Growth & Transformation

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart. She who looks outside, dreams; she who looks inside, awakens.” Carl Jung


Summer is the season of growth and transformation. After a longggggg winter and a wettttttttt spring. The heat and sunshine take charge. I am glad because I have been waiting for the seeds I have nurtured to sprout. No, these seeds are not in my vegetable garden. No, there not in my flower garden either. They are from deep within. True transformation comes from a moment to moment dedication to something that is so real to you that you can taste, smell, see, feel and hear it. It is so easy for such seeds to be buried under non-essentials that we think are essential, washed away from doubt or fear, and dried up in the demanding call of the hot seat to stay true.

In terms of my body, it can so quickly become dull and slow with the putting off of my physical yoga practice. Yoga asks us to continually develop awareness of what your seeds are and what you want! By way of the body in a hatha practice. At the root of those seeds is connection.  I can truly say I have connected with my abs after Debbie’s Anusara class as well as my arms. What a great feeling to know that awareness of my abs and arms will bring about transformation, if I dedicate myself time after time. To me my abs represent personal power. The ability to lift my vibration to the level of my true hearts desire and not let it waiver in any given situation. My arms represent my ability to take action and do the work necessary for transformation to grow into a large oak tree.


Now connection is widely used to mean many different things. Some things I can connect with but they may harm my high vibrational calling and not be to anyone’s benefit. I’m speaking of connection to higher options that have a delicious flavor, sweet aroma, stunning colors and a feeling that’s un-describable.

When I awaken from the inside out, its like my whole being is participating in a huge celebration of a great magnitude. FIREWORKS!!! If everyone could have even a little idea of what could happen when they truly awaken, I imagine it would look like this picture of a train in INDIA.


No one wants to miss the train bound for HOME. Home is where you connect to your higher vibrant self as well as others vibrant selves. Clear on the direction without any doubt or fear, pushing onward through the obstacles that seems real but are not. Re-dedicate yourself to your practice this summer. Re-dedicate yourself to your vision. Re-dedicate yourself to your family. Re-dedicate yourself to service.

Watch when your sprout break the soil, it wasn’t easy because of the different space it steps into. Watch when your stalk grows tall, it takes clear vision to see the sun and stretch. Watch when your leaves and blossom first emerge, there is a need for letting go to reach out. Watch when your blossom finally opens, it must break free of what it was to become what it is. A beautiful representation of the awakening of you.


Julie Branham


What’s in your water bottle?

I used to think water was ‘boring’, ‘tasteless’, and usually opted for milk or juice.  I was constipated and constantly congested from my high dairy intake.  I think I lived on milk and melted cheese sandwiches (two slices of Wonder bread with a slice of Kraft American cheese in between–in the microwave for 15 seconds…yep…that was a food group for me).  I had no idea that drinking water could change my body and my health.

Why is water so important for weight loss?  Donald S. Robertston, M.D. author of The Snowbird Diet said, “incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off.  Although most of us take it for granted, water may be the only true ‘magic potion for permanent weight loss.’”  Dr. Robertson also suggests that “water suppresses the appetite and helps the body metabolize stored fat, helps maintain proper muscle tone, clears wastes and may help relieve constipation.”

Not to get too graphic with you…but most Americans are clinically constipated.  You want to be visiting the restroom 1-2 times per day.  If not, where is it all going?

The Mayo Clinic’s website says:

“Water is your body’s principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”

It is pretty tough to work out when you’re feeling drained and tired.

So, how much water should you consume?  This can depend on your activity level and if you live in a dry climate vs a humid one.  Personally, I consume a minimum of 8 glasses per day in the form of a 1/2 gallon water bottle and then any water I drink after, I consider it my ‘bonus’.  When I work out, I use a separate glass of water so that water isn’t counted as my 8 glasses.  I usually end up consuming 12-16 glasses of water per day.

Here is the bottle I use.  I stick out like a sore thumb carrying it to work with me or to a church meeting, but I am like a poster child for water drinking–everyone remembers to drink water when they see a chick with a massive water bottle walking around!






So, find a water bottle that works for you so you can track your water consumption.  If you’re not a big water drinker, try it again!  It can be mind over matter at first, but I promise it’s worth it.  You can try squeezing a lemon into it or something, but it’s high maintenance and you’re not as likely to continue doing that long-term.  If you’re a soda drinker, ditch one for a glass of water.  You’ll love the way you feel.

I found a cool ad campaigning for water drinking…thought they were pretty powerful.

by Heather Merchant

Fat that Increases Energy

When you eat essential fatty acids in the form of pure, unadulterated fats and oils, your energy levels and stamina increase. This is especially obvious to the overweight, the elderly and athletes.

