We are thrilled to be featuring the lovely Crystal Hochman in today’s Q&A! Crystal is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Certified Holistic Health Coach, and a Certified Yoga Instructor. On top of that impressive collection of titles, Crystal is also an Art in Voyage Journey Host. Discover how ways of wellness, yoga and meditation can aid the stresses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
How important taking care of one’s body and soul is during crisis such as the one we are all facing right now?
The need for certainty is built into every human being and let’s face it, we are in the midst of very uncertain times. Without a doubt, this produces some level of fear, worry, and anxiety among all of us. Ultimately, these emotions, if left unchecked, stress us out!
If chronic stress is not addressed, it weakens our health and can eventually lead to physical symptoms. Our bodies can adapt but can only take so much before we begin to breakdown into a state of dis-ease. Stop. And pause.
As we pause, we allow our bodies and souls to reconnect, realign, recalibrate. For some, this might feel wildly uncomfortable, a new sensation in the body. Be mindful of labeling this experience as “good” or “bad”. For many, this new awareness, this pause, may bring up emotional experiences that we didn’t allow ourselves to feel in the past.
In the pause, the planet is feeling a way that it’s likely never felt before. The shift is palpable. This is our invitation to embrace the pause. To feel our feelings, to gift ourselves the space to explore our own inner world. To learn something new and to deepen our connection. And to allow ourselves to simply BE, discover what makes us feel joy, and clarify our deepest desires.
As humans, we were headed down a road of disconnection, and though growth and change aren’t always easy in the moment, it is so evident that this is all happening for us. This is our moment to heal, so that we can fully LIVE.
Is there a daily routine people can start with that would not make them feel like they are taking on a whole new activity?
I practice and recommend clients to follow the D.R.E.S.S protocol. This is not something to overthink, as small changes with consistency, have significant wellness benefits!
Diet: Eat real food. Add in more fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit your sugar intake. Drink one more glass of water every day. Easy Peasy.
Rest: We often overlook how pivotal sleep is for our health. It’s not how long your sleep, but how well you sleep. A regular sleep schedule is helpful so your body can easily fall into slumber. Limit food and alcohol intake prior to bedtime as the digestion process can cause a spike in hormones and blood sugar which wakes you up, only to stare at the ceiling in the middle of the night.
Exercise: Find the movement that is right for your body and is sustainable. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Do yoga. Go for a swim. Lift weights. Do squats in your living room. Whatever it is, raise your heartrate and sweat a little or a lot.
Stress Reduction: One of the best ways to lower stress is through breathwork. It brings the body back to balance. Take a few moments a day, sit in a comfortable position and put your right hand over your belly and left hand over your heart. Inhale. Feel the belly rise, the chest expand and the throat open. Exhale, as the breath travels back down the spine, contracting the ribs, pulling the belly into the spine. Notice your breath during the day. Are you taking deep belly breaths or shallow chest breaths?
Supplementation: Our bodies have specific macro and micronutrient requirements and we also have unique bio-individual needs. A one size fits all approach is an outdated model, however it’s safe to say we could all benefit from a quality multivitamin and probiotic to boost immunity.
Walk us through a typical “Crystal” morning
I have 2 children and with a busy family life, each day brings its own dynamic. That said, my morning routine is a non-negotiable and sets the tone for my day.
My mornings begin with the snooze button. Probably 3 times. (Hey, we are all works in progress!)
Drink a glass of warm lemon water. Warm lemon water in the morning has several benefits; it’s detoxifying, antibacterial and awakens your digestion, to name a few.
Meditate for at least 15 minutes, affirming my intention for the day. It focuses my energies on doing the 10% of things that have an impact instead of the 90% of things that create noise and distraction.
Find gratitude. I journal or mindfully take a moment and find 5 things I’m grateful for – big or small. An attitude of gratitude crowds out all other low vibrational thoughts.
Consume positive content. I’ll start one of my favorite inspirational podcasts in the morning and either finish or play it throughout the day until completion.
Practice or teach yoga. It’s my moving meditation, linking breath with movement. It grounds me, lifts my energy and screws my head on straight.
Many people see yoga and meditation as a huge commitment, or even the idea of taking care of one’s soul something rather utopic. What would you say to address these pre-conceived ideas?
The Sanskrit word yoga means join together or unite. Yoga is the union of the mind, body and spirit. While contemporary Western yoga tends to focus on yoga as physical exercise, yoga is much broader than physical poses alone and includes a rich history of philosophical and ethical principles, breathing exercises, and meditation. How we use those teachings is up to us.
Most of us want to improve the quality of our lives. Yoga is not just for the young, fit, flexible, vegan, spiritual chic that can rock a designer pair of yoga pants. Yoga is for everyone. Some will settle exclusively on postural practice – a yoga class to unwind and keep fit. Others will combine meditation and physical practice to restore their health and calm the mind. Some will employ yoga for spiritual sustenance and inner growth. Some will employ yoga for all the above. This is the appeal of yoga.
I encourage everyone to take the path that resonates with them and keep it simple. Take what you want and leave the rest behind. As with any new endeavor, just start somewhere – when practiced with consistency, this type of self-care becomes a habitual part of our healthy lifestyle.
Last but not least, when it comes to establishing a long-lasting mental happiness, what are the 3 or 4 most important things to remember
1. Our thoughts become our reality.
Life is simply a reflection of the beliefs we already hold to be true. We are never in the wrong place. Sometimes we are in the right place looking at things the wrong way. A shift in perspective makes all the difference in how we see the world. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Look for the positive in each situation and whatever it involves. Trust what is happening is for your highest good and will always work out on your behalf.
2. Be present.
Most of us have an unconscious way of moving though our day – another way to look at it is autopilot, steering the ship habitually. We are often lost in yesterday or worried about what’s to come tomorrow. It’s in the present moment where we find our golden ticket. Presence is living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift. We may not have control over some things that happen in life, but we have control over how we choose to respond.
3. We become what we repeatedly do.
It’s in the small habits. Keep one small promise to yourself every day. Be kind when you talk to yourself. Know that gratitude and laughter are the best medicine. Be mindful of what you read and watch. Let go of what is no longer serving you. Be aware of who you share your energy with. They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with – including yourself, so choose wisely.
4. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them!
Honor yourself. Honor your dreams. Make the decision. If not now, then when? As Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”