Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Earth Friendly Design

Consider the interior of your home as a series of layers, beginning with hard, durable surfaces such as floors and walls, moving on through with furniture, and finishing with fabrics and soft furnishings. Careful consideration of these layers is what makes a well-balanced and eco-conscious home. Here are a few ideas to assist you when choosing fabrics and wall coverings. After all, they play an important role in every interior. In addition to adding color, pattern and texture, fabrics can also reduce heat loss from a room when used to cover windows.

Fun Eco-Conscious Fabrics:

Felt - This has once of the simplest manufacturing processes. Felt is nonwoven textile that relies on small scales of wool fibers. Historically it is made with pure wool, and so its properties and colors can reflect the breed from which it was cut.

Lycocell - This is a man-made fiber created from the natural cellulose found in wood, which makes it 100% sustainable. This fabric is currently used for clothing, bed linens, pillows and quilts.

Organic Cotton - It is made from the soft cellulose fiber that contains the seeds of a cotton plant. This fabric is now being used to produce a whole range of products, from clothes to dish towels, and bed linens. Just make sure the cotton is made from fair-trade organic cotton.

Alpaca - This fabric is amazingly warm and luxurious, and much stronger and lighter than wool. It is perfect for throws. There are up to 22 different shades, from creams, grays to blacks, and even rose.

Linen - Made from flax, linen is highly sustainable since the whole plant can be used. This is a good material for warm climates as the fabric is breathable and adjusts nicely to temperature shifts.

Hemp - As with linen, the entire hemp plant can be put to use. This is a great insulation material. Its porous fibers can take on dye very easily. It also is great to resist mold and offers good UV protection.

Recycled Textiles - This is great when it comes to reducing embodied energy and landfills. You can find reclaimed fabrics in markets, antique stores, thrift shops and online. This is a great option to really reduce the level of outgassing toxins in the home.

Earth Friendly Walls:

Treating your walls is the easiest and most cost effective way to impact on the look and feel of a space. Using environmentally friendly wall finishes need not limit what you can do within an interior space. 

Light reflective surfaces, such as some recycled plastics, and translucent materials, like glass, can bounce natural light around your home and so reduce the need for additional artificial lighting. Eco-wall coverings, including wood, and natural fiber wallpapers add  impact, character, and texture, while using eco-friendly paints keeps your home toxin free.

Here are some additional wall Eco- conscious paint ideas:

  • Natural paint made from water, chalk, natural oils and clays.
  • Insulating paint that use hollow glass microspheres which trap air , and act as a thermos insulator.
  • Lime plaster allows moisture to seep in and evaporate out.
  • Recycled glass tiles made from colored glass are great for bathrooms
  • Eco-wallpaper with decorative designs
  • Reclaimed lumber or paneling

This is just a taste of what you can do to design a healthy home for a healthier planet and a healthier you. If you want to see how to design every aspect of your home in a mindful way you can learn more earth friendly design ideas from my basic Eco-Conscious E - program .

Mary Jane Kasliner

Monday, January 14, 2019

Honor Your Environment Honor Your Body

Your body is an extension of your environment. Honoring both is a perfect way to balance your life. If you think of your body as a means to access the world, then taking care of it is of utmost importance. If you think of your environment as a means to protect and nurture your body, then tending to it also becomes important. 

It is through your body that you experience sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Your body is made up of countless complex systems that collaborate to enable you to move, be still, to laugh, cry, and to experience pain and pleasure. Honor your environment and your body by treating them with respect and awe.

Simple Ways to Honor Your Environment:

  • Assess your environment on a weekly basis for any extras things that you really don't need and remove them. 
  • Spruce up your walls, floors and furnishings. Move things around to create a new look and feel, especially when seasons change.
  • Create focal points of interest with interesting artwork, books or sculpture.
  • Infuse natural scents and soothing sounds.
  • Less is more when decorating, so be mindful of what you choose to place in your rooms.
  • Create an inviting look from the outdoors to draw the positive energy inside.
Simple Ways to Honor Your Body:

  • Commit to exercise
  • Eat healthy
  • Groom
  • Meditate
  • Love yourself 
  • Embrace challenges
  • Live mindfully
  • Be present

Living in an embodied state means to honor the your house; the one that houses your body and the one that houses your soul.

Om Shant,
Mary Jane
Feng Shui Yoga Girl

Friday, January 11, 2019

Being Mindful With Your Plants

Did you ever think that being mindful with your plants can actually keep you in the present moment? We can most certainly learn something from our plants. Notice how they acclimate to their surroundings - sunlight, water, air temperature -  and how they use those surroundings to thrive. Plants can teach us the great lesson of patience, humility and impermanence; the cycles of beginning, maturing, ending and transforming.

In feng shui, plants are a symbol of growth, vitality, health and abundance. They are notoriously positioned in the area of "wealth" and "health" within an environment as a reminder how we need to take responsibility in these areas of our life. Just as we tend to our plants, we also must tend to our health and wealth.

We can rejoice in seeing new leaves sprout, flower shoots emerge, and plants growing taller and wider. It is an amazing feeling to know your plants are thriving because you are tending to them. Can you do the same for yourself?

Mindful Exercise:

Take a moment to connect with your plants. Perhaps have a little chat with them. They make wonderful listeners! Observe weekly any new shoots, and take note of how they emerge. January is the month for creating, so why not create plant groupings that remind you of memorable trips and locations: a bowl of cacti evokes a desert landscape while a terrarium of ferns and mosses recalls the soft floor of a forest in the Pacific Northwest.

