Archives for posts with tag: organic

With the election just around the corner, I thought it very important to address one bill on the California ballot – Proposition 37 – the bill that will determine whether or not genetically modified foods must be labeled as such.

If you are unfamiliar with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), I wrote a post about what they are and why they can be harmful to us back in 2011. To summarize very simply, genetically modifying food began when farmers were trying to find a way to keep insects from spreading disease across their crops.  As insects were increasingly able to tolerate the pesticides that were intended to keep them away, farmers decided to start genetically modifying food. These farmers also realized that by genetically modifying crops, they could grow things more quickly.

Before even addressing Prop 37, it is worth noting that there are two issues at play – one being that our food is sprayed with poison (which is now fairly common knowledge) and two, that our already sprayed food is also being genetically tampered with, taking it even further from its natural state. Prop 37 will not put an end to GMOs but it will at least give us our most basic right to know what is being done to our food by requiring companies to label whether or not there are genetically modified ingredients.

Do you know which foods you eat contain GMOs? Did you know canola and soybean oil are typically genetically modified? When was the last time you looked at a food label of something that comes in a box or a bag? There is a very good chance one or both of these genetically modified oils are in there. How about corn or corn oil? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Take a look at who is campaigning against Prop 37– the big corporations that produce gmos. Below is a pie chart that shows who is funding each campaign.  (For a better view of the charts click here). The number one financial contributor against Prop 37 is Monsanto – the nation’s leading GMO producer. It’s no wonder they don’t want us pushing this bill through…it will negatively affect their company (along with companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi)! Conversely, check out who some of the major companies funding YES – companies like Mercola, a vitamin and alternative wellness company and awesome companies like Organic Consumer’s fund and Nature’s Path.

Because producers of organic food and foods sold for immediate consumption (such as restaurant food) are exempt from labeling, opponents of 37 claim the proposition serves certain special interests. Why should organic food need labeling if it has already been through the rigorous process required to earn an “organic” label, which by definition means that there are no gmos in it? In response to the opponents’ ridiculous claim that restaurants  are “special interest” groups because they’re not required to label foods – rarely is anything labeled when we go out to eat so why would this standard be any different? I don’t go to Houston’s and order a steak knowing exactly the calorie count and ingredients used. That’s the choice I make when dining out. Until restaurants are required to label the nutrition and ingredients in their food, they should not have to label whether or not their food is genetically modified (though I am hopeful that some day all labeling will be required in restaurants should the consumer want this information).

Yes, it will cost us money if the bill passes; there will be lawsuits when companies don’t comply and food costs may go up if companies opt to produce food that isn’t genetically modified. Companies will also have to be monitored which will also cost money. Wouldn’t you rather pay a little more for your food if it means you won’t be eating genetically modified food?  GMOs have only been used in our food since the mid-nineties so the long-term effects on our health are still not known. While claims have been made that GMOs are not dangerous to our health, how can we possibly know when they haven’t been around long enough to be sure? By tampering with the natural state of our food, there may be consequences to our health and I’d like to know just what those are before I decide whether or not to consume them. In the very least, I’d like the freedom to decide whether or not to buy foods containing GMOs. Right now companies have the ability to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients as “natural”; it is dishonest and by passing Prop 37 this will no longer be allowed.

If you are a California voter, I hope you will vote yes on 37.  If you are still on the fence about it, below are some great places to read why you should consider changing your mind. It should be our right to decide when we want to eat something that has been genetically modified and this bill is a step in the right direction. Thank you!

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates


Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending an amazing yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico. I went with a group of 60 others and spent the week in a gorgeous tropical place, silently walking the beaches, practicing both aggressive and therapeutic yoga, eating fresh local food, sunbathing and relaxing the days away. One thing that I loved so much about the trip was meeting fantastic people from around the world that all practice yoga. We discussed the different types of yoga they practice, why they love their classes, and how yoga has changed their lives for the better.

These conversations were a wonderful reminder that yoga can be done by anyone and that there is a class out there that is perfect for each one of us; there are enough studios, dvds and classes offered everywhere so that you can find the one that feels the best for you. However, starting a yoga practice can be totally overwhelming when there are so many to choose from, so I thought it might be helpful to give a little info on the different types out there. I have three different studios I like to go to with completely different experiences, so that I can enjoy whichever class feels right for me that day. For example, if I want a really hard workout but don’t have a lot of time, I go to the yoga class at my gym that is only an hour fifteen. If I am going with a friend at the end of the day and know my concentration might be shot by then, I love to go to the class where we can rock out to loud hip hop music, we can chat if we feel like it and leave early without anyone caring; all while still getting a sweaty hard workout. And if I have a couple of hours for my workout and need a more mentally and physically challenging experience, I go to a different class. Each has its benefits and I love them all for different reasons.

So, here is a breakdown of the many kinds of yoga out there (feel free to add more in the comment section if any were not included!) and a little summary about each one*.

And for those of you completely new to the world of yoga, the benefits are incredible. Besides the typical workout benefits of building strength and mobility in your body, countering stress and tension, etc…yoga has a major focus on the breath. Proper breathing provides sufficient oxygen for the correct and efficient functioning of every body cell. It nourishes the muscles and organs with oxygen and it dispels fatigue and anxiety. So learning to breath deeply in yoga can do wonders for your body and help you learn to stay relaxed in stressful situations. (Check out a full list of benefits here).

Yoga is truly a gift to us all and I hope you are inspired to find the perfect yoga class for you.


