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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Simplify Your Life

Aloha Everyone,

I am in the midst of a huge task of major spring cleaning.  I thought I was a minimalist as I discard clothes when I purchase replacements.  But I am finding out that I am a sentimentalist.   I have so far 12 cardboard packing boxes which I still need to go through of personal items.  It's challenging as many of these boxes contain letters, cards and drawings from my children, granddaughter, husband, family and friends.  Realistically I know that we cannot keep all the mementos.

So with less than two weeks remaining before my husband and I take a month-long trip,  I like to share with you how to get rid of sentimental items by asking yourself the following 7 questions:

1.  What are three items you have which makes you smile?  In another words, if there is a fire and you have to carry away three items, what would they be?

2.  What are the items which you use everyday or at least every other day?  All of us keep things for "one of these days" whether it is something to wear or something to use.

3.  Photos and more photos and how often do you actually look at your albums?  We purchased a scanner and are now busy scanning them to save them on USB.

4.  How often do you re-read books, watch your collection of DVD and listen to out-dated long playing records and cassettes?  With exception of few books, we donated our collections to the Hawaii Kai Library.  I now read books, listen to music and watch movies on my digital devices.

5.  Does any of your family want your things when you no longer need them? 

6.  Do you have anything of value which can be sold and converted into cash? 

7.  Can you learn to let go without feeling guilty?  Can you let go of holding onto the things that were given by your parents, your family, and your dear friends?  If we keep everything we ever received as gifts, there would simply be not enough room in our home.

Yoga and meditation teaches as to live simple life.  Living simply without being hampered by people, things, expectations and obligations.  Living simply means getting rid of clutter from your body, mind and surroundings.  Living simply means be in the present moment, be mindful and loving all the details of ourselves.  Living simply means having time to enjoy the sunrise, the sunset, the moonrise, the sound of rain, and be grateful of listening to the sound of life. Living simply means to live your life honestly. And finally, living simply means to live your life peacefully. 

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”  Lao Tsu

Namaste -- Cathi

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Extended Leg Intense Stretch - Prasarita Padottanasana

Aloha Everyone, 

This pose is an intense stretch pose and you should do warm-up poses before attempting.

Prasarita in Sanskrit means stretched out and pada means leg or foot.


· Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
· Inhale as you spread your feet approximately 4 – 5 feet
· Bring your hands to your hips, fingers in front, thumb in back
· Place your feet parallel to each other with toes pointing forward
· Try to put your weight on the outer edges of your feet
· With exhalation, elongate your spine then bend forward
· Lift your knee caps as you bend from the waist keeping your hands on your hips
· Lower your hands to the floor, if possible, palms flat and fingers spread
· Keep your back concave
· Bend your elbows, place the top of your head on the floor, bolster or block
· Try to push your chest forward, inhale and pull your abdomen in
  • Develops mental and physical balance
  • Helps concentration
  • Tones and lengthens the entire leg and hip muscles
  • Opens the chest and ribcage
  • Helps create more space for your breath
  • Stretches the shoulders and biceps
  • Builds self confidence


Use props such as yoga bolster, one or more blocks stacked to rest your head.

Cathi's note:   For a beginner, do this pose for 5 – 10 seconds only.  Usual duration recommended for experienced yogi is 1 minutes.  Do not move your head or neck while your head is on the floor or on a block or bolster.  Use caution and common sense to avoid injuries.

Namaste -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Half Moon Pose - Ardha Chandrasana

Aloha Everyone,

Technique for Half-Moon Pose

  • Stand in Tadasana (refer to Tadasana, Moutain Pose, blog entry)
  • Using the short side of the yoga block, place it against the wall
  • As you inhale, step out your feel approximately 3 – 5 feet, this depends on your height and flexibility
  • Turn your left foot just slightly in towards right
  • Place your right foot parallel to the wall
  • Bend your right knee
  • Place your right hand on the block.  Try to see if you can place your palm flat on the block for maximum support
  • Using your breath gently straighten your right leg
  • Lean onto your right hand and let your weight be supported by your right hand and right foot.  
  • Lift your left leg so it is straight, and parallel to the ground. 
  • Find your balance then bring your left arm straight
  • The back side of your left arm should be touching the wall
  • Look up at the left thumb
  • Using long steady breath to hold this pose for 5 – 20 seconds
  • Release when you are done
  • Change side.

