A Lesson (or 2) From the Buddha


One day Buddha was walking through a village.  A very angry and rude man came up to him.  “You have no right teaching others,” he shouted.  “You are as stupid as everyone else.  You are nothing but a fake.”

Buddha was not upset by these insults.  Instead he asked the young man this:

“Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”

The man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, “it would belong to me, because I bought the gift.”

The Buddha smiled and said “that is correct.  And it is exactly the same with your anger.  If you become angry with me and I don’t get insulted, then the anger falls back on you.  You are the only one who becomes unhappy, not me.  All you have done is hurt yourself.”

“If you want to stop hurting yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving, instead.  When you hate others, you yourself become unhappy.  But when you love others, EVERYONE is happy.”

The young man listened closely to these wise words of the Buddha.  “You are right, o Enlightened One,” he said.  “Please teach me the path of love.  I wish to become your follower.”

The Buddha answered kindly, “Of course.  I teach anyone who truly wants to learn.  Come with me.”

Thanks to Debbie (the yogi) for this message that has not one, but two great lessons on living life in a loving and compassionate way.  I hope that you enjoy a peaceful Sunday filled with both…

Exercise Your Brain

Good morning.  Happy Saturday.   I am taking a break from work/working out AND from too much thinking (at least until Monday).  I did wake up to the following, though, and thought you might enjoy doing the same.

Thanks to Dolores, from New York, (snowed in at the moment) for sending this “cute” brain test.   Give it a try….

This is more difficult than you might think!

Color Test.  These are the kind of things we are supposed to do to help remove the cholesterol around our brain and try to slow down Alzheimers’ Disease.  It took me some time before I could finally tell this brain of mine to concentrate.  A great test, do it until you get 100%.  Good luck getting 100% on your first try.  I am rooting for you.  See how you do.  It takes an average of 5 tries to get to 100%.  (I am pretty average, as it turns out).  Follow the directions.  It’s harder than it seems and a good brain “waker-upper”

Click here to start

Have a great day!

Mom is Always Right

“Eat your carrots–they are good for your eyes.”

Why it’s true:  Carrots help maintain healthy eyesight by protecting night vision and reducing the severity of age-related eye diseases.  This is because they are high in vitamin A.  Other vegetables high in this vitamin are broccoli, spinach and any of the deep greens.

Though I don’t eat meat, I admit it I never used to like my veggies.  The more I experiment with them, the more I have learned to LOVE them.  I enjoy them much more grilled or baked then steamed or raw.  Baking up an assortment of vegetables is one of my favorite ways to prepare them, now.  So is grilling them (simply, on trays) on the barbeque.  Keep trying them different ways and learn to love them, too, for they will love you right back!  Low in calories, high in anti-oxidants, vitamins and nutrients, it’s a love affair worth working on!

For those of you who have asked about SilverSneakers in Tamarac: please call Tamarac Fitness Center at 954-726-1070.  Ask for Ron (tell him Bonni told you to call) and tell him you are interested in finding out when the classes will be beginning.  (Should be very soon!)

In response to several emails …For those of you who have inquired about a good ab workout, I have 2 things to say.  1) Ab-ripper x (from the p90x video program)  16 minutes of all you need to sculpt your core.  2) GOOD ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN–watch your calories, your carbs, your fats and make sure you are getting enough protein.  You can crunch all day long, but if your body fat is too high, you will never SEE your 6-pack!

Last night was another lovely TGIT  feast night with the kids.  Tofu scrambles are ALWAYS a hit.  Pete, John and Cassie, you were missed!

Have a great Friday everyone.  I am off to an early  morning of work and will then be on a mini vacation until mid-day Monday.  Thanks for all the good wishes.  If you are local and looking for a little yoga this weekend, here is a fund-raiser I learned about in Oakland Park.

Sunday February 28th..  It doesn’t make any difference if you are a yoga enthusiast or just want to try yoga for the first time, there will be sample classes and a place for everyone. YOUR COST IS YOUR DONATION  and it is deductible.

