mind and body are on two different paths. Being in the moment or mindfulness, will help keep you in sync body, mind and spirit. Lapses in memory or in your emotional, spiritual and physical health occur when your mind wants to do something different than your body does or vice versa.

The body mind and spirit are deeply connected an imbalance in one will effect the other parts.

Let go of any mental and emotional ‘baggage’. Deal with one thing at a time truthfully and courageously. It’s okay; you are not the sum of your environment or circumstances. You can create a positive transformation in your life. Yoga, Tia Chi and Qigong are good physical disciplines for reducing stress and calming the mind. Journaling, meditating, prayer and reading spiritual books or the Bible can also be helpful tools for attaining holistic health.

This inner work is as important as exercise, rest and nutrition for your overall well-being. Explore what helps you open pathways in your mind for renewal with Divine intuition. When you are whole, you can pass on this wholeness to everyone you come in contact with and that is a beautiful gift.

In gratitude, Linda

 

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:2-5

 

http://www.LindaEichberg.com

Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

© Materials contained within this blog may not be used without written permission.

 

Celebrating Yoga with the King of Hip Openers

In our fast-paced world, it’s imperative that we make time for ourselves to reboot and refocus. The practice of yoga can do wonders for our peace of mind and physical well-being.

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body…” Proverbs 14: 30 (NLT)

Pigeon is King

Pigeon pose is one of my very favorite yoga postures because of it’s therapeutic benefits. This asana has done wonders for me and my clients in healing hip and back pain. I’ll highlight this special yoga position for Yoga Appreciation Month!

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Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose) also called Pigeon Pose

Benefits of One-Legged King Pigeon Pose

Doing Pigeon Pose is essential in our chair-bound society. It is an extremely effective hip opener with the front leg in position to externally rotate the hip and the back leg in position to stretch the iliopsoas.

It has been discovered that the iliopsoas muscle group affects our mood and health. Known as the “muscle of the soul,” it is closely linked to our fight or flight response. Problems in these dorsal hip muscles may show up in other parts of the body such as the knees, pelvis, hips, neck/shoulders, sciatic nerve, and low back. ¹

Pigeon Pose stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen. It can often be felt deeply in specific upper-leg and hip muscles, including the psoas, piriformis, TFL (tensor fascia latae) and gluteus maximus.” ² You can adjust the level of intensity in Pigeon to open these muscles even further.

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Mermaid Pose

King Pigeon can be performed simply or developed into a more intricate posture like Mermaid Pose. It is a complicated position in the respect that there are many nuances to it that can help you get the most out of the pose. For this reason, I am not going to go into a long and detailed explanation on how to do this asana. I highly recommend you enjoy the benefits of this important pose under the care of a professional yoga practitioner.

With a grateful heart, Linda

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1: 2 

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.yogafit.com/news/blog/HowYogaMakesYouHappy/
  2. http://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-one-legged-king-pigeon-pose-in-yoga

Disclaimer: consult your doctor before practicing yoga or starting any exercise program.

© All rights reserved

The Beach Body 24 Hour Fix

“I use a mirror to see myself, but the mirror reflects only the image I can see with all its imperfections. I’m sure that somewhere God is laughing at me. She laughs because she sees more than I do. She can see through me. As I turn away from the mirror, for the first time I see my self, my essence, and my beauty reflected in God’s eyes.” – 365 Prescriptions for the Soul ¹

I don’t know any woman who doesn’t have some part of her body she would like to improve, me included, but I no longer feel I have to ‘punish’ my body into a certain form. Instead, I try to attain a long loving relationship with it.

LOVING THE SKIN YOU’RE IN 

I am not going to tell you about a 24 hour crash diet or miracle fitness work out. What I will tell you about are my favorite products and treatments that will leave you feeling pampered. Plus, they will immediately improve the look and feel of your skin and get it ‘beach ready’.

Natural Non-Insane Ways To Get Ready For Skin Baring Season

Dry Brushing For Healthy Skin

Dry brushing is easy to do; it takes less than 5 minutes and it’s great for sloughing off dry flaky skin. You will see improvement in the look and texture of your skin right away.

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Dry brushing aids in the elimination of toxins from the body.