  • Develops mental and physical balance
  • Helps concentration
  • Tones the lumber and sacral spine
  • Helps relieve backaches
  • Aligns shoulders
  • Helps relieve sciatica
  • Improves circulations in the feet
  • Builds self confidence 

Cathi's note:  A wall and yoga block are commonly used as props to do Half-Moon Pose.  This pose is more advanced of balancing poses.  Do not practice this pose if you have eye strain, stress related headaches, diarrhea or varicose vein.  As in doing any of the yoga asanas, do warm up exercises first and take a few moments to find your center.  Your mind and body must be flexible to achieve this pose.  Do not do this pose if you are tired or lack sleep  Always listen to your body.  Do not over strain

Namaste -- Cathi

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Drug Chronotherapy

Aloha Everyone,

Drug Chronotherapy is tunes to body's rhythm regarding when to take your daily medications to get maximum effect with the lowest risk of unpleasant side effects.

Michael Smolensky, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, states, "The body doesn’t respond to medications in the same way at different times of the day."  "Some drugs are not as effective or as well tolerated if they're taken at the wrong biological time.  It's not the they're not effective at all, but they're certainly much less effective."

Successful treatment of diseases may depend on the time of day or month that a medicine is taken or surgery performed. Asthma and arthritis pain are examples of conditions now being treated by the clock or calendar.

To read the article by Nissa Simon which appeared in the December 2013 issue of the ARP Bulletin, go to

CAUTION:  Please consult your doctors or pharmacist before changing the timing of your drugs.

Namaste -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eating Nuts Can Help Your Heart

Aloha Everyone,

Researches have proven that if you eat nuts as part of a balanced diet helps your heart

Health benefits about eating nuts as a part of a healthy diet:

  • Can lower the LDL, low-density lipoprotein or "bad," cholesterol level in their blood.
  • Could reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a heart attack.
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help your heart by preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks
  • Fiber in nuts helps lower your cholesterol
  • Fiber in nuts helps prevent diabetes
  • Vitamin E in nuts may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries

Other benefits:

  • Nuts are tasty, portable and make great snacks.
  • Fiber also makes you feel full so you will eat less
  • Dried nuts are inexpensive and readily available.


  • Nuts contain a lot of fat; as much as 80 percent of a nut is fat. Even though most of this fat is healthy, you are still consuming a lot of calories.

Go to for articles by Mayo Clinic staff.  This site also provides some nutrition information on common types of nuts

Namaste -- Cathi

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Being Kind to Yourself First

Namaste Everyone,

On my flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles, I sat next to a stranger who engaged me in conversation and spent the next three hours telling me her life story.  The woman told me that she felt guilty about not doing better job of raising her sons when they were growing up.  She was unhappy, felt inadequate, full of remorse and blaming herself as to how her sons turned out.  The woman even felt responsible for her son's marriage and how her grandchildren were being raised.  Sadly, she was feeling very depressed and was definitely not very compassionate to herself.

After I had listened to her story, we talked about being kind to herself first. I shared with her that the purpose of life is to be happy.  Without being loving and compassionate towards ourselves, we would not be able to feel loving-kindness and compassionate to others.  By the time we parted company, she was smiling and felt that she has done a good job with her sons and she will give chance for her sons to raise their own children.   Here is the chapter from the Pocket Pema Chodron which I shared with her.

Pema Chodron:

"We start with ourselves.

In cultivating loving-kindness, we train first to be honest, loving and compassionate toward ourselves.  Rather than nurturing self-denigration, we begin to cultivate a clear-seeing kindness.  Sometimes we feel good and strong.  Sometimes we feel inadequate and weak.  But loving-kindness is unconditional.  No matter how we feel, we can aspire to be happy.  We can learn to act and think in ways that sow seeds of our future well-being,  gradually becoming more aware of what causes happiness as well as what causes distress.  Without loving-kindness for ourselves it is difficult, if not impossible to genuinely feel it for others."

