Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Today fall madly in love with a very special person: You!

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

5No one can love, appreciate, value, approve, and admire you like you can. When you feel strongly and passionately positive about yourself, the Universe says, Oh, you feel worthy and deserving of the good things in life! In that case, here come health, wealth, prosperity, happiness, and promotion.

Practice these thoughts of self-love, or self-celebration. Look at pictures of yourself or into the mirror when you do this. Hardly anything can feel better.\Regardless of what is in your life now, you are worthy of a life of prosperity. It starts with passionate self-celebration.

Thoughts Make You Wealthy. Wealth and success start with what you choose to think and talk about most of the day.
~Richard Levy

How to Eat Real Food Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

bfsAre you eating real, whole food as much as you’d like?
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, went from being an overweight junk food eater to a lean, plant-food-loving machine. One key element of optimal health is to eat real, whole food as much as possible, preferably prepared at home. The good news is, it doesn’t need to take as much time as you’d think.
Here are 7 tips for eating real food without spending hours in the kitchen.
When learning how to meditate, one of the biggest lessons is to set small, achievable goals. Make it as easy as possible for you to take the first step. The same applies to cooking. Start with one night a week and build from there. Starting small assures you will less likely end up with a fridge full of vegetables, you will feel guilty about when they go bad and you throw them out.
Start with a small collection of easy recipes that focus on quick cooking techniques. Avoid recipes that have an ingredient list as long as your arm, or instruct you to simmer for 30 minutes. It is best to save those for weekend cooking when you have more time. Look for simple stir fry’s, hearty salads or one pot meals.
Avoid getting stuck in food ruts by simply swapping different ingredients into your favorite meals. For example, if you normally make a stir fry with tofu and kale, try it with bok choy or broccoli. Same goes for flavorings. If you normally use garlic, try ginger or a new spice.
If possible, avoid peeling vegetables. It takes time and you often lose the nutrients close to the skin. Instead rinse or scrub and move on to the next step. For example, try leaving the skin on carrots or sweet potatoes. If using butternut squash or beets, try roasting with the skins on. It’s easy to slip the cooked skins off but try them with the skin on because they are often delicious.
Try to include some raw vegetables in your diet every day. Not only is this beneficial for getting extra enzymes and heat-sensitive vitamins, it’s also much quicker than cooking. For example, it takes a fraction of the time to finely slice a bunch of broccoli and toss in a dressing than it takes to steam it [recipe below]. Consider finely slicing or grating a vegetable and serving it raw. Try serving shaved raw broccoli or grated cauliflower in place of steamed rice with curries or in stir fry’s. Tyr shaved fennel or cabbage in salads and finely sliced kale or raw bok choy – which has a surprisingly crunchy texture.
If you feel overwhelmed or short on time, consider using packages prepared vegetables when it makes sense for you. Yes, they may cost more, but it might be the “right” thing to splurge on. Pre-washed salad leaves and vegetables are available in a variety of styles. Be creative and try to alternate flavor profiles of your meals. Pick up a flavor highlight or sauce. Consider premade hummus, pesto, salsa, soy sauce, curry pastes or olive tapenade.
Many nutritional studies indicate freezing may be the next best way to preserving vegetables without losing much of the nutrition. Frozen vegetables picked at their peak, will often have more nutrients than older, fresh vegetables that are past their prime. They also save you loads of prep time. Compare sitting down to shell a giant bowl of peas with the time it takes to open the packet and pour them into a pot. Frozen peas, spinach, collard greens, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, are great for a quick stir fry.
Raw Broccoli & Feta Salad
Raw broccoli salads are popular and delicious. Try eating raw broccoli once a week to start. If you do prefer cooked broccoli, this salad is just as delicious with steamed broccoli.
1 tablespoon seeded mustard, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 head broccoli, 3 1/2 oz. feta, handful pine nuts (walnuts or pecans work well too).
Combine mustard, vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium bowl. Season to your taste.
Finely slice the broccoli stems and chop the floret’s into tiny bite sized trees. Toss in the dressing.
Crumble feta and sprinkle over the salad with the pine nuts.
Variations: vegan / dairy-free – replace the feta with an avocado, flesh scooped into chunks.
Nut-free – replace the pine nuts with sesame seeds or finely diced red bell pepper or red onion. Sun dried tomatoes work well too.
Herbs – serve sprinkled with fresh herbs such as coriander, cilantro, parsley, mint or basil.
More substantial – increase the amount of feta or toss in a drained can of chickpeas or white beans.

