This is such a special time in our American History, and I am proud to be alive in these times. The Women’s March on Washington is most likely going to go down in our history books as the start of another wave of feminism, and this time, WE WILL NOT STEP BACK.
Mushpa + Mensa were unable to hitch a ride to DC, and maybe all happened for a reason. We were meant to stay at our own city rally in Wilmington, NC. We stayed in our home town, made signs, and shouted, chanted, and participated in the Wilmington’s Sister Women’s March. What a phenomenal experience. Even more amazing was coming back home and seeing the pictures and videos of ALL THOSE WOMEN. Men and children also there supporting. Political figures, icons, celebrities, artists, and humans from all walks of life. All these little pink hats, all these powerful signs. So much to say, yet such unity in our voice. Despite the hiccups of what it means to be part of this march (Can a pro-lifer still be a feminist? Is there space for white woman oppression?) the energy was ONE.
I am so proud of all of us. This light inside me grows. The strength in me grows, and so does the motivation. We are awake, and ready to go.
Despite not being in Washington physically, our collective energy filled every corner of the world, from Berlin, to Paris, from London to Costa Rica. This is not an American movement. This is WORLD WIDE.
The internet has united us, and I have witnessed some amazing and moving moments from the Women’s March. Here a few favorites. I hope you play them, enjoy them, and let them fill you with hope, motivation, and furious energy to fight this culture of hate, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and darkness that has crept up to a mainstream platform.
Without further ado, press play, and may the force be with you.
“We too must stand united….if we fall into the trap of separating ourselves by our causes and our labels, then we will weaken our fight, and we will lose. But if we commit to what aligns us, if we stand together steadfast and determined, then we stand a chance at saving the soul of our country.” -America Ferrera
“I’m not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth…We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty!” -Nina Donovan interpreted by Ashley Judd
“We are the people. We have people power, and we will use it…This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life. It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity, and remember: the constitution does not begin with “I the president”, it begins with “We the People.” So do not try to divide us…” -Gloria Steinem
The 4 things we need to do according to Michael Moore:
1. Call Congress every single day (1 rep in the house, 2 senators) 202-225-3121
2. JOIN A GROUP!
3. Form your own rapid response team: people that you will call, when we need to move fast. 10 people
4.Form regions of resistance. Blue states and cities. The country will follow your lead!
I started this Blog entry today, as we here at Mushpa + Mensa want to start backing charities we believe in. Every month we will give 10% of our income to a charity we pick each month and promote in our blog, newsletter and on our website. This is something we have wanted to do and in 2017 we are making it happen!
The first charity we are covering will be End the Backlog. It is a is a program of the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national non-profit organization founded by actress and activist Mariska Hargitay with the mission to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. We heard about this organization as Cara (me) is obsessed with, My Favorite Murder, a podcast by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark about, you guessed it, murder. Each episode the girls tell each other their favorite tales of murder, and hear hometown crime stories from friends and fans. Check your anxiety at the door, ’cause Karen & Georgia are dying to discuss death. They gave 50% of their sales or MFM products for 1 month to End the Backlog.
In Joyful Heart Foundation‘s own words End the Backlogis the cornerstone of Joyful Heart’s Policy & Advocacy work, focuses on shining a light on the rape kit backlog in the United States. Our goal is to end this injustice by conducting groundbreaking research identifying the extent of the nation’s backlog and best practices for eliminating it; expanding the national dialogue on rape kit testing through increased public awareness, engaging communities and government agencies and officials; and advocating for comprehensive rape kit reform legislation and policies at the local, state and federal levels. Ultimately, we seek to change attitudes about sexual violence and abuse, educate the public, improve systems to lessen the trauma survivors experience and ensure greater access to justice for survivors.
With this new person, whose name I shall not speak, in office we must fight this rape culture, now more than ever. Ladies, men, children, let’s do this. Buy our organic cotton and upcycled stuff and we will work to #changetheculture. I love you ladies!
So I got a yoga ball for Christmas from my dear Mushpa! (Thank you to her, specially for inflating it as she tells me it was quite tedious and it took forever!)
My yoga ball is also called a stability ball, exercise ball, fitness ball, but for today’s purpose I will refer to it as my yoga ball.
It is from Black Mountain Products and it is a professional grade stability ball that is “exceptionally durable…designed for gym, office and home use. Each pro series ball is designed to hold 2000 lbs. of static weight and is Anti-burst resistance up to 1000 lbs. of static weight. Black Mountain Products gym balls can improve your core strength, balance and overall agility. Each exercise ball is designed with dense walls for the ultimate support and durability for any use.” Check out this video for a demo. But you of course can get it from anywhere you’d like, in any color you’d like!
Depending on your height, you can choose from several sizes including 45 cm (5′ and under) 55 cm (5′ to 5′ 6″ tall) 65 cm (5’6″ to 6′ tall) and 75 cm (6′ to 6 5″) and 85 cm (6′ 5″ or taller).
If you want to use it as an OFFICE CHAIR ALTERNATIVE, some awesome perks include:
Forces proper spine alignment since you have to keep a straight spine to say balanced.
Causes you to change positions often, and not stay stagnant in a regular sitting position.
Fitness is a roll away…If you need a mini workout or stretching session, your equipment is right there! Convenience!
Improves balance due to the constant readjustment your body does throughout your working day.
Works your core muscles without you even working hard for it, meaning it also burns some extra calories.
The constant movement improves circulation=more energy throughout the day.
It’s Fun! Bounce while you work…need I say more?