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pears and Their Many Health Benefits

Aloha Everyone,

There is an old saying “apple a day keeps a doctor away” but what about a pear a day?  According to historians, pears have been around since the Stone Age. Many varieties of pears typically appear in supermarkets in autumn.  One interesting fact is that this fruits ripen inside out so to see if the fruit is ready to eat, press gently the thinnest part of the pear (usually referred to as the neck).  To gain maximum benefit of the fruits, pears are to be eaten with the skin.

List of Heath Benefits
·         Helps protect our hearts,
·         Excellent source of dietary fiber which can lower bad cholesterol
·         Helps reduce risk of stroke
·         Helps reduce risk of colon cancer
·         Hypoallergenic
·         Helps boost energy level
·         Helps control diabetes due to high fiber content and low glycemic index
·         High in antioxidants such as vitamin C and copper
·         Helps boost the immune system
·         Help prevent Osteoporosis
·         Helps maintain digestive health
·         Has healing, cooling compounds
·         Helps prevents colds and coughs
·         Helps get rid of toxins from the body
·         According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, helps balance yin and yang energy
·         Used as a natural remedy against nausea in ancient Greece

Namaste -- Cathi


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

Aloha Everyone,

I wanted to share with you several of my favorite Mahatma Gandhi quotes on Beauty, Love, Life, Happiness, Faith, Health, Patience, Peace, etc.

Mahatma Gandhi (Oct 2, 1869 - JAN 30 1869) was the spiritual and political leader and one of the architects for India's independence from British-ruled India.  His non-violent civil disobedience inspired civil rights and freedom movements across the world.

Featured are ten of his famous, inspiring quotes.

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

The best way to find you is to lose yourself in the service of others.
 - Mahatma Gandhi

A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

 - Mahatma Gandhi

Namaste -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

Aloha Everyone,

Technique for Dancer Pose (Natarajasana):

  • Stand in Tadasana.
  • Gaze at one point that is not moving
  • The knees are over the ankles, and the hips are over the knees.
  • Focus and engage in the belly.
  • Shift your weight onto one leg
  • Standing leg should be strong and rooted
  • With deep inhalation, bend the knee of non-standing leg
  • Bring the leg backwards and take hold of  the ankle or foot with the hand of the same side
  • Inhale, exhale and find your balance
  • Try to keep hips in alignment while you are lifting.
  • Breathe into the pose, try to stretch the abdominal muscles and quadriceps
  • Inhale, lift your chest, bring the other arm aiming towards the sky
  • Bring your hand into the Gyan Mudra, index finger and thumb tips pressing other fingers stretched
  • Open your heart and hold this pose for a few breath
  • Slowly release your pose and come back in Tadasana
  • Steady your mind and body
  • Do other side


  • Develops mental and physical balance
  • Helps concentration
  • Tones and lengthens the entire leg and hip muscles
  • Opens the chest and ribcage
  • Helps create more space for your breath
  • Stretches the shoulders and biceps
  • Builds self confidence

Variation:  Use strap if your hand cannot grab your foot.

Cathi's note:   This is one of popular balancing poses.  As in doing any of the yoga asanas, do warm up exercises first and take a few moments to find your center.  Your mind and body must be flexible to achieve this pose.  Remember to keep your breath flowing as students have tendencies to hold their breath.  Listen to your body.  Do not over strain.  Do not over do.

Namaste -- Cathi

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

Aloha Everyone,

Below is how to do the Eagle Pose (Garudasana):

  • Stand in Tadasana.
  • Extend both arms out in front with palms facing up
  • Place the left arm over the right and touch the palms.
  • Lift the elbows as you let the shoulders go down the back
  • Shift your weight onto left foot
  • Squat, bend right leg and lift the right foot
  • Cross your right thigh over your left
  • Try to hook the right foot around the left calf
  • Imagine sinking your hips while maintaining your spine straight
  • Steady your mind to increase your strength and balance.
  • Inhale, exhale, and continue breathing holding this position for 6 to 10 breaths.
  • Come back to Tadasana
  • Switch sides