~By Leo Babauta and Jules Clancy

Keeping your online passwords safe, tips from, a leading online retailer of zen-inspired living.

Friday, May 31st, 2013


With increasing online security breaches, hacking and an increasing rise in identity theft, password management has never been more important. Strong passwords ensure your information is kept private.

Here are 6 tips to keep your online passwords secure:

1. Include a combination of upper and lowercase alphabetic characters, symbols, and numbers.
2. Make sure the password is at least six characters (the longer, the better).
3. Never use all or part of your name in your password.
4. Avoid using passwords with all-numbers or repeating a single letter.
5. Change your passwords every 60 days or sooner.
6. Avoid reusing or recycling passwords.

“Great Balls of Fire” – Astrology Soul Coach – June 2013

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Astrology Soul Coach
Cosmic Dance for June 2013
Do you hear the unmistakable beat of Jerry Lee Lewis singing “Great Balls of Fire?” No? Then it’s time to adjust your cosmic headset. Jupiter, the big daddy of them all – the largest planet in our known solar system – is making a move this month. Jupiter only changes signs once a year so when it happens, we astrologers sit up and take notice.

Astrologically Jupiter represents our ability to expand our horizons and is associated with our desire to find truth, honesty, integrity and meaning in our lives. We associate Jupiter with benefit and good luck. Jupiter is a bridge between where we are now and where we hope to be in the future. So where are you expanding your life and looking for improvement?

On June 25th Jupiter will leave Gemini and head for the comforting and nurturing arms of Cancer the Crab. Cancer is the sign of family, home, safety and security. Cancer is protective, tenacious, sensitive, emotional, maternal, domestic and retentive (they remember and honor their ancestors and the past). When Jupiter is in Cancer we thrive when we honor this energy of home and family. Some will start college funds for their children, others will gather the family pictures and preserve them in scrapbooks or through digital scanning; some will buy and sell homes; family rituals and traditions will be started and maintained. Many of us will demonstrate the classical ‘nesting instinct’ by renovating, and re-decorating our homes.

However the spirit moves you, remember, the basic instinct is the desire for both self-preservation and to connect in meaningful ways with other people. On a spiritual level we are one. Focus on ways to extend your definition of ‘family’. Examine your motivation – do you intend to exclude or include?

And when you are not busy thinking about your life philosophy, honor Jupiter in Cancer with some new and fresh additions to your home, big or little. A wind-chime in the yard invites relaxation and joy, or maybe a new over-stuffed love seat to cuddle with family. Whatever you do, Jupiter invites you to ‘make yourself at home.’

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach
You can find her at and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for May 2013

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

trends in yogaAstrology Soul Coach
Cosmic Dance for May 2013

We start the month with 4 planets and the South Node of the Moon all in the solid, persevering and artistic sign of Taurus. But before you grab the snacks and hunker down in that comfortable easy chair, keep reading. May is not nearly as mellow and uneventful as we might expect.

For one thing, Saturn the disciplinarian is in Scorpio exactly 180 degrees across the zodiac from Taurus. While those planets in peace-loving Taurus might prefer to take a nap following a gourmet lunch, Saturn has others plans. He’s acting more like the principal calling them into his office, one by one, for a review and accounting of their actions and future plans. May is not a month for sloppiness or poor planning. If you want to get ahead, do your homework and research your options. Accuracy and attention to detail counts! Even in the face of what may feel like formidable opposition, have faith and be willing to adjust and refine your plans.

