Genni Lee Hester


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late autumn, preparing the body for winter

Today I want to share with you some simple tips for late autumn. Here in NYC the air is crisp and Thanksgiving is this week! As you might have experienced, this time of year our bodies go into storing mode inoder to prepare for the colder months. Ergo, heavier processed foods become appealing (e.g., dairy, packaged food, etc…). Instead of allowing cravings to dictate our plate, we can select seasonally appropriate foods to center our bodies for now and the colder months ahead. Traditional Macrobiotic meals are my favorite go-tos this late in fall. Root vegetables, adzuki beans, brown rice, and greens are all great options. Oatmeal is divine for breakfast, have fun by adding your favorite nuts and fruit.

fig, pecan oatmeal

fig, pecan oatmeal

Umeboshi plums are another great macrobiotic treat when you are feeling a little weak or spacey from the changing season. The yin fruit mixed with yang energies of salt and time allow for a nice, balancing effect (add some to a cup of kukicha tea and zap your hangover).

umeboshi

umeboshi

Most importantly, however, make sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty. Go to the park, appreciate the winds of change, and reap the harvest of all your healthy efforts.

If you live in the NYC area I am accepting new clients at this time. For those who are not near, I also do consulting via phone or Skype. Check my contact information tab to schedule your appointment. I look forward to hearing from you.

With love,

Genni.


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MeditationMoment34: flowers

“The earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 


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MeditationMoment33: flip the word

“Don’t call it uncertainty — call it wonder.
Don’t call it insecurity — call it freedom,”  Osho. 

unnamed


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breath awareness for mindful runners

It is my favorite time of year to run! I hope this post gives you practical information to make the most of your autumn workout regimen. If you’re not in the Northern Hemisphere, I bet this will still be useful for your year-round workouts.

A couple of years ago I came across an intriguing book titled Chi Running: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer. Although I was training for a marathon that summer, I was more enticed by the use of Chi in Dreyer’s title than the latter verb. Unfortunately I did not experience the injury-free part of chi running while hitting fifty plus miles a week; I wound up with a double hairline fracture in my left foot.

            Luckily this road did not have a dead-end, and I came away with three lessons chi running teaches that have expanded my running regimen. First I learned the importance of midfoot striking (especially for long distance runners). I also discovered the practice of bodily alignment; however, the most valuable seed chi running planted in my mind is the practice of breath/mind awareness while running.

            There are three main areas where runners’ feet strike: forefoot, midfoot, and heelfoot. By becoming aware of my running strike, I noticed a trend of forefoot striking during longer runs and heelfoot striking during sprint workouts. Besides my hairline fractures, I also had problems with my lumbar back and meniscus pain in my right knee. I began running with the intention of midfoot striking. The intention was challenging at first – old habits die hard. Furthermore, my running times slowed down, so my ego died hard with my foot strikes. A close friend of mine, who happens to be an ultra marathon runner, knew exactly what I needed to help the transition, a pair of Newton Trainers. These shoes are advantageous because extra cushion is on the midfoot, versus the heelfoot like most running shoes; ergo, Newton’s naturally support as well as enhance midfoot striking.

Newton's

Newton’s

            Midfoot striking allows me to find better bodily alignment while running. In asana yoga the foundation standing posture is Tadasana (mountain pose). In preparation for tadasana awareness begins with the feet, making sure weight is distributed evenly amongst all points of the feet. Awareness then glides up to the ankles, hips, and shoulders. By simply bringing the major joints into order, one has better posture and skeletal alignment. Bodily alignment, coupled with midfoot striking, has made my runs more comfortable. Consequently, it has also tremendously improved my back and knee difficulties.

            Good running posture does not only help the physical body, it also helps with the chi or prana body (the pranamaya kosha in yoga). The Chi Running phenomenon inspired my practice of breath awareness during running, yet as a yoga instructor my knowledge of vitality is rooted within the concept of prana found in the Hatha Yoga tradition rather than the concept of qi within TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Pranayama, yogic breathing techniques, are just as essential to yoga practice as asana postures. In order to focus my mind before a run, I practice deep breathing on the way to the park. By making my exhaled breath twice as long as my inhale, I imagine my pranic body being prepped for the run. Before beginning my run I take Tadasana, finding my posture. The first 108 breathes of my run I use as Japa (repetitive mantra) meditation, simply using OM on the exhale. Through warming up the mind and breath, my running practice becomes a place to revitalize pranic energy rather than waste it.

            This blog entry does not aim at getting you to look at a book, buy a new pair of running shoes, or participate in a yoga class; however, I hope these ideas inspire you to not only reconsider where your mind is during physical activity, but also to see the connections you can find in your own life. Instead of seeing running and yoga as two distinct activities, I have added depth to both practices through understanding the connections between the two. Just as a lamp will not turn on without being plugged into the wall, our mind/body will not light up unless we connect it to its prana or qi.

Places I love to run: 

Hudson River

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Harlem River

Harlem River


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healthful valentine’s day meal

Hello Readers,

This week on Wellness Wednesday I am sharing a simple Valentine’s Day meal.  Combine cooked quinoa, garbanzo beans, and baby beets to make a festive dish. A kale salad with a zesty ginger (aphrodisiac:)) dressing compliments the baby beets’ sweetness. Round everything out with a lovely (yet cost efficient) red wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France. Whatever your plans may be, have fun and be well!

With love,

Gen.

happy valentine's day

happy valentine’s day

zesty ginger dressing: 1 inch ginger, 1/4 apple, 1 lemon

zesty ginger dressing: 1 inch ginger, 1/4 apple, 1 lemon

add a little olive oil and water to help it blend down in food processor

add a little olive oil and water to help it blend down in food processor

fresh kale

fresh kale

p'tit piaf vin rouge

p’tit piaf vin rouge

festive tools

festive tools

menage a trois: quinoa, baby beets, & garbanzo beans.

menage a trois: quinoa, baby beets, & garbanzo beans.

spooning

spooning

heart attack

heart attack

heart cleavage

heart cleavage

up close & green

up close & green

all together now

all together now


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late autumn, preparing the body for winter

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

I am so excited to have the opportunity to write and share this post with you today. Life as a graduate student and yogini has been both fun and busy.

Today I want to share with you some simple tips for late autumn. Here in NYC the air is crisp and Thanksgiving is a week away. As you might have experienced, this time of year our bodies go into storing mode inoder to prepare for the colder months. Ergo, heavier processed foods become appealing (e.g., dairy, packaged food, etc…). Instead of allowing cravings to dictate our plate, we can select seasonally appropriate foods to center our bodies for now and the colder months ahead. Traditional Macrobiotic meals are my favorite go-tos this late in fall. Root vegetables, adzuki beans, brown rice, and greens are all great options. Oatmeal is divine for breakfast, have fun by adding your favorite nuts and fruit.

fig, pecan oatmeal

fig, pecan oatmeal

Umeboshi plums are another great macrobiotic treat when you are feeling a little weak or spacey from the changing season. The yin fruit mixed with yang energies of salt and time allow for a nice, balancing effect (add some to a cup of kukicha tea and zap your hangover).

umeboshi

umeboshi

Most importantly, however, make sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty. Go to the park, appreciate the winds of change, and reap the harvest of all your healthy efforts.

If you live in the NYC area I am accepting new clients at this time. For those who are not near, I also do consulting via phone or Skype. Check my contact information tab to schedule your appointment. I look forward to hearing from you.

With love,

Genni.