  • Improves balance of mind and body
  • Improves concentration
  • Strengthens thighs
  • Helps open hips
  • Strengthens leg
  • Helps stretch ankles and calves
  • Stretches the thighs and hips
  • Stretches and opens shoulders as well as upper back
  • Helps focus

Cathi's note:  This pose is all about stretching and strengthening.  Start with a few breaths until you are able to extend your practice. Along with the Tree Pose, Garudasana helps in improving concentration and sense of balance. You can start your practice with your shoulders and buttocks against the wall to provide additional support and help with your balance Start with either left or right leg.  Just make sure you do both sides for the same duration.

Namaste -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chair Pose (Utkatasana) Explained

Aloha Everyone,

Below is the technique for the Chair Pose (Utkatasana):


  • Stand in Tadasana
  • Keep both feet on the ground
  • Inhale and bring your body in a squat position as if you are sitting down in a chair
  • Arms raised above your head, fingers pointing straight, elbows straight
  • Body should be at a 45 degrees angle, knees bent
  • Emphasis is on the muscles of the legs and pelvis
  • Try to find stability and balance between the upper and lower body
  • Inhale, exhale continue breathing holding this position for 6 to 10 breaths


  • Strengthens lower back and abdominals as well as thighs
  • Creates space in the shoulders
  • Opens chest
  • Helps stimulate the heart
  • Alleviates lower back pains and neck problems
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps stimulate abdominal organs and diaphragm
  • Reduces flat feet
  • Helps you focus 


Airplane pose – instead of raising your arms above your head, open your arms wide like the wings of an airplane then squat

Cathi's note:  This is not a sitting on a chair pose but rather putting your body into a pose as if you are sitting down in a chair.  It is an active pose and in addition to balancing your mind and body, this pose helps strengthens the spine, thighs, calves and ankles.  Chair pose also gives good stretch through the chest and shoulders. 

Namaste -- Cathi

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) Explained

Aloha Everyone,

  • Stand in Tadasana.
  • Inhale and step out with your feet pointing forward approximately 4 - 5 feet apart.
  • Stretch your arms, shoulder blades wide, palms facing down parallel to the floor
  • Turn in your left foot in about 45°.to the right and your right foot out to the right 90°.
  • Align the right heel with the left heel
  • Exhale and bend your torso sideways to the right 
  • Place your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot
  • Tuck in your should blades, your back ribs, your buttocks and your tailbone
  • Align your spine with the back of your head and your tailbone
  • Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling
  • Ground your right big toe and tighten your calf and thigh
  • Keep your head down, or in a neutral position or look up at the left thumb
  • Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, don’t forget to breathe.
  • Inhale to come up
  • Reverse the feet and repeat on the other side for the same length of time


  • Stretches and strengthens your thighs, hips, groins, calves, knees and ankles
  • Stretches and opens shoulders and chest
  • Helps stimulate the abdominal organs
  • Improves the flexibility of spine
  • Corrects body alignment
  • Alleviates backache
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieve stress

Cathi's note:  Trikonasana, the Triangle pose improves the strength, stability and balance of your body and the mind.  For beginners, please take your time in  learning and mastering this pose.  I cannot over emphasize the importance of listening to your body and use common sense. * Practice this pose with your with your shoulders and buttocks against the wall and your hand on your shin or on a yoga block to help keep the shoulders, hips and feet in alignment

Namaste -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tree Pose (Vrkshasana)

Aloha Everyone,

Technique for Tree Pose (Vrkshasana):

  • Stand in Tadasana.
  • Shift your weight onto the right leg
  • Lift your left leg, grab your left ankle.
  • Press the sole of your left foot against inner thigh of your right leg, point toes down
  • Make sure that your standing leg is firm and grounded.
  • Press your palms together in Namaste Mudra in front of your chest
  • Once your mind is calm and settled, raise both arms straight above your head
  • If you are able to, press your palms together, elbows straight
  • Gaze at a fixed point in front of you or on the floor that is not moving
  • Inhale deeply, exhale completely and continue long and slow breathing.
  • Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Stand back in Tadasana.
  • Switch sides