Also keeping us on our toes during May are two eclipses. The first is a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Taurus on the 9th, followed by a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on the 24th. Both are likely to drop new information, insights or people into our lives. Pay attention, not only on these dates, but during these weeks. Eclipses often bring things to our attention – something that may have been lurking in the recesses of the unconscious or maybe something surprisingly new.

A third thing to pay attention to is a powerful connection between Uranus the awakener and Pluto the transformer on the 20th. This uncomfortable alliance can be swift and even a bit shocking. Even though it’s overall affect can be unsettling, this very sense of discontent can motivate us to make changes we have been avoiding yet know are in our best interest.

During May, we will have the desire, motivation and energy to build for the future. And thanks to the eclipses, discipline of Saturn, and the Uranus Pluto Square we will also have the opportunity to clear the clutter and build on clean and certain foundations. Get to it!

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach
You can find her at and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.

Try Desk Yoga to Improve Your Posture

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Most of us spend a lot of time at our desks, both at home and work. Sitting for prolonged periods of time cause our spines to slouch into a C-shape producing poor posture and resulting in back, neck and shoulder pain. A healthy spine has a slight S-shape and our bodies were built to be in motion more than sit in a chair. Our bodies are designed for motion rather than remain sedentary. In addition, improper ergonomics also compound the problem. Leaning too far forward to look at a computer monitor or having your chair above or below the desktop or slouching can cause neck and back aches, stiffness and cartilage compression. Your muscles are constantly working to maintain your spine in alignment. When you are able to stretch your muscles, the tension is released from the spine and is also very energizing.

Maintaining good posture allows you to take fuller breaths as the muscles around the lungs are stretched. This boosts productivity and improves both concentration and focus. For those of us who can’t get to a yoga studio, there are some simple yet effective exercises that can be done when you can’t leave your desk.

1. Seated Spinal Twist.
This pose is helpful in releasing back tension that collects when you’re holding a seated position for several hours. Place your feet on the floor and elongate your spine aligning the crown of your head with your tailbone. Next, cross your right leg over your left while you exhale, twist from the lower belly towards the top leg, allowing the upper body to follow. Hold the pose on each side for 30 seconds to one minute.

2. Forward Bend. Sitting towards the front edge of your chair, place your feet slightly wider than your hips so your shoulders can fit between your knees. For those with less flexibility or a sensitive lower back, lean forward, resting your forearms on your knees and elongate the spine into a half-forward bend. If you can go further, drop your shoulders between your knees, so your head hangs toward the floor. Forward bending brings fresh oxygen to the brain and puts some needed space in the rear section of the spinal disks.

3. Hands Alive. This pose is a variation on the upward facing salute. It stretches your shoulders and armpits, helps relieve mild anxiety and improves circulation in the back and arms. Sit tall, pushing your pelvic bones into the chair. Imagine a string is attached to the top of your head that gently lifts the crown up, putting space between your vertebrate. Inhale and raise your arms towards the ceiling with your palms facing each other. Make sure to relax your shoulders away from your ears. Spread your fingers wide and then close them into fists six times. Keep your spine long and make sure your rib cage isn’t jutting out. Exhale and bring your hands down.

4. “I dream of Genie.” Sit straight in your chair and fold your arms at shoulder height like a genie, keeping your torso stable. Swing your arms from one side to the other in that position, keeping your ribcage and spine stable. Everyone has tight thoracic spinal muscles, rhomboids and para-spinals that run along the spine between the shoulder blades. This pose breaks up tension in these muscles.

~ courtesy of Touchstone Business Advisors, Golden Colorado.

You may also be interested in the following yoga books we offer:


Inside Out

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

We often hear the term “change your life from the inside out”. Best-selling author Tess Whitehurst, advocate for self-love, self-expression and personal freedom believes your home can also be a catalyst for personal transformation and manifestation from the “inside out”.