I searched throughout the internet for a proper yoga ball practice to better my daily yoga practice and poses, and found many videos and blogs, but not one that encompassed all I was looking for… So I have gathered here the BEST 10 Yoga Ball Exercises to Improve Your Daily Practice! I included my cute drawings to help you get a visual. 🙂
Moving Forward Plank: You start with your ball at the end of the mat and set your belly on it, and slowly walk your hands to the front of the mat. You can stop at your thighs, or for a bigger challenge move further down to your shins. Make sure your elbows align with your shoulders. Hold 10-30 seconds. Advanced: Do so with one leg up, hold, and then switch legs and hold.
Core Sit Up on a Ball: Begin by laying on the ball with your hands in your head, with bent knees at a 90 degree with your feet on the floor. Roll yourself forward and up, and back. One sit up. Then do it again. 20 times.
Back Stretch to Wheel: This one is delicious but can be intense. Lay on your ball with your feet on the ground ( bent knees at 90 degrees) and start rolling back with your arms back as if you were to fall back on wheel. Your arms don’t have to touch the ground. Reach for the ground for a deeper stretch. Advanced: If you are feeling like a baller, then use the ball to bend into a full wheel pose!
Feet + Hands Play Ball: Lay down with the ball between your feet. Lift the ball with your feet and pull towards your hands, and grab the ball with your hands. Hold the ball all the way back and before it touches the ground bring it back to meet your feet again. Let your feet and hands play ball! Advanced: Do this while you hold your head up, and every time you bring your feet down, don’t let them touch the ground.
Back Stretch On your Knees: Place the ball in front of you about a hand print away, and place your hands on the side of the ball facing your belly. Start pushing the ball forward and bend forward, until you feel the stretch on your back while you push your tailbone up. It should feel super nice!
Back Stretch Standing Up: This is the same concept as above, but you start standing up with your hands right above the ball, bending forward. Then roll the ball forward to create a stretch in your back.
Circle Hips: Sit on your ball with your legs slightly open to create balance, and start rolling your hips in a circular motion. This one is fun! Reverse direction. Advanced: Add your arms by lifting them straight up with palms facing each other. SURPRISE STRETCH!: This is a stretch I saw from youtuber Marlita McKinney (minute 7:22), and is a Free Form Stretch! She does it so beautifully, and she gets so into it its almost like a modern dance performance. So put a good jam on, feel your energy and move and flow to where your soul calls!
Plank with Leg + Arm Lifts: Lay belly down on your ball to a plank. Shoulders aligned with hands. Lift your RIGHT leg up, and your LEFT arm up, and hold. Move back to plank, and do the other side: LEFT leg up, and RIGHT arm up. This is a tough one in terms of balancing, but with practice we can make it work!
Yoga Pike on Your Knees: This is a challenge, but super fun! Start with the ball in your belly to a plank (Exercise 1. Moving Forward Plank) Start raising your hips up with control while the ball moves forward and your tailbone is pushing to the sky, and bring your knees in towards your chest. Then pull back and reverse the direction to plank. This video is helpful. Advanced: You can lift one leg while you do this, and then the other.
Full Pike to Head Stand!: The final and most challenging, but when we master it, so rewarding! So same concept as above, but instead of bringing you knees in, you pull your tailbone up and roll to your toes! Make sure your shoulders are aligned with your hands, and your butt aligned with your head. This will prep you for a full hand stand. Advanced: Move from the tip of your toes, into a full headstand! Voila!
SHAVASANA with YOGA BALL: Last but not least you can always take you Shavasana with your legs up on the ball!
These are my 10Best Stability Ball Exercises to Improve your Yoga Practice!
So February has started as a cold month with its wet and dreariness. But we gotta hit it back with some sunshine and love. In honor of love month, how about a
LOVE YOURSELF 90 Day Challenge!
That’s right. If you read this. You have been served…the challenge. Now you have to do it. Pass it along to 5 friends for good luck…or else….No for real though. No chain letter non-sense, but if you think about it. What do you have to lose?
So this is what you have to do:
1. Choose a physical activity (yoga, weights, dance, bicycle)
I like yoga. It gives me time to explore movement so my body feels its proper functions, cardio so I get my heart pumping blood, and also a space to get in touch with the universe and my soul as a whole. + Meditation. A winner in my book.
Biking is also fun. It’s dual purpose of functionality as a mode of transportation, and a great form of exercise is a five star right there. If you don’t need to carry too many groceries, then take the two-wheeler for a ride. Post office, bank, pharmacy. Two in one!
And the good old fashion Walking Sport. 30 minutes a day. 10,000 steps. The minimum to feel the best.
2. Create a space for it!– Fill your space with inspiration. Nothing fancy.
Get a good playlist going. Explore a new artist for an hour. Anything. Your choice.
I have a little space in the window still where I put candles, stones, palo santo, and any other inspirational objects in front my yoga mat and block. It’s a dedicated space, and it won’t let me ignore it.
For Mushpa’s birthday month, I re-organized and temporarily transformed our “storage-cat-empty” room into a work-out sweat room for her too! A little paint, and some quotes. Boom! It was really a spur of the moment makeover to a room with much needed renovations in the future. For now it is perfect for the next 3 month challenge.
3. Look for videos: We have found some really cool 90 day challenge videos online of different workouts. A 90 Day Yoga Fix with this cool cat Leasley. Very chill. She’s challenging but not outrageous. Or you can go all the way with P90X series that Mushpa will soon progress into. Heck yes!
Now….JUST DO IT!
Join Mushpa+Mensa on this Love Yourself Challenge!