One of Erasmus’ studies involved athletes who added 1 tablespoon per 50 lbs of body weight of essential fatty acids to their diet. It found that these athletes gained increased strength and endurance, could lift heavier weights, do more reps and recovered from fatigue faster. Some also reported weight loss with the increased fat intake! Those who consume fresh EFA’s find their energy levels pick up, they feel like being physically active and they stay alert later into the evening. When they stopped taking the EFA’s this increased stamina was back down to normal within two weeks.

I took EFA’s by the tablespoon in my green smoothie during my pregnancy with my twins to make sure I had enough for their developing brains.  Studies show that lack of EFA’s in the diet has been linked to postpartum depression because the mom gives her own to the developing baby.  I felt great and gained weight right on schedule.  I took Udo’s Oil because there is no fish oil in it and no fishy taste. Not particular on the brand, just that I get the right amount of healthy fats in my diet.  Udo’s oil is a blend of flax, sunflower, sesame, coconut, evening primrose oils, and a few others.

Don’t get stuck in the ‘avoiding fat’ trap.  Monitor your fat intake and look for healthy oils.  The key here is the right kind of fat.

by Heather Merchant

Eating well on a budget

It’s no secret.  Eating well can be expensive.  It seems odd that you can buy a product that required less ‘work’ for the manufacturer (less processing) and it is more expensive.  It’s a little frustrating, but it’s economics.  Good food usually doesn’t have a long shelf life.  When I was first married, my husband was shocked at the amount of money I would spend on food.  Over the last 4+ years we’ve been married, he has felt a difference in his energy level and how he has less sickness or aches and pains since he altered his diet a bit 4 years ago.  (Maybe I’ll ask him to do a post on his perspective sometime.)  I learned how to eat well on a budget and thought I’d share some tips.

1. Buy in season and store.
I love my green smoothie for breakfast, but it requires some frozen fruit. This can be expensive.  In the summer, I look for deals on fruits and then cut them in chunks, place them on a cookie sheet to freeze for a few hours, and then store them in Ziplock gallon freezer bags.  My husband and I found a massive deep freeze in our local classifieds and picked it up for free.  It is worth the room it takes up in our laundry room.  This summer I’ve snagged some red-tape bananas, peaches from a friend’s tree, pears brought in from an Oregon orchard by a friend, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and soon to be added to the list–blackberries.  It’s really cheap to do it this way, but you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled.

2. Buy in bulk.
This one is fairly obvious, but I had to include it or this list wouldn’t be complete.  I have a friend, Chirine, down the street who orders from different vendors and has people come from all over the state to pick up bulk grains, pastas, produce, nuts seeds, and lots more.  I just went by last week to pick up 10 lbs of golden raisins for my Super Charge Me Cookies.  If you’re close to Utah, her website is  She saves me tons of money.  If you don’t live close, you can consider starting a co-op of your own.  Chirine would be more than happy to offer suggestions I am sure.

3. Coupons!
This is a new adventure I’ve been trying and loving it.  I follow some local blogs and keep track of the deals for me so I don’t have to spend a lot of time.  I mostly print coupons online so I don’t have to be clipping from a newspaper. posts a ‘healthy food’ coupon list about once per month.  It’s the best.  I’ve also visited the websites for my favorite brands of food and subscribe to their email list.  They send coupons and special offers regularly.

4.  Ads.
Every week, I glance at the new ads when they arrive and save them on top of my fridge if I see something I want.  Then, before a shopping trip, I pull them down and see what I will buy.  My husband often stops by a store on his way home from work and I will go to another to get some great sale prices.  On the weeks where that just doesn’t happen – we go to Wal-Mart with the ads in tow and they honor the prices of any ad.  It makes for a fast trip.  I will admit, I felt sheepish at first (and a little cheap.) but I got over that really fast.  The clerks usually praise me on getting such a great deal and it’s kind of fun.

5. Make it yourself.
It’s easy to pick up a spouting mix or some baked goods, but it’s not the cheapest way of eating.  After finding a sprouting mix that I love (Pro-Vita Mix by Life Sprouts), I started making my own sprouts to save money.  When I looked into getting a large quantity to save money, I found that a 5-gallon bucket would cost over $100.  A good friend of mine gave me the recipe for the mix and I bought all the ingredients in 50# bags and made it myself.  My husband and I mixed it up and found we had 5 buckets of mix and spent less than $200.  We haven’t even used 1 bucket in the last year.  I should get sprouting again!  If you like to buy sprouts, I suggest buying a simple sprouter (or make one) and some seeds and start your own. It’s so easy.  If you want more information on sprouting, leave a comment.  If there is enough interest, I’ll put a post together on the topic.