How It’s Done

  • Use a brush with natural bristles like 100% wild boar or similar. The bristles should be stiff but not too hard. Look for one that has a handle long enough to reach your back.
  • You should only brush towards the heart, making long sweeps, scrubbing in a circular motion.
  • Start at your feet, moving up both sides of the legs. Make small circles at your knees. Direct the brush counterclockwise on your stomach.
  • Next, you’ll work from the arms toward your chest, moving your way down your back.
  • Brush several times in each area, but not too hard; this should be an enjoyable experience. Skin should be invigorated but not irritated or red.

Health Benefits

Dry brushing works most beneficially when it’s performed daily. It increases the circulation, opens the pores and stimulates the lymphatic system which will help the body release toxins. You will notice your skin is smoother with a rosy glow!

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The Skin is the Largest Organ of the Body.

After brushing, your lotions will absorb more quickly, so treat your body to natural, chemical free skin care products. A particular favorite of mine is Raw Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, one of natures most amazing gifts. It contains beneficial vitamins and minerals like Iron for oxygen transportation and vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin that protects cells from damaging free radicals.

Another natural oil I love for my body is Meyer Lemon infused Cold Pressed Olive Oil. It feels and smells wonderful on my skin.

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

Self Tanner

Once your skin drinks in your oil or lotion, it’s ready for self tanner. My first choice for self tanner is St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse. It will give your skin rich, long lasting color that will deepen over a few hours time; and it has a pleasant fragrance. I recommend the applicator mitt, sold separately, to ensure an even streak-free application.

Best Natural Moisturizing Sunscreens

I have spent a lot of time trying to find a good moisturizing natural sunscreen for the face and the body. A lot of natural sunscreens are drying and leave a chalky film on the skin, but these brands.

DeVita natural skin care products are very hydrating, partly because they contain hyaluronic acid. For my face, I use DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer. It’s moderate priced and  blends well with serums and make up. Their C Serum is great too, as well as their Rose Facial Toner. It smells heavenly!

DeVita skin care

Aveda’s Daily Light Guard SPF 30 is formulated with 100% mineral-derived sunscreens with UVA/UVB protection and features advanced coating technology that makes zinc oxide and titanium dioxide glide on sheer and smooth.

Daily Light Guard contains organic kukui seed oil and ginger extracts. It feels silky and instantly disappears on the skin. Foundations and powder can be applied on top smoothly without any chalkiness or balling.

Water Resistant Lotion

If you are going to be swimming, you will need to use a sunscreen that is more water resistant than the Aveda or DeVita lotion. CeraVe Sunscreen is one of my alternatives for a chemical-free lotion when I am enjoying water sports. I also like the rich felling of Coola mineral sunscreen. It’s wonderful on dry skin. It contains nourishing rose hip oil. For sensitive skin, I recommend Elta MD chemical-free sun care.∗

Applicators

For getting sunscreen on to those hard-to-reach spots, Aquasentials has  an easy lotion applicator with a long curved handle. Bass products developed a nice folding applicator, convenient for traveling or carrying in your beach bag.

Keep Our Reefs Safe

Natural sunscreens not only protect the skin from sun damage but they also safeguard our ocean reefs from the damage caused by the chemicals found in synthetic sun care products.

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Enjoying a good yoga stretch for the hips and thighs after a long walk on the beach.

To have beautiful, healthy skin for the long term, nothing beats a wholesome diet filled with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables along with daily exercise.

Your body is your vehicle. Love it. Take care of it.

Enjoy your beach day. I hope it’s delightful!  ~ Linda

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation. – Psalm 35:9

∗ I have not been paid or compensated in any way to endorse the products mentioned in this blog.

Footnote:

1. 365 PRESCRIPTIONS FOR THE SOUL by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel

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Creating the Warrior Spirit

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“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

I am continually amazed at the gifts God gives us, the variety and the beauty! Some are subtle, almost unseen but still so necessary; while others are obvious, prominently displayed in the forefront. All receive equal honor because the Master’s hand created them.

God – The Giver of All Gifts

When I work in my job as a yoga and Pilates teacher, I remember my faith and that God can use me for healing and health-giving purposes. Since I am very flexible, I have to keep in mind that I can push my students too far. It’s a delicate balance between healing and harming.