  • Helps improves balance and brings equilibrium to your mind
  • Improves balance of your body, helps gain stability in the legs
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Helps strengthen the ligaments and tendon of the feet
  • Helps strengthen and tones the standing leg
  • Helps firm your buttocks and opens the pelvic area
  • Helps build self-confidence and improves self esteem
  • Stretches the legs, back and arms

  • Leaves you feeling strong and rejuvenated

  • Helps you achieve balance in your life

Cathi's note:  This is one of the most elegant standing poses and helps you build self-confidence and self-esteem.  It is not difficult to get into but it takes practice, concentration and patience to remain in the pose. The Tree pose not only improves balance and stability in the legs but it is very calming and helps you achieve balance in your life.  You can start your practice with your shoulders and buttocks against the wall to provide additional support and help you with your balance. Begin with either left or right leg.  Just make sure you do both sides for the same duration.

Namaste -- Cathi

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bring Balance Into Your Life With Yoga - For Happy, Healthy Living

Aloha Everyone,

The Centers of Disease Control reported that each year 1 in 3 adults 65 years and older falls.  That's nearly 30% of the age group. Among those who fell, 38% of seniors aged 85 and older were hospitalized as a result of their injuries from the fall.  Many of these falls are preventable. You can begin by modifying your homes to suit your changing needs.  But more importantly, you can work on improving your body and mind by bringing more balance in your life.  Doing daily yoga exercises not only help you with balance but also with increased mobility, flexibility more energy and strengthening your muscles and over all happy, healthy living.

These are my favorite 10 Standing Yoga Asanas to improve balance   I will be writing separate blogs on each one of them.

I.  Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
2.  Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
3.  Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
4.  Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
5.  Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
6.  Warrior I (Virbhadrasana 1)
7.  Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
8.  Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
9.  Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
10.  High Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

Be well, be content, be kind to yourself and others and live a joyful and compassionate life.

Namaste -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Aloha Everyone,

Mountain Pose (Tadasana) Explained

“Mountain pose teaches us, literally, how to stand on our own two feet.... teaching us to root ourselves into the earth.... Our bodies become a connection between heaven and earth.”   ~Carol Krucoff


  • Stand with your feet together in line with each other and press them into the ground
  • The big toes and heels of both feet are touching. (Variation – feet shoulder apart)
  • Your weight should be on the centers of the arches of the feet, stretch your toes
  • Tighten the muscles of the legs, life your kneecaps. pull up your quadriceps
  • Tighten your buttocks; pull your lower abdomen in and up
  • Extend your arms at the sides of your body
  • Lift your sternum; open your chest, shoulders relaxed
  • Inhale and exhale
  • Hold this position for 1 - 3 minutes

  • Steadies breathing, increases awareness
  • Improves the alignment of your body and body posture
  • Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles and firms abdomen and buttocks
  • Creation of space within the body to allow the internal organs to function efficiently  
  • Helping the digestion process, elimination process and respiration process
  • Develops strength and flexibility simultaneously, especially in the spine
  • Relieves tension, aches, and pains throughout the body, relieves sciatica
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated
  • Expels dullness and depression
  • Harmonizes the body and mind
  • Increases energy and enthusiasm
  • Promotes happiness and confidence


  • Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana - Mountain Pose with arms stretched up
  • Tadasana Urdhva Baddha Hastasana  - Mountain Pose with arms bound & stretched up
  • Tadasana Paschima Namaskar – Mountain Pose with Namaste Hands – in your back
  • Tadasana Gomukhasana – Mountain Pose with hands held in the shape of a “cow’s face”
  • Tadasana Paschima Baddha Namaskar – Mountain Pose with Bound arms – holding    opposite arms in your back just above the elbows
Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana
Tadasana Paschima Namaskar 

Tadasana Gomukhasana 

Cathi's note:  Mountain pose is a wonderful asana which you can do it anywhere.  Practicing Tadasana early in the morning helps you feel invigorated, motivated and grounded.  This is the foundation of other standing asanas and helps you increase your awareness of your body.

Namaste -- Cathi