All donations go to Food For the Poor Inc.

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010
Time:    2:30PM to 4:00 PM
Where: Broward Dance Academy
840 E. Oakland Park Blvd.
Oakland Park FL
(954) 537-3377

Tips to Re-energize

We work hard, we train hard, we get tired!   We need to give our bodies some downtime to rest and rejuvenate.  Remember that muscles build during the resting stage.  We train them hard and then we rest them and let them mend and grow.  Overuse and abuse can wreak havoc on your muscles as well as your body in general.  If you are working out daily and haven’t seen the results you are looking for over-training is one possibility.  (Also examine under-training as well as your nutrition!)

Once you have rested, you will want to get back to a serious work-out!  Here are some simple tips to help re-energize your body and mind.  Thanks to Janice Taylor, the author of the Our Lady of Weight Loss blog on Beliefnet, for some great suggestions.

BREATHE– Most people are shallow breathers which causes carbon dioxide to build up in your blood, making you sleepy and lethargic.  Taking in a few deep breaths (think about filling up your belly or expanding your rib cage in every direction) will move oxygen through your body (and into your brain) making you more alert and energized.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H — Get up.  Now.  Get on your tip-toes.  Raise your arms up and lift your fingertips to the sky and bend side to side, thinking about sliding your ribs along the ceiling.  Feel the pull in your arms, your trunk, your legs and more.  Simply stretching like this for a minute or two will activate and awaken almost every muscle in your body.

SIT AND STAND UP STRAIGHT — Slouching is an energy zapper!  It compresses your internal organs causing shallow breathing.  Computer geeks, beware!  Slouching can cause a 30% decrease in blood and oxygen to your brain!!!!  Tips #1 and #2 will help combat this dilemma.

GET YOUR PROPER FAT INTAKE — Approximately 50-60% of your brain is pure fat.  Sorry, it’s just the way it is.  This fat has the really important job of insulating billions of important nerve cells.  The better the insulation, the better job the brain can do.  Eat a mix of healthy fats from foods like wild salmon, anchovies, dark leafy greens and my favorite, avocados.  Hmmm…makes me think of the blue zones.

TAKE A HIKE — Sometimes we feel too tired to take a walk, when in fact, it’s just what our body and mind needs to get some energy.  Fresh air and movement are the perfect combo to get your heart pumping blood and oxygen pumping to refresh those tired cells.

GET SOME RAYS — Studies continue to prove that 20 minutes of sunlight can boost your energy level (as well as provide essential vitamin D).  If it’s too cold outside, sit by a window and soak in the light.  You’ll not only get energized but your mood will be greatly boosted.

RUB YOUR EARS — Sounds funny, right?  Stimulating pressure points in your ears can help improve circulation and energize your entire body.  Vigorously rub your ears for about a minute and feel the energy flow!

Also keep in mind that RED is the most energizing color.  Try wearing something red.  Smile hard and often.  Laugh.  Socialize.  Sniff essential peppermint oil and….

here it is AGAIN…DRINK ENOUGH WATER!  Our bodies are 70% water.  If you are not drinking enough, you aren’t circulating enough and your energy will quickly spiral down.

Have a wonderfully energized Thursday.  Thanks for checking in.

*Tamarac Fitness Students remember that I will NOT be teaching this Saturday morning, or Monday the 1st of March.  All other classes/clients remain as usual.

Everyone be an ARIES Today

Aries horoscope for today, Wednesday February 24, 2010:  If you wake up sad or gloomy, take time to exercise and fix a good breakfast.

I think that should be everyone’s horoscope for the day, even if they aren’t an Aries and even if they are sad or gloomy.  We know that a good breakfast and some exercise are the prescription for a good day!  For the sad and gloomy, exercise is even more important.  There is no doubt when we are not feeling up to it, it’s a hard push, but once those endorphins start kicking in, there’s no turning back.  I have had the luxury of HAVING to workout almost every day of my adult life.  I can remember times in my life that I was so blue walking into the gym, but would “fly” back down the stairs reporting that “exercise really DOES work,” for my mood would do a complete turnaround after an hour of sweating, jumping and lifting.