Being mindful means engaging with other living things. A plant isn't as demanding as a pet or another human being, but can offer us comfort and happiness. Take the time to nourish your plants and you'll be amazed how nourished you feel in return.

Mary Jane Feng Shui Yoga Girl.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Be Strong, Be Creative and Find Your Roots!

Be Strong, Be Creative and Find Your Roots
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     January is the month of the ox that pulls the plough to prepare the soil for the seeds of creation to take root.  There is a great deal of elements that combine this month to set the wheels in motion for 2019! The temptation to set lofty goals, albeit admirable, can work against the natural flow of things. Instead, align your intention to your soul's mission, and then release it. In yoga we refer to this as a Sankalpa. The intention is formed by the heart and mind. It is a heartfelt desire  or affirmation that harmonizes the mind, body and spirit.

     Patanjali explains that suffering is caused by attachment. By and large, when setting goals for the new year, there is a tendency to become attached to the outcome. This year, why not step into your power and suffer less by lowering your expectations. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but if you look at it from the perspective of not expecting too much from someone or something that is not capable of giving that, then you avoid the attachment and suffering that goes along with it. In 2019, decide to shift your attachment and linger in the present moment. This will help you navigate the bumps along the spiritual path.

Elevate Your Consciousness!

Mary Jane

Be Strong, Be Creative and Find Your Roots!

Strong wood (yang) is present this month in the LoShu Grid. Each month there is a new element that shines and releases its qualities into the atmosphere for all living things to absorb. If you refer to the tree image to the right, it is easy to notice the graceful stretch of the branches high into the sky, and as it soars, guidance is present. The roots reach deep into the ground and find strength. Think of this support system as a family's dynamic. It provides roots so you may know strength and develop the ability to grow, thrive and meet your potential.

This energy teaches us to develop strength of character, build a strong body and sound mind. It provides fertile ground to plant the seeds of our creativity, manifest our desires and put ideas into action so they may blossom and bear fruit in the world.

The strength of the ox this month assists in the process of creating new things because it is willing to do the work that is required of us. The ox perseveres no matter what obstacles may arise, and does it with a helping hand. This is much like the legendary goddess  Durga who can help empower your aspirations and tap into the leader within.

Environmental Accents to Support Roots and Creativity:

1. From the center of your home, locate the east portent. Remove any clutter, items you no longer like and anything in disrepair.

2. Place a few family photos, especially of elders. Use qualities of three when positioning photos or other d├ęcor accent pieces.

3. Include a cultural piece or item depicting your heritage. You may also add artwork or photos of trees, water or landscape scenes.

4. Add a few healthy plants and accents of blue or green with a splash of fire. Columnar shapes are perfect for this area.

5. Add a water feature such as a fish bowl or water fountain provided it is not a kitchen or bedroom.

6. Add upward light source and place a notebook or journal that is easy to access so when an idea comes to mind you can write it down.

7. Wake early and take notice of nature, especially trees and repeat this affirmation: I cultivate and live a dynamic life of strength and purpose.


        The Winter Water:
This is the time of year when water is strong. In 5 element theory, a system used in Chinese medicine and Feng Shui, the element of water prospers in the winter. It refers to our life path, belief and the journey ahead. It is a promise of one's life path and a bringing forth of one's dreams. There is only one journey, and that is to go inside yourself. It is through the inner work we find the courage to reveal our true self and be authentic.

Without the element of water, there is no fuel to feed the creative process. Water pulls us in so we can reflect, contemplate and meditate. The result is flowing ideas for strong wood to propagate so we can take action. This is why it is important to have artwork with water scenes or actual water features in your environment. The aforementioned bode best in the East, Southeast or North directions, as long as these areas are not the kitchen or bedroom.

Water ignites the second chakra (Svadhistana) where our creative resources lie. It is the dwelling place of the self. As humans, part of our nature is to create. We create in many ways from giving birth, gardening, writing, art, cooking or when we find a solution to an old problem. Anytime we take raw materials, and transform them into something new, we are using our creative energy.

3 Yoga Poses to Assist Water Energy:

  • Seated Pelvic Circles
  • Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
I personify the attributes of strength and courage. I am in the flow.

Earth - The Element of Stability:

Earth is the stabilizer. It revolves, centers and  provides a strong foundation for whatever we decide to venture into. In Feng Shui, it represents the aspects of inner knowing and how we relate to others. It is a point where all else revolves around including our roots, blessings, soul's mission, joy, heavenly spirit and life path. Without the earth we have no reference point of matter.

>From this place of stability, we are able to create and let our ideas root deep giving us confidence and strength. The element of earth awakens the root chakra (Muladhara), a reminder of the power of grounding. It's our core connection to the Mother and humanity. It is helpful to anchor the root by having strong earth elements in your environment, especially in the center, Northeast and Southwest directions. Accents such as a stone pillar or statue bodes well. Carrying grounding stones like black tourmaline in your pocket is also advantageous.

3 Yoga Poses to Awaken the Root:
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Janu Sirsansana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend)
  • Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2 Pose)
I rejoice and live in peace, freedom and joy. My path is enlightened with clarity and wisdom.

Putting It All Together:

Your focus this month is to create. Rely on the wisdom of elders and true-self. That's it! Nothing fancy or expectations that pull you from your dharmic path.

Rishikesh, India

Many Blessings!
Mary Jane

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