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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