Makes me wonder if doctors are doing enough for patients who come to them with symptoms of depression.  A good physician should be addressing and prescribing good nutrition and physical activity for EVERYONE.  When the Surgeon General headed his warning some 20 years ago, I listened and applauded.  I have it printed on the back of my business card, because really it’s more important info than what’s on the front of the card.  It says, so simply:


Maybe it should be blown up and placed in doctor’s waiting rooms everywhere.  For this morning, the best I can do is post it here.

Regardless of what sign you were born under I hope you will accept the advice given to Aries, this morning…and tomorrow morning…and most every morning!  For whatever it’s worth, I can’t remember the last time I was really sick or really sad.  Exercise IS the best medicine!

*For those of you feeling lightheaded and fatigued (as I noticed in the comments from Rita and Carol), double up your water intake.  Listen to your body…if you need to slow down for a few days, DO IT!  I truly believe sometimes the world spins so fast, it makes our own head’s spin.  I had a pretty serious case of vertigo back in the late summer of 2001, with a headache so bad it landed me in the hospital for tests, where everything came back negative.  Looking back, I am sure my head was spinning with the energy that was about to be unleashed on Sept. 11…but that’s a topic for another blog.  I am not suggesting anything bad is going to happen every time our head spins, just that we might want to be open to the possibility that both good and bad energy can be absorbed.  Extra hydration, good nutrition. quiet meditation and listening to our bodies, can never hurt!

Cell Phone Safety

I am having a love-hate relationship with my cell phone.  Somehow, I don’t think I am alone.  While there is no question that cell phones are literally life-savers, they are also  murderers  and that scares me, terribly.

Why does progress have to take us so many steps backwards?  I have an iPhone and I love the convenience it affords me.  Though I am sure I will never use most of the apps, I do enjoy being able to get my emails while away from home.  What I don’t enjoy is the way our society now demands INSTANT response from everyone.  I often think back to just over 10 years ago when I could escape to the park and run miles without any connection to the outside world.  Now, if I choose to leave my phone behind, I feel uncomfortable.  What if someone NEEDS to reach me?  Or what if I NEED to reach someone?  Won’t I feel silly without my phone?  And of course, the phone is also an iPod so why would I go running without it?  But then how do I just listen to the music and ignore the incoming phone call??  It’s a dilemma.

Then, just this morning, I got an interesting article about the possible dangers to our health from using cell phones.  Since they have only been really popular for about a decade, and it can take at least that long for cancers to show up, we really, really don’t know.  Studies clearly contradict one another and the experts continue to argue the possibilities.  The article does suggest that we use the speaker, a wire or a bluetooth device.  Because I am hearing impaired in one ear, I can’t seem to get comfortable with the bluetooth and though it is minimal, there is still some radiation emitted from those.  Additionally, many people keep the ear piece in for hours on end, which can’t be good either (and looks really silly, in my opinion).

And anyone that watches Oprah this season knows she is on a mission to stop “distracted driving.”  I have watched the heart-wrenching, videos of people that have been killed as a result of a distracted driver.  Children riding bicycles just feet from their front doors, run over and killed by someone texting.  How can anyone watch those clips and still choose to be distracted?  The gorgeous Nate Berkus, who took the pledge to NOT talk or text while driving made a really impactful observation and statement.  He said he had to revamp his daily schedule as he used to say to people “let me call you when I get in my car so I won’t have any distractions.”  THINK ABOUT THAT STATEMENT!  I know I have been and continue to.