Types of Yoga

Ananda Yoga: Ananda Yoga classes focus on gentle postures designed to move the energy up to the brain and prepare the body for meditation. Classes also focus on proper body alignment and controlled breathing.

Anusara Yoga is a relatively new form of yoga (1997), which pairs strict principles of alignment with a playful spirit. Postures can be challenging, but the real message of Anusara is to open your heart and strive to connect with the divine in yourself and others.

Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga is the name given to the system of yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This style of yoga is physically demanding as it involves synchronizing breathing with progressive and continuous series of postures-a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, flexibility, stamina, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. Ashtanga is an athletic yoga practice and is not for beginners.

Bikram Yoga is the method of yoga that is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. The founder, Bikram Choudhury, was a gold medal Olympic weight lifter in 1963 and is a disciple of Bishnu Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, (Autobiography of a Yogi). One of the unusual but most beneficial aspects of Bikram’s yoga practice is the 95-105 degree temperature which promotes more flexibility, detoxification, and prevention of injuries. This is the only yoga style that specializes in using the heated environment.

Hatha is an easy-to-learn basic form of yoga that has become very popular in the United States. Hatha Yoga is the foundation of all Yoga styles. It incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), meditation (Dharana & Dhyana) and kundalini (Laya Yoga) into a complete system that can be used to achieve enlightenment or self-realization. It has become very popular in America as source of exercise and stress management. The ideal way to practice the Hatha Yoga poses (asanas) is to approach the practice session in a calm, meditative mood. Sit quietly for a few moments, then begin the series, slowly, with control and grace, being inwardly aware as the body performs the various poses selected for the practice session. Do not overdo the asanas or try to compete with others. Take it easy and enjoy.

Integral Yoga: This traditional type of yoga combines postures, breathing exercises, selfless service, meditation, chanting, prayer, and self-inquiry.

ISHTA: Developed by South African teacher Mani Finger and popularized in the States by his son Alan, ISHTA (Integral Science of Hatha and Tantric Arts) focuses on opening energy channels throughout the body with postures, visualizations, and meditation.

Iyengar Yoga, developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar more than 60 years ago, promotes strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance through coordinated breathing and poses that require precise body alignment. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles of yoga. In Iyengar, you slowly move into a pose, hold it for a minute or so, and then rest for a few breaths before stretching into another. Equipment like cushions, blankets, straps, and blocks to help the less flexible also distinguishes Iyengar from other types of yoga. Although Iyengar incorporates the traditional postures, or asanas, that make up the broader category of hatha yoga, the cushions and other props revolutionized yoga by enabling everyone — even the elderly, sick, and disabled — to practice. Because of its slow pace, attention to detail, and use of props, Iyengar yoga can be especially good if you’re recovering from an injury. Iyengar is still one of the most popular types of yoga taught today.  

Jivamukti Yoga:Developed in 1986 by Sharon Gannon and David Life, the Jivamukti Yoga method expresses the spiritual and ethical aspects of the practice of yoga that have been disregarded or devalued in contemporary times. It is a vigorous and challenging asana form with an emphasis on scriptural study, Sanskrit chanting, vegetarianism, non-violence, meditation, devotion to God and the role that music and listening play in the practice of yoga. Life and Gannon currently operate a popular yoga studio in New York City.

Kali Ray TriYoga:A series of flowing, dancelike movements was developed by Kali Ray in 1980. The practice also incorporates pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Kali Ray runs the TriYoga Center in Santa Cruz, California.

Kripalu is called the yoga of consciousness. This gentle, introspective practice urges practitioners to hold poses to explore and release emotional and spiritual blockages. Goal-oriented striving is discouraged and precise alignment is not as important as in some other traditions. There are three stages in Kripalu yoga. Stage One focuses on learning the postures and exploring your bodies abilities. Stage Two involves holding the postures for an extended time, developing concentration and inner awareness. Stage Three is like a meditation in motion in which the movement from one posture to another arises unconsciously and spontaneously.

Kundalini practice concentrates on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward. In addition to postures, a typical class will also include chanting, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Power Yoga is essentially yoga with brawn. It’s the American interpretation of ashtanga yoga, a discipline that combines stretching, strength training, and meditative breathing. But power yoga takes ashtanga one step further. Many of the poses (also called postures or their Sanskrit name, asanas) resemble basic calisthenics — push-ups and handstands, toe touches and side bends — but the key to power yoga’s sweat-producing, muscle-building power is the pace. Instead of pausing between poses as you would in traditional yoga, each move flows into the next, making it an intense aerobic workout.

Restorative Yoga: In a restorative yoga class you’ll spend long periods of time lying on blocks, blankets and yoga bolsters – passively allowing muscles to relax.

Sivananda Yoga:Like Integral Yoga, this traditional type of yoga combines postures, breathing, dietary restrictions, chanting, scriptural study, and meditation. The popular TV yoga teacher Lilias got her start practicing Sivananda Yoga.

Svaroopa Yoga: New students find this a very approachable style, often beginning in chair poses that are comfortable. Promotes healing and transformation.

Viniyoga: This is commonly used as a therapeutic practice for people who have suffered injuries or are recovering from surgery. It is a gentle, healing practice that is tailored to each person’s body type and needs as they grow and change.

Vinyasa: Focuses on coordination of breath and movement and it is a very physically active form of yoga. It began with Krishnamacharya who later passed it on to Pattabhi Jois.

White Lotus Yoga: A modified Ashtanga practice developed by Ganga White which is combined with breathwork and meditation.

* This list came straight from the website and was not written by me

Written by Lana House of House Pilates