How do you eat well on a budget?  Leave a comment for other readers

by Heather Marchant

Guest blogger

Why a Yoga Retreat?


“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” –Joseph Campbell

Retreat: A quiet or secluded place where you can rest and relax
Yoga Retreat: A quiet and secluded place where you can rest, relax, eat healthy, gain knowledge and DO YOGA.

Why attend a Yoga Retreat?
What benefits will I gain from a Yoga Retreat?
How is it different from a workshop or class?

A yoga retreat is a very special secluded corner of the world (like Zion’s National Park or Greece) where time slows down and new insights are gained. If you have never participated in a yoga retreat (or even if you have) or you find your practice is missing more spark, the adventure is not far away. This special type of getaway brings together positive like minded people and creates a canvas for awakening miracles. A yoga retreat has a profound effect on your whole being.
When you leave your daily routine and go to a retreat, you set the stage for :

  • Stress and pain relief
  • Deep Rest
  • Increased knowledge and understanding
  • Greater appreciation for all things
  • Diet improvement with delicious healthy food

Retreats provide a break from your normal routines and time to focus on releasing, discovering and applying new found tools. Retreats that are well constructed allow for personal attention given to your own areas of need. This personal attention leaves you with a tool box filled with options. There is nothing more inspiring then walking away from an experience with power in your pocket. The power gained assists you to return to your daily living with tools to get out of pain, regain strength, find deep rest and blow the doors off of your possibilities.
My first experience at a retreat, left me with more than I ever thought. I founded friendships that still exist today. I discovered that my ability to let go of built up stresses, as well as fixated ideas and beliefs grew. I felt so free and close to my potential that I almost didn’t want to leave. I had a desire to continue my efforts down this path of knowledge and understanding when I arrived back home. I truly appreciated my body and its wonders, my spirit and its capacities, and that was reflected out to everything I could see. Discover the bliss of a yoga retreat and let it lift you to a new level that you never thought possible.


Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for empowers you. ~Wayne Dyer

Do I have to be flexible to attend Yoga?
Isn’t Yoga hard to do?
What if I can’t touch my toes?

These are questions that you may have asked yourself somewhere along the line.
Even if you are only as flexible as a pencil – Yoga can help! You don’t need to achieve a certain level of fitness or flexibility before you can start your yoga practice. In fact to start your journey down the Yogic path, having those needs for fitness, flexibility, or calm are just the right recipe for seeing yoga do its magic!

Many poses can be modified or assisted with blocks, blankets, bent knees and straps until gradually deeper poses are achieved. It may seem like cheating at first, but it’s not. Pushing your body to its limits will only slow progress and may even cause injury.

In our technology rich world we are constantly sitting with little movement. This limited movement creates soft non-responsive muscles. Or you may be an avid gym goer/athlete that has muscles working in quick, consistent bursts of power leaving shortened muscles. Balance is needed to provide overall health of joints, ligaments and muscles alike. A little stretch before each workout can help, however, the time spent stretching vs. workouts is best on a 30-70 balance.

Now, yoga is not just stretching. Yoga puts together breath, strengthening, awareness, technique and off the mat application that cannot be paralleled by any other form of physical activity. YOGA offers it all!!!  You can achieve that 30-70 balance with yoga alone. It seems unreal, but yoga is the fountain of youth. Bring back the flexibility – energy and sharp mind of your youth with yoga.

Essential uses for Essential Oils

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. –A. A. Milne

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. Anyone who has ever enjoyed the smell of a fir tree, or brushed their hand over a bush of lavender has experienced essential oils in nature. Not only do these uniquely individual oils give plants their individual smell, they provide plants protection against predators and disease and play a role in plant pollination.

Essential oils have been used for ages in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Modern scientific study and trends towards more holistic approaches to wellness are driving a revival and new discovery of essential oil health applications. Many families and individuals are becoming quite skilled at using them in their homes, often times replacing over the counter medications for equally effective solutions but without the accompanying side effects.

In addition to this it is a wonderful thing to watch a figurative bridge being built between the eastern and western way of doing things. More and more we are seeing health care practitioners educating themselves and their patients on the various ways we can use essential oils to supplement and replace more modern recommendations. Essential Oils are being used effectively to treat a wide range of dis-eases, from Diabetes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS,) to Cancer. Excellent clinical research of essential oils in treating serious diseases is available at

For essential oils to have their maximum health properties it is vital that the oils are pure. The highest grade of essential oils is (CPTG) Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. Oils with this on the label have passed strict testing procedures and a myriad of tests that not only look to see that all of the compounds and constituents are there, but that there is nothing else; no fillers, no synthetic additives. doTERRA essential oils offer this promise.