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Warrior 1 opens the heart with hands reaching towards heaven and feet grounded on a firm foundation.

I don’t always get it right, but looking up to God, the giver of all gifts, I have hope and motivation because I know I am His craftsmanship he is not finished with me yet. He is still carving, shaping and polishing to create something special for His grand design and His plan for my life.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8

I am grateful for God’s patience and guidance. I know He will take me exactly where I need to be. Wherever I am, I have the opportunity at all times, to do good works and reflect God’s love.

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Warrior 3 (or Balancing Stick pose) requires balance, strength, grace and mental focus. 

 

Warrior of the Lord

This week I had the chance to see a very unusual and remarkable creation, a God breathed sculpture carved from a 2,000-year-old redwood stump.

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The “Warrior of the Lord” is a dramatic 7-foot-tall carving and has an impressive 9 foot wing-span. With his wings spread and his cloak is flowing. The majestic archangel stands ready to take on his fight against evil.

warrior-of-the-Lord-SafonovThis beautiful piece of art carved by Alexandre Safonov, stands in front of an antique store in mountains of Agoura Hills. The artist’s creation was inspired by the Holy Spirit. “I feel the Holy Spirit”, Safonov said. “I put the energy of God into this piece.” ¹ Alexandre prayed every time he started work on his masterpiece.

“This is a warrior; he represents God and the word of God.” – Alexandre Safonov

His eyes seem to be looking up in adoration to God.

The Armor of God

When I saw the statue, I immediately thought of several scriptures, particularly Ephesians 6:10-18, about spiritual warfare and putting on the ‘Armor of God’. ²

alexandre-safonov-warrior-of-the-lordThe archangel’s “Sword of the Spirit” carries a ‘B’ to represent the Bible, the word of God. His “Belt of Truth” bares the cross of Jesus and his massive “Shield of Faith” is emblazoned with the initials of Jesus Christ, ‘JC’.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. – Ephesians 6: 10-12

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Warrior Fathers – Men of Honor

Happy Fathers Day to all the men who are warriors for their families and especially to my husband, Steven, who is an amazing and supportive dad to our daughter and devoted to his family. He is a warrior for our family each and every day. We are blessed and I continually thank God.

Many blessings,

Linda

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Footnotes:

1. http://www.theacorn.com/news/2015-06-11/Community/Woodcarver_uses_faith_talent_in_work_of_a_lifetime.html

2. Ephesians 6:10-18 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6%3A+10-18&version=NIV

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Eternal Summer – Yoga For Mid-Life and Beyond

If you’re a beach goer and live in Southern California, the words “eternal summer” probably have a wonderful meaning to you. Some of our best beach days are in the fall and later in the year. Life is beautiful at the beach!

One spectacular day this October, a family outing to Zuma Beach turned into an impromptu, Yoga session with fellow yogini’s, Maria and Marianna. My sister, Maria and I are yoga instructors, so we were showing off for each other, just a little, doing a few postures we don’t usually get to use in our classes.

Rejoicing in Health – Enjoying Fitness Yoga 

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My boogie board came in handy as a platform for my headstand.

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Playing in the ocean, Maria practices her yoga wheel.

We practically had the beach to ourselves that day. We made it our own glorious playground. My niece, Marianna joined in the fun; and she had a few good yoga poses of her own.

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Marianna takes crow pose to the extreme, balancing on one leg.

After our exercise, we took our boogie boards into the waves. Got to love Southern California’s eternal summer but if you’re a woman going through menopause, the “eternal summer”’ can have entirely different and maybe not so pleasurable meaning.

YOGA FOR MID-LIFE (or Any Time of Life)

Hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Oh my! During Menopause we lose estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that cause these changes in our bodies. Yoga can physically help our body’s hormone system.

SLEEP BETTER

Yoga can help relieve menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia. 

A Brazilian study published in a 2012 issue of the journal, Menopause had three groups of women participate in either a passive stretching regimen with a physical therapist, a specific series of yoga classes or no change in their routine. After four months the women who practiced yoga for one hour, twice per week had significantly fewer hot flashes and slept better than the other two groups. The women were so pleased with the results, 75 percent of the yoga group continued with yoga classes after the study.