Tess Whitehurst is an intuitive counselor, feng shui consultant and energy worker. She resides in Los Angeles and has appeared on the Bravo TV show Flipping Out. Ms. Whitehurst is the author of the mega-popular guide Magical Housekeeping, Simple Charms & Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home.

Her book describes how to let your home nourish your soul and uplift your spirit. Adding botanicals into your cleaning supplies can call fairies into your garden then ask a spider for advice. Clear clutter for clarity, perform an oatmeal cookie ritual for abundance, or make a sweet dreams charm for a good night’s sleep.

In this intuitive book, Tess Whitehurst reveals how your home can be a powerful catalyst for personal transformation. She offers a variety of simple, whimsical ways to create harmony in your home while enhancing your own happiness, intuition and magical power.

The author experienced a cleansing in her own life by clearing clutter, addressing aspects of her home to determine what caused tension, what made her feel good and what would embody her soul. It was then that clarity came through and her brainstorming brought success in her own life and home. She shares her secrets with you in this well written, insightful book.

From clearing clutter, simple cleaning, embracing essential oils in to your home, discussing her three secret empowerments, using gemstones, revealing plant and animal allies, using aromas of power to accepting blessings and protections in rituals and daily living, your home can bring you the changes you seek from the inside out.

Chopa Zen Home & Gift is proud to offer this book. The retail price is $16.95 and we are offering this book to our loyal E-Newsletter subscribers for just $10.00 during October. It is our gift to you to start your new beginning and transform from the inside out! Enter Coupon code Tess10 at check out and the discounted price will be reflected in your shopping cart.

To learn more about Tess Whitehurst, her workshops, writings and appearances, visit her at

Zen Habits – Tea Rituals for Focus, Health & Slowness

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Tea can be a form of meditation, an alternative way to stay present in the moment and practice mindfulness. It’s also a path to slowness and a much too rare opportunity to savor life.
Tea also offers a path to focus. Just the act of pausing to brew a pot of tea can be the perfect time to let go of that frustrating project and regain clarity and focus.

The Focus Ritual

Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits finds that brewing tea before getting started on an important project serves as a focusing ritual. It serves as a signal to stop with all the distractions and prepare what you need to sit down and focus on the project at hand.

Be present in the preparation of the tea, heating the water, preparing the tea, and selecting the teapot or teacup. Clear away anything that isn’t necessary to accomplish your project to eliminate any distractions. Sip the tea, enjoy its taste, take a deep breath and begin your project. Each time you sip your tea, repeat the steps, maintaining your focus on the present moment.

The Slowness Ritual

Most of us are used to rushing through a day trying to get an unwieldy list of things done. Tea can be a perfect opportunity to help you slow down, and return to the natural rhythm of life.

Find a time each day when you can pause and make a cup of tea. As the water is heating, take a moment to enjoy the sight of the tea leaves and inhale the aromatic fragrance of the tea. As the tea is steeping, focus on your breathing, much like a short meditation and part of the ritual of slowness. As you pour the tea into a cup, savor the color, the texture and the aroma.

As you take your first sip, the world in all its rush and responsibilities fades into the background and the taste of the tea with its comforting sensations take precedence. The moment is entirely encompassed in the cup of tea, enjoying the stillness.

The Health Ritual

Tea is a signal for slowness and focus that is perfect in the middle of the day. It’s also a way to satisfy little hunger cravings that trigger unhealthy snacking. Try new blends to keep the practice from becoming too familiar where you can’t savor the art of focus and slowness. While enjoying your next cup of tea, take yourself to the place where the inviting flavors began their journey in the earth, thousands of miles away, in a country that has been doing this for a century or two and just enjoy the moment.

Finding Your Chi – Part 3

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

This month, in the final segment of Finding Your Chi, we explore how to incorporate Chi into your daily routine to create more harmony and balance in your life.