There is much to learn when it comes to using essential oils. They can be used aromatically, topically and internally. The best way to start is by getting a book, or finding someone who is skilled to mentor you. Many people just start by getting a few at a time, others diving in with both feet. There are some basic guidelines for using essential oils but once a few basic things are learned to insure they are incorporated safely, it is a very rewarding journey.

Lavender is a great oil to ease into one’s life. One or two drops on a pillow of either a child or an adult at night give just enough Aromatherapy that the body can relax and sleep. It’s calming and gentle properties don’t take away its powerful antimicrobial attributes but make it the perfect answer dealing with a wound of any kind. It is especially effective on healing burns. This is a perfect oil to have with you in your purse or emergency pack. It is truly the Swiss Army Knife of essential oils.

Peppermint is another great beginner oil. Most everyone loves the cool refreshing smell. CPTG Peppermint is so pure that it can be added to coco, or brownies making it a fun addition in the kitchen. But with just a little swipe of it on the temples and back of the neck, it can also chase a headache away. It’s invigorating and there have been tests that have suggested that children that smelled peppermint before or during an exam actually scored higher on test scores.

Finally Lemon is a oil that is easy to integrate. Lemon is extremely good to clean with as it has a fresh clean scent and is also antimicrobial. Put it in a spray bottle with distilled water, or even vinegar or peroxide and wipe all of your surfaces squeaky clean. Not only is Lemon good for cleaning our outside surroundings, it’s great for cleaning us on the inside. Lemon essential oil is able to collect polyurethanes found in plastics and other toxins that we inadvertently take into our bodies. It is very helpful for those who struggle with reoccurring bladder infections. You can add It on a regular basis to water as a preventative measure.

These are just a tiny list of ways you can incorporate essential oils into your life. Begin today and you won’t be sorry!

To Abundant Heath!


Yoga in Prisons – Benefits Everyone

You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. –Albert Einstein

It seems that yoga is catching on and being offered everywhere – including in the work place, hospitals, schools and even prison’s.  Many are benefiting from what is an endless list of benefits with sometimes surprising results. Weight-loss and Flexibility are common results as well as a peaceful inner stillness, but shifting the behavior of criminals? That’s what these three prisons have found when they began the practice of yoga and meditation with their inmates. Quoted from

At first glance, a room filled with a group of people practicing meditation may not look unusual. But these men and women who are sitting calmly, trying to focus their minds, are a little different from most. They are prisoners in the central jail in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, serving sentences for committing violent crimes. Their objective? To reduce anxiety and make a new beginning. This is the first time prison officials in Bangladesh have introduced a meditation program for inmates.”

In an Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, some 4000 inmates have a chance to shorten there jail sentence by practicing yoga regularly. The state’s inspector general of prisons, Sanjay Mane, said: “Yoga is good for maintaining fitness, calming the behavior, controlling anger and reducing stress. Some even move on to teach yoga. A quote from inmate at Gwalior central jail, Narayan Sharma – who now has become an instructor – says it helps to banish the “angry thoughts” in his mind “It was these thoughts that made me commit crimes,” he said. “I hope that after we are released, we can use what we have learned and promote yoga in society so that people no longer commit crime.”

A little closer to home in the United States one other prison is seeing surprising results:

“San Quentin is one of the nation’s most notorious prisons. It is home to some of California’s most dangerous criminals – 80% of whom are going to get out one day. But it is also notorious for an unusual, and some say bizarre, inmate rehabilitation program.The Insight Prison Project teaches inmates how to control their anger by tapping into it — primarily through yoga techniques. 300 men a week take the classes. No tax money is used to fund this program. And it seems to be working. Since its inception 6 years ago, only one program graduate has returned to prison — a far cry from the 70% average return-to-prison rate for San Quentin inmates.” to view the news broadcast copy and paste this address in your browser window.

As yoga helps us and others throughout the world – the effect can only be a raised global consciousness. How easy it is to begin this change in even the most difficult places in our world. Now share yoga with everyone you meet and see the change in our own community. Come join us at LLYC!