BALANCE YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM

Yoga keeps your systems fluid and balanced.

As you move your body, the brain, nervous system and endocrine system all work together. “The brain commands the action, the nervous system carries the message and the endocrine system is responsible for long-term body maintenance using glands and hormones”. Yoga is very beneficial for Hormonal Health.

The twisting and bending in yoga energize the adrenals and thyroid gland.

turkish-twist-yoga-linda-eichberg_

Just like there are many styles of yoga, there is more than one way to do a yoga pose. Your instructor can give modifications that work for you.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Hormones affect your mood. I have been told by many of my friends, that for them, the worst part of going through menopause was the mood swings. I have to agree. A yoga practice can help you relax by focusing the mind. I am allowing myself the time and space to use whatever natural tools are available to reduce stress in my life and protect my nervous system.

BREATHING ROOM

I have found that now, more than ever, I need to take more pauses in my day to be still and in the moment, focusing on God’s blessings and breathing in His grace and goodness.

Yoga is as much about breathing, (Pranayama) as it is about postures. Whether you’re on the beach or in a quiet room, you will enjoy the stillness and health benefits of the ocean breath. Ocean Breath; Ujjayi Breath offers gentle stimulation to your larynx and thyroid as well as a chance to slow down and quiet the mind from distracting thoughts. Create a sanctuary within.

How to do ocean breath – Sit in a comfortable position with your core engaged. Breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the nose. Inhale fully under the diaphragm with your lips closed and relaxed. Exhale with a haaa sound similar to what you would hear if you had your ear up to a conch shell to ‘listen’ to the ocean. Feel the sensation of the breath touching the back of your throat.

Using the Ujjayi breath in your yoga postures can help give you focus and power. 

INNER BEAUTY

Learn, Love, Grow, Discover! Prayer, deepening my relationship with God, meditating on His word and living in the joy of God’s Son and His creation, has strengthened me more than I can say. Yoga is not God. Dependence on God has brought certain aspects of yoga into the harmony of my life. I feel I am living the words of the song I sang in Community Bible Study this week with the worship team, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place,” and yes, that is a very excellent place to be.

THE NATURAL WAY

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Cor. 12:9

Good health is a personal journey, it’s a blessing and it is worth striving toward. With God’s guidance, I have been able to get through menopause using these natural methods and without the use of hormones or prescription drugs. For that, I am very thankful.

With a grateful heart, Linda

I look up to the hills, but where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121: 1-2 NCV

 

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog expressing my own personal opinions. See a fitness or medical health professional to see if yoga is right for you. © CopyrightAll rights reserved. May not be used without written permission.

Laugh For The Health Of It – Humor And Heart Health

A good sense of humor may help protect you against a heart attack, according to recent discoveries by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The study suggests that laughter may help prevent heart disease by improving blood vessel tone.

Laughter stimulates the circulation and helps your blood vessels function better by acting on the endothelium, the protective lining of the vessels, causing them to open and increase blood flow. Laughter may also help prevent cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries that leads to a heart attack because it reduces stress. [1] In other words, a good laugh is good for your heart.

Research also found that people with heart disease were less likely to recognize humor or use it to ease tense situations. For the most part they laughed less, even in positive situations and they showed more anger. There have not been any negative effects observed that correspond with laughter. [2]

  “Looking at life through the lens of humor is good for your health”.  – L. E.

Looking at life through the lens of humor is good for the health - Linda Eichberg

“We know that exercising, not smoking and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease. Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list.” – Dr. Micheal Miller, Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine.

 

Invite Laughter Into Your Life

Make a date with laughter, daily. Read something funny or watch a funny video or television show. Researchers have found the even the anticipation of experiencing laughter created feel good hormones that boost the immune system.[3]

Dean-Martin-Three-Stooges-

Dean Martin and The Three Stooges in “4 for Texas”

When I was a kid, I looked forward to laughing with “The Three Stooges.” Today, my daughter watches a modern version of their TV show. God bless her, she likes me to watch it with her. “Impractical Jokers” is pretty outrageous. It’s sort of like the ‘naughty’ Four Stooges meet Candid Camera. I sometimes complain that watching their crazy pranks will, “rot my brain” but, as Lindsay is quick to point out, I am usually laughing the loudest! We both enjoy watching reruns of “King of Queens” on a Saturday morning. Great bonding time!