Last month we learned how to find and develop your Chi through meditation, focus and exercise. At the heart of bringing Chi into our home and daily life is finding the balance of Chi within us. When our Chi is balanced, the Yin and Yang inside us is also balanced.

A well known method of incorporating Chi into our lives is through the art of Feng Shui. This ancient Chinese practice believes that Chi is not only the energy within us, but also includes the energy of all things around us including their size, shape and color. Feng Shui attracts and supports the natural flow of Chi inside your home which in turn, supports the positive flow of Chi within you. Energizing Chi is known as Sheng Chi and dulling or destructive Chi energy is called Sha Chi.

Start with assessing the flow of Chi in your home, especially in rooms where you spend the most time. Chi energy has a natural rhythm and fluidity. By visualizing Chi as a gently flowing stream, you can see if the flow can enter and move smoothly throughout the entire space or if there are areas where pooling may be causing blockages.

Once you assess the flow, clear the cluttered spaces, including closets. The flow of energy within your home reflects the flow of Chi in your body, which ultimately impacts the quality of your life. The deeper essence of Chi is the connection of our Chi to our intuitive selves. We have all experienced that “gut feeling” about the placement of a piece of furniture or art that just doesn’t feel right. Ever walked into someone’s home and felt restless or a sense of unease? Feel fatigued working in your office after just a few hours? This is your Chi telling you the energy is not flowing well or blocked. Become aware of your surroundings and how the space is functioning. Is their clutter on the desk or floor? How is the lighting? Is the furniture blocking windows or doorways? Is the energy able to flow easily throughout your space? If not, what can be moved or eliminated to create a seamless flow of energy?

Maintaining the flow of Chi energy in your physical space is only part of the equation. Developing and maintaining your inner Chi through lifestyle habits is the other. Our attitudes, emotions and sense of well-being are all influenced by our Chi. Balancing diet, rest and exercise is essential to balancing the flow and reserves within us. We aren’t aware of our energy flow most of the time, but think back to an occasion when you were excited about starting a project. Your Chi was flowing freely. Recall a time when you were feeling angry or sad, your Chi was probably low or blocked. When worry and stress take over, the body’s natural response is to protect itself by tensing the back, shoulder and neck muscles, restricting the flow of Chi. Your body needs to be in a relaxed state for Chi to flow freely.

Becoming mindful of how our bodies are feeling and reacting to situations and surroundings is key to maintaining the flow of your Chi. There are many simple breathing, relaxation and visualization techniques available to improve your Chi energy and enhance your quality of life. Experiment with one or two exercises that feel comfortable to you and set small reasonable goals to achieve them. Becoming aware of the triggers that create tension is a conscious activity that will take time and practice to master. Eventually it will become easier, almost to the point of doing it automatically. You will notice and feel the benefits and the improved sense of well being you have attained. The more life energy you receive the more active, focused and uplifted you will become.

More than Just a Feeling – Why Massage Therapy Is So Good For You

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

massage therapyBy now you’ve heard the ad campaigns, extolling the benefits of regular massage treatments.  Retail massage shops Massage Envy talk about the detoxifying effects of shiatsu and deep tissue massage and why you should schedule a few sessions a month to stay in good shape.  But don’t discount these claims as mere advertising copy; massage is more than just a way to relax.  Once people discover the health benefits of regular massage, their next question is usually, “how often?”

How often should you get a massage?

When one finds an elixir for high blood pressure that reduces stress and boosts the immune system, it’s hard to limit sessions to once per month. Not only will that, but the detoxifying effects of massage are more impactful with weekly sessions.  Because of this, outlets like Massage Envy Spa have instituted annual memberships that give clients an hour-long massage each month for only $59, plus additional hour-long sessions for only $39 each.  Larger corporations are catching on to this trend too, by bringing in massage therapists to help employees maintain wellness during the workday.  If pure relaxation is your only motivation for massage, then it might be more convenient to schedule a 90 minute massage once each month.