I have recently come across a diet that has been such a helpful addition to my health practices that I can’t stop talking about it. It’s called “The Body Ecology Diet” by Donna Gates. She speaks of the necessity for the average American to improve there digestive eco-system.  One way to do this is by replacing any oil, butter or shortening with Ghee (clarified butter) or Coconut oil. One of the benefits of this is weight loss as well as maintaining that ideal weight. During the holidays we could all use a healthy substitute that doesn’t leave food tasting strange. NO, coconut oil does not leave your food with a coconut taste!

In an article by Sally Fallon Morell, MA, president of Weston A. Price Foundation, points out some great information about why coconut oil works for your health and weight goals. Here is what she says:

‘Tis the season when many folks are worried about gaining weight — so I’m taking the opportunity to tell you about one surprising — and greasy — food that actually can help you take off pounds and inches. This is the kind of claim I tend to be skeptical about, but when it comes to coconut oil, which is healthful for a host of other reasons as well, there’s solid research backing up the claim.

Several studies published in the show that this really works. One study measured fat burning and calorie expenditure in obese men who ate coconut oil — not only were both accelerated, but the coconut oil also resulted in diminished fat storage. Another study evaluated women who followed a diet for 27 days in which 30% of their daily total calories came from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), the kind found in coconut oil — it was found to boost fat burning and calorie expenditure.


These great results may seem counterintuitive, since we know that coconut oil is a saturated fat. But, as we’ve discussed previously in Daily Health News (see “Tropical Delicacy — The Magic of Coconut,” October 1, 2007, issue), coconut oil has MCTs, which are metabolized differently by the body than other saturated fats. According to Sally Fallon Morell, author of the book Nourishing Traditions and the president of The Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization that champions traditional full-fat, natural foods, the body uses MCTs quickly for energy rather than storing them as fat.

This weight-loss advantage makes sense given what scientists already knew about coconut oil and heart health in the real world: Natives of the Trobriand Islands in New Guinea, who consume about 80% of their daily calories from coconut and coconut oil, have virtually no ischemic heart disease or stroke. This population is also notable in its apparent lack of excess body fat.

Yet more benefits: Coconut oil also contains some other very healthy fatty acids, including lauric acid, which is known to be antimicrobial and protective against the bacterium H. Pylori. Coconut oil contains capric acid, too, which has strong anti-yeast properties. Like omega-3 oils, coconut oil reduces blood “stickiness” — a factor in heart disease. And the MCTs feed healthful bacteria in the large intestine and fight off harmful pathogens in the digestive tract.


More research is needed to learn how much coconut oil one might consume to promote weight loss, though Fallon Morell suggests that a tablespoon (you can cook with it, blend it in a smoothie, or use it on rice or pasta) with each meal would be a reasonable starting point.

Coconut oil is widely available, even in supermarkets. Good Earth is great resource for healthy alternatives. Don’t be put off by the fact that it is sold in solid form — the melting point is 76°F, so it literally melts in your mouth and stays liquid in your body. Avoid coconut oil that is labeled RBD (it stands for “refined, bleached, deodorized”), which means that it has been processed with chemicals. Choose instead products labeled “extra virgin coconut oil” or “organic coconut oil.” These versions are clean and, based on what all this research is showing us, might also help make you lean!


Coconut oil can be used in many ways. If you store it in the fridge it will become hard. Then you can break off the ideal amount, depending on your recipe, and put it in a pan to melt it down over the stove on low. Then you can use it in any recipe that calls for shortening like cookies or pie crust. Use it for stir-fry vegetables or meats. Even in smoothies or over rice like Sally mentioned above. Two favorite recipes I have for you are:


Cream together:

3/4 cup Coconut oil

1 egg

1 cup of Maple Syrup or substitute


2 1/2 cup flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Bake at 325 for 10-12 min. Top with icing or leave plain. Enjoy


Saute until translucent:

1 Tablespoon Coconut oil

1 yellow onion

1 clove of garlic


1 tsp dried basil

sprinkle of paprika

2 tsp herbamare

1 bunch of chopped Kale

1 chopped small Zucchini

Then add:

2 cups of quinoa

Boil cleaned and topless peppers in a pot. Then remove them to a casserole dish and fill with the mixture above. Bake in the oven at 350 for 25 min. Yummy!

I hope you will experiment with these and other ways to improve the quality of your life. Have a Healthy Christmas from us here at Lifted Life Yoga Center!

Article Source(s):

Sally Fallon Morell, MA, president, Weston A. Price Foundation (, Washington, DC, and author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (New Trends).

Gratitude Attitude

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”

Lionel Hampton

Humpback gives thanks after rescue

The Whale… If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

Life is good.

Compliments of Dr. Dean Allen