Actually, humor is good for the brain. A study by John Hopkins University found humor improves test score results. [4]

American Heart Health Month

This is American Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S but it doesn’t have to be.

Diet and Exercise

With the help of nutrition experts from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, here is a list of the top 25, “best of the best” heart-healthy foods. These 25 foods are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that help protect your heart and blood vessels. [5]

Top 25 Heart-Healthy Foods

The benefits of diet and exercise for the heart are well documented. Researchers from the University of South Carolina found that adult men, who had little physical activity throughout the day, had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease compared with men who were living a more active lifestyle. My friend, Christl, reduced her cholesterol by 100 points in one month through diet and exercise.

Facts also support the idea that, “yoga can help reduce such cardiovascular risks as insulin resistance, high blood pressure and blood vessel inflammation.” For the 2.7 million Americans diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, “yoga may be especially helpful.” [6] Since I teach yoga, this is very good to hear.

Laughing Yoga

Image

Yoga comes naturally to my nephew, Dylan

Did you ever hear of laughing yoga? Laughing yoga and laughter clubs are where people get together to laugh without using jokes. It’s coached laughing. They laugh for the health of it! [7] Babies laugh and do yoga before they can walk or speak. It comes to them naturally. They laugh without having to get the joke. We were created to laugh!

Be a Friend

Togetherness strengthens heart health. A University of New York at Oswego investigation found that blood pressure dropped when one spent time with a spouse or partner. Engaging with other people does seem to help the heart, so what could be more awesome for the heart than sharing unconditional love and taking a yoga class together?

Yoga Instructors - Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg  (Alberici Sisters)

Sisters, Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg demonstrate Yoga – Side Angle Pose

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
    jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)

 

Recall Funny Moments

Dean Martin

Looking at this photo of my former boss, Dean Martin, I can’t help but smile. Dean spent the latter part of his TV career celebrating comedy in The Dean Martin Comedy Hour and the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. Dean was smart; he got paid to laugh. Being one of his “Golddiggers” during that time, I guess I did too. What a blessing!

Watching some of his old video clips still make me chuckle. Humor was a big part of Dean’s charm, on and off the set. My sister, Maria and I spent almost two decades working with him. Oh, the stories we can tell!

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, Dean Martin, Rat Pack book

If you are interested in Dean Martin, The Golddiggers, Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, The Rat Pack or the legends of 1970’s television and Las Vegas, you will find our book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS, interesting and entertaining. 

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS contains over 350 photos.

Entertainers and musicians across a wide spectrum of the industry have contributed to the stories in this book.

“It is an inside look at show business told in a very real way.”

 http://www.beyondourwildestdreams.com/ for more info.

To read reviews and purchase on Amazon 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1463564570/?tag=beyondourwild-20

Laughter is good medicine. Wishing you lot’s of laughter and a heart full of love,

Linda Alberici Eichberg

Guard your heart

“When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, ‘I’m seeking him!'” – Psalm: 27:8 (MSG)

 

Refrences:

1) University Of Maryland School Of Medicine Study Shows Laughter Helps Blood Vessels Function Better http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050309111444.htm

2) Laughter Good For Heart | University of Maryland Medical Center
http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2000/laughter-is-good-for-your-heart-according-to-a-new-ummc-study

3) Laughing for the health of it http://www.bhg.com/health-family/mind-body-spirit/stress-relief/laughing-for-the-health-of-it/

4) A randomized trial of humor effects on test anxiety and test performance -RONALD A. BERK and JOY NANDA http://www.ronberk.com/articles/2006_randomized.pdf

5) 25 Top Heart Healthy Foods http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/25-top-heart-healthy-foods

6) Heart Healthy Habits Now http://abcnews.go.com/Health/heart-healthy-habits-now/story?id=22554990

7) Laughing to the Future: Hugh McClellland at TedXPenticton – http://youtu.be/28ZSsH3UFWM

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. All content is copyrighted and may not be used without written permission.