For me to feel fit and be at peace, I have to be comfortable with my body,  my mind and my soul.   All three  are struggling with where the technology revolution has brought us.  Though I have not been able to commit to NEVER talking on the phone while driving, I am glad that the iPhone actually makes it too difficult to text.  Since pondering the pledge, I have cut back my phone minutes A LOT!  The way I see it, what’s good for the health and well-being of those around me, is equally as good for my own health and well-being.

Thanks for letting me think out loud this morning and stretch a bit beyond the obvious peace and fitness topics.  I hope that you will give some thought to this issue and perhaps make some adjustments to your own cell phone habits.   In my humble opinion, both the short and long term effects of cutting back, can only be positive and just might save a life.

A Prescription for Good Health

So by now you probably know I am not a big fan of going to doctors or taking medications…I AM a big fan of being proactive in maintaining good health/wellness.  For me, the foods I consume and the exercises I do, are all part of a prescription for wellness.  When I read that an apple a day can ward off Alzheimer’s, I make a point of trying to eat that apple.   This morning I read they are also great for preventing colon cancer as the flavonoids they contain, help fight off pre-cancerous cells, keep them from dividing and even encouraging them to die off.  I put apples on my list of foods that I can feel really good about eating.  Most all fruits and veggies are on that list.  Bananas are a great provider of potassium, which will not only keep muscle cramps under control, but will also help lower blood pressure.  So will watermelon, prunes, mushrooms and and tomatoes.  Lowering your blood pressure just a few points will help decrease your risk for a stroke so every point you can drop, really matters!

And if you are tired, or grumpy,  or depressed, you may want to drink more water!  A recent study shows that being just a little dehydrated can send your mood quickly spiraling downward.  In fact, when water was withheld from a group of college students who were exercising, they reported not just more thirst, but more fatigue, anger, depression and confusion than the group of well hydrated exercisers.  Recently, a client of mine, suffering from some of these very symptoms visited her cardiologist to rule out any heart conditions.  Thankfully, all the cardiac tests came back negative and he told her she had a classic case of dehydration.  Practically free, no calories, extremely available and thirst quenching to boot, still way too many people aren’t drinking enough of it.  Go figure!

This being primarily a fitness blog, I would like to offer an exercise prescription for headache sufferers.   Next time a headache sets in, try some relaxing yoga postures.  A study published in Headache Journal revealed that after 3 months of adding yoga to their routine, sufferers reported a drop in stress, pain, and the need for medication.  Just picking a few postures and adding in some efficient breathing can also reduce blood pressure.  Visualize breathing in positive and healing energy, and on the exhale imagine ridding the body and mind of pain and stress.

Always remember that the opposite of illness is wellness.  Keeping our bodies and minds in a state of wellness is the best prescription I can think of to keep ourselves from getting sick!  It’s your body and your choice.  I hope, today, you will lean even further into choosing wellness.  Now go fill a jug with water and take it with you as you go about your day.  Drink, refill, repeat.  Incorporate more fruits and veggies in your day and don’t forget to just say “OM.”

See you tomorrow.  Looks like another week without Biggest Loser 🙁

Remember I will not be at Tamarac Fitness Center this Saturday the 27th or Monday, March 1.  This will NOT effect my SilverSneakers schedule or my client schedule.

Un-break the Children’s Hearts or Thank You, Michelle!

I sat and watched a good part of First Lady, Michelle Obama, speak about her biggest campaign, to date, and I cried.  “Let’s move,” launched this past Tuesday and is aimed at conquering childhood obesity, in one generation!  This means that children born today, could reach adulthood at a healthy weight.  Currently, one in three United States children are considered obese or overweight.  This sadly makes our country the leader in the developed world, in regard to this problem.  The negative impact this has on our children’s health and self-esteem borders criminal.

From huge media companies such as Walt Disney and NBC, to major food suppliers such as Kraft and Sara Lee, many are anxious to get on board and help with this new  White House initiative.  Cutting down on sugar, salt and fat while increasing whole grains and produce, has been promised by those that supply foods to school cafeterias and professional athletes have stepped up to urge children to put down the video games and get some physical recreation.

