Taozi Tree Yoga

The seeds we water are the seeds that grow.


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A Series on Affordable Natural Beauty Tips: #3 Pumpkin Honey Body Mask

As Halloween rapidly approaches and people across the country start carving away at pumpkins, we can put the squash to good use by making a delicious and totally revitalizing body mask.

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Pumpkins are so full of nutrients it is hard to know where to begin! First of all, pumpkins are loaded with strong anti-oxidents which you can see with its beautiful orange color…beta-carotene and vitamins A and C. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acids which help eliminate dead /damaged cells, this gradually removes any sun spots caused by the sun or any other skin scarring. Additionally, as it boasts a number of anti-inflammatory benefits and along with a hint of UV protection (like the avocado)  – simply throwing away the otherwise discarded pumpkin is a huge no-no!

What to do:

Once you have scooped out the goo and cleaned the pumpkin, cut or scoop out some of its “body” from the inside. If you can get 2-3 cups, excellent, you want enough for a full body mask. If you want to make 2 batches, double the recipe and put some into the fridge to save for later or give to a friend!

Take your collected pumpkin and put it in the oven with a dab  of olive oil for 45 minutes, or until soft. We want it to be nice and mushy for the skin… let it cool and puree it.

Ingredients:

-2-3 cups of pumpkin puree

-3 tablespoons of honey

-1 tablespoon of cinnamon

-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Take the puree and mix it together with the 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Each one of these ingredients has a slue of additional benefits for the skin that will literally make your skin glow, just like the jack-o-lantern on the porch.

Cinnamon: This yummy spice is antioxidant rich, anti-bacterial and it adds a delicious smell that simply makes this mask scrumptious!

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Coconut Oil: This is a magical ingredient that I put in everything. Besides having the most divine smell ever, it is packed with moisturizers of many varieties that absorb really nicely into the deeper layers of the skin… it can also exfoliate deal skin cells away while acting as an anti-bacterial. Coconut oil is incredible stuff.

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Honey: This thick and  natural beauty ingredient is anti-bachterial which helps to remedy acne as well as other minor skin maladies. Additionally, I find it has a unique ability to leave the skin feeling so incredibly soft and smooth, it has become a staple in many of my home beauty treatment recipes… including this one!

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Directions:

After you have cleaned your whole body, exfoliated and patted the skin dry, apply the mask generously to the skin. Massage it into the skin as you apply. Once you are covered, let it sit for 10-15 minuets. This is a great time to let a moisturizing hair mask sink in as well. As the mask is sitting, do a small meditative visualization. Imagine all of the natural nutrients entering the skin and making it healthy and radiant. This visualization is important! Smile gently to yourself and feel gratitude for taking such sweet care of yourself.  Then simply rinse off and dry! The skin will really feel remarkable. 🙂

*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for details on Taozi’s travels, teaching schedule, and inspiration!***

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Silent Meditation: Vipassana in Australia

Getting Silent to Find Peace.

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This article was written by a dear friend Kate Morton, who lives “down under”! Kate  lives in sunny Brisbane, Queensland Australia. Kate was introduced to Yoga at the tender age of fifteen to help her manage her asthma. As life took hold, adventure and work took her overseas travelling and working for many years. A busy life and Yoga fell by the wayside. She loves finding healthy living options for the mind, body and soul and is now reconnecting with what makes the soul tick.

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 I had the pleasure of meeting her while we were in Australia in the fall of 2011. She is an inspiring women and to see the effects that a dedicated yoga and mediation pracitice have… it is truly inspiring! And here her piece begins:

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I recently undertook my first seven day silent Meditation retreat. Yes… silent and no eye contact. A gregarious extravert I can be, this was going to be extremely challenging. My idea of meditation was a 5 minute lie on the couch..then being allowed to turn on the tv.

What was the motivation?

Meditation has come up a healing strategy for me for many years, so time to address it. So my motivation was to experience and learn the benefits of daily mediation, shift something, restore energy having experienced Adrenal fatigue for 12 months  … and someone to cook great vegetarian food, and that it was.

Was it what I thought it would be?

