Understanding the differences between HSP and Empath

There is so much confusion about the differences between a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and an Empath. I am an empath as well as a HSP which makes my life experience quite interesting. Though empaths and HSPs both possess sensitivities, they are different in many ways. Being both an Empath and a HSP myself I get asked a lot what is the difference, so I thought I would take this opportunity to explain how being one or the other or both changes your experience of the world around you.

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An empath is someone who picks up on emotions in others without them saying a word. They have an ability to feel and experience pain from others as if it were their own, thus making them some of the most giving and loving people in the world. Because of this ability to experience other’s suffering they are at a higher risk of sliding into depression if they don’t protect and cleanse themselves regularly from other energies. Empaths can connect not only to other people’s energy but also energy from animals, the earth and even spirits. Empaths have great intuition and can read people incredibly well. Empaths tend to be the “healers” of the world because of a deep desire to help others. They experience both love and pain deeply which is why it is SO important to take action in keeping their energetic space clear and healthy boundaries set.

A HSP is someone who notices ALL energy. They are the ones who get easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation. They struggle at times to process all the noises, smells and movements around them which can create anxiety and stress. These types of people tend to avoid crowds because of over abundance of incoming stimuli. HSPs have a deep appreciation for the little things as they pick up and notice EVERYTHING. They have an strong ability to sense incoming danger and can not only notice subtle energy shifts but can transform the energy when they step into their full ability as a HSP.

I hope in sharing this it helps someone understand their unique gifts and abilities more clearly so they can find ways to feel empowered by these abilities seeing them as gifts instead of burdens.

Green Goddess Smoothie Recipe

I absolutely love my green smoothies. I go through fazes of loving a specific combination but this is one I tend to fall back on and is my go to for all occasions. If you are new to green smoothies it’s a good idea to start with greens such as spinach or romaine lettuce that have very little taste, and then move yourself up to kale, swiss chard and mixed leafy greens. Start with two cups of greens and move your way up to three as your taste buds adjust. For this recipe I used greens from my garden which consisted of two types of kale and some swiss chard. Make sure when you are using kale you take the leafy part off of the spine which will make the taste far less bitter. And of course adjusting the amount of spirulina and chlorella if it is too strong. I have been drinking my greens in juices and smoothies for many years and I enjoy the more savoury flavour of the greens but if your starting off take it slow and find your happy medium.

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Green Goddess Smoothie :

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

1/2 of a ripe banana sliced

1 scoop of vanilla plant-based protein powder

1 tsp of spirulina

1 tsp of chlorella

2-3 packed cups of greens of your choice.

Blend it all up in blender really well adding water as you go to get the consistency of your liking. Start with 1/3 cup of water and add more as you need it. Enjoy!

Balancing the Solar Plexus Charka

The solar plexus charka is all about personal will, self control, self worth and feeling a sense of belonging. When we connected to this inner strength, we find balance and abundance. If you are struggling with stepping into your true potential and lack feelings of confidence this is a great charka to work with. Lying on your back or in a seated position and place your hands on your belly.Taking deep belly breaths connect this charka by imagine your sending bright yellow light into your belly centre through your hands. Take this visualization as you mindfully breathe into your belly and say the mantra in your mind or out loud. Do this for as long as feels good for you.

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Colour: Yellow.

Element: Fire.

Purpose: Personal self will, energy, strength, self worth, feeling of belonging.

Location: Upper belly, navel.

Sound: RAM.

Crystals: Orange Calcite, Citrine, Amber.

Foods: Warming properties, like ginger, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon. Yellow foods like lemons, pineapple, bananas, yellow squash.

Essential oils: Fennel, Juniper, Lemongrass.

Yoga postures: Arha Matsyendrasana, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, Side lying stretch over bolster. Poses that focus on twisting, and firing up the abdominal are

Living your Intentions

How often do you find yourself moving through life without fully experiencing it? You know those days, when you are driving towards something on auto pilot only to realize you are going the wrong direction. This is all too common in today’s busy world. Over stimulated we end up disconnecting from this human experience and the world around us as a way of coping. The pressures of life become too much and we lose ourselves in just “getting through the day.” What if you slowed down enough to fully experience life? What if you took the time to live with meaningful intentions? To allow your these intentions to guide you into the life you desire? How would this shift your experience here on earth? How would it change your preceptive and expectations? How would this transform your relationships with others?

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So what does it mean to live with intention? Intentions are set forth by your intuition, your deepest desires. It is guided by your heart and pure love, which is for the highest good of yourself and all those around you. Intentions anchor you as you move through life, supporting you as you stay true to your core beliefs and your authentic truth. So how can be live a more meaningful life? How can be begin to experience this deep connections and appreciation for this human experience?

  1. Slow down: It is hard to connect to this way of living if you are moving so fast you don’t have moment to smell the roses. So give yourself permission to take on only as much as you can comfortably handle. It’s ok to say “no” to others and place up boundaries so you can find a healthy balance.
  2. Every morning ask yourself, “What is it I need today?”: Take a few short moments in the morning to write down how your feeling and what your wants/needs are for the day. This is a great way to set a focus for your day. Hold true to the intention by checking in with yourself and reconnect to your vision and goals.
  3. Make your morning intention meaningful: Make sure to take the time to self reflect and get to the core of what it is you truly need. Sometimes we think we need an extra cup of coffee when we really need more sleep. Or we think we need to clean the house and finish the do list, when we really need to take time for self-care so we feel more motivated to do the things that have to be done. So take some time to dig deep… “What is it you need/desire?”, maybe it is love, laughter, quiet, nature, or time journalling. Whatever it is, connect to the feeling of attaining that exact thing. Imagine how it feels to be fulfilled and whole.
  4. Throughout the day make time to experience the little things: When drinking your morning coffee, feel the warmth of the mug against your hands, smell the coffee, and sip it slowly and mindfully. Enjoy that cup of coffee as if it is a moment, an event, an experience. Throughout the day to connect to these experiences using all your senses. Listen to the wind, or touch the leaves on a tree. Take moments to really engage with the people around you, listen attentively and lovingly.
  5. Reconnect: This connections extents into everything and everyone. Taking time to connect to yourself by doing the things that make you feel balanced and happy. Connect to your partner by holding that hug just a bit longer. Connect to your child by listening to what they are feeling underneath the temper tantrum. Connect to the food you eat by making it lovingly. Bless or infuse it with healing energy or reiki. There is such a vibrational difference when someone cooks food with love, or when someone makes you a cup of tea with dried herbs from the garden. It feels more meaningful and the experience is more nurturing and fulfilling