White House First Ladies always have a mission.  This one speaks to me personally and professionally, hence the tears.  Thank you, Michelle, for caring about OUR children.  I am not yet sure what I can do to be a part of this movement, but my wheels are spinning.

For today I will offer this suggestion on a book I just saw written up in one of my trade magazines.  Since books make great gifts for children, why not consider this one  or one like it, when next bringing or sending a gift to a young child.  This particular book is called The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Theresa Anne Poser.  It teaches them the alphabet while going through a set of poses from airplane, to dog.  Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz, it gives lyrical explanations of all the poses.  I have often given another children’s yoga book called Barbar’s Yoga for Elephants. It’s definitely for an older child, or even an adult!  Maybe we all need to think more about giving gifts that encourage movement…from chalk for hopscotch, to jump-ropes, skates and bicycles there really are unlimited options!

There are endless ways to get children moving more.  We just need to make it a priority.  As with all things, children tend to learn from what they see, not from what they are told, so get moving!

“Be the change you want to see in the world”  Mahatma Gandhi

Mom is Always Right

From my desktop “MOM” calendar…

“Eat breakfast before you leave the house!”

WHY THIS IS TRUE: Breakfast is a critical time to take in important nutrients such as fiber, calcium, protein and fruit.  Again and again, studies show that people who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to become obese and develop heart disease–and die younger!

An apple a day keep the doctor away”

WHY THIS IS TRUE: Fresh fruits and veggies contain antioxidants that can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as other illnesses.  Apples contain high levels of phenolics which are especially potent antioxidants.  Bananas, oranges and mangos will also help keep you out of the doctor’s office.  One study done at Cornell University suggests that apples in particular may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Thanks Kyle and Nicole for the calendar.  It’s not only filled with a year’s worth of love, but helps remind me of the important things I used to tell my kids…and the important things my mom told me.    My mom taught me many wonderful things, but by example, she also taught me all about Alzheimer’s.  Mom is always right so now I am off to have a hearty breakfast and though apples are not my favorite fruit, I’ll have one of those, today, too!

Then it’s off to Tamarac Fitness Center for a little of this and a little of that!  Thanks to my wonderful Saturday morning students who fill the room with great energy.  It’s like I leave one family to go to my other.


***NOTE TO MY STUDENTS — I will not be having class next Saturday the 27th at 9:30 or Monday the 1st of March at 8:30 in order that I may spend quality time with my first and longest friend Carole, who will be coming in from California for the weekend.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

la-lalala-la-la-la-la-la………la-la-la-la-la-la-lala…don’t worry, be happy…

Are you singing?  Are you smiling?  Are you HAPPY?

Nothing new, but yesterday’s Sun-Sentinel ran a page 2 article reported by Maria Cheng of the Associated Press about the connection between healthy hearts and happiness.  We all know we that by not smoking, eating right and exercising, we can help avoid a heart attack, but maybe we are over-looking the importance that happiness plays in the healthy heart equation.  Even just trying to be cheerful, might make a difference for those natural born grumps!

A study done at Columbia University rated the happiness of 1,700 Canadian adults with no heart problems.  This began in 1995 and after a decade they examined the hearts of 145 people who developed heart problems.  What they found was the happier people were, the less likely to have any heart problems. Using a five-point scale to measure people’s happiness, they found that for every point on the scale, people were 22 percent less likely to have a problem with their ticker.

Though there were many obvious reasons, what interested me was the actual science of what goes on inside our bodies when we are sad and stressed.  Stress releases hormones that can damage heart muscle.  It also causes blood vessels to open too wide, allowing plaque buildups to break off and clog the arteries. This info, from Joep Perk, a professor of health science and spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology offers a concrete reason for practicing stress reduction.  As we ALL have stress, so we all  must have healthy tools to manage it and put ourselves in a happier state of being.

It’s Friday.  Don’t worry.  Be happy.  It’s not a really a choice…your life depends upon it!