Possibly something I could of looked into more before I committed to booking in 5 days before it began, but hey when do I ever, I just go do it!!! And glad I did.

We have a reputable Vipassana Meditation retreat in beautiful Pimono Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia, a few friends saying it was life changing….but pretty strict….not something I needed as being too hard on myself, probably a result of the Adrenal fatigue,  was not the idea. So an alternative was run by the Australian Dharma Insight group. Finding a comprehendible comparison or outline on either is difficult now I look for information, making it difficult to explain …something I now remember when listening to friends and their experiences.

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What was it?

A 7 day Meditation retreat done in silence. ‘Why’ I hear some people say.

Quote : (and excuse me if you already know) …Insight Meditation (also known as Vipassana) refers to both Buddhist meditation practices and a largely Western form of Buddhism. A feature of Insight Meditation as a form of Buddhism is that it is either free of ritual or has minimal ritual. Aims of Insight Meditation include coming to a deep understanding of ourselves, and developing compassion for all living beings.  There are different styles of Insight Meditation. Some common threads are that they all place importance on acting in an ethical way, and they all have a focus on settling the mind, developing a level of clarity, and looking carefully at one’s experience.

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We had those practicing style opportunities and I was in an environment where structure was provided. The schedule included a 6am wake up (reasonable I thought), eight 45 minute opportunities during the day to sit, in silence, in the meditation hall. Of course you could sit additionally to this. An evening talk. Breaks for meals, a bell was rung to indicate time to move onto the next session. And an opportunity for individual conversations with teacher.

All sessions were optional, not compulsory and being in the beautiful (cold)  hinterland off the Gold Coast, QLD Australia, lots of long walks with nature were in order when the sun appeared.

Vegetarian meals were provided, we had a daily 30 minute job – mine was breakfast clean up so there was a necessary opportunity for some talk then.

So the mixture of structure and flexibility was great and the teachers adjusted to the groups needs.

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What did I experience ?

I can now sit comfortably, the perfect stool and sitting position helps. I averaged 5 sits a day and 45 minutes a day got easier – I wasn’t going to beat myself up. I had naps when I needed. And ate like a trooper. I put on weight that I needed to put on.

The biggest challenge was ‘this is weird’ ..no eye contact felt like I was surrounded by a room of zombies. Am I doing this right? Gosh they are serious about this stuff. Who are these people? I’ve got some great ideas of how I could renovate the kitchen….Eventually my thoughts did slow down after some particularly strong emotions and breakdown that needed my attention and assistance from teachers . The realization being that I can be in a pretty dark place after a shit year and I was hearing myself laugh again …even in silence.

In talking to the other students on the last day in order to re-acclimate to the outside world, I was hypersensitive to engulfing myself in others ‘stuff’, so I focused on feeling the joy others were experiencing and was quite surprised in their intrigue how I survived as a first timer. Maybe they had forgotten their maiden retreat now they had become regular ‘retreaters’ .

So I left with Trust and patience, trust to reduce the effort for things to work, as a result the sit became easier. And it was a great debrief and giggle with my new friend on the drive home.

What now?

I write this in a period of transition, but I can’t help but feel optimistic about the future. Will I join the Sunday night mediation group? Will I have more energy and focus, motivation and will meditation be a permanent part of my daily routine? Who knows. I certainly enjoyed the process of settling the mind and like the benefits.

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I know what these silent retreats involve and now I have a stronger interest in Yatras – silent meditation 6 days walks. Combining my joy of walking, exploring new areas and peace of the silence.

So if the aims of Insight Meditation include coming to a deep understanding of ourselves, and developing compassion for all living beings, this is certainly a great way to stop and take time out to BE.

In the days since returning from the retreat, some notice being able to maintain an incredible level of focus and a sharpening of all the senses. I’ve noticed being grounded and less flighty, maybe I can call it a glow. But is it waning. Time to get back on the stool.

These experiences allow me to feel confident in saying there is something in meditation for everyone who is brave enough to give it a go and sit…….in silence.

*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for more on Taozi’s travels, inspiration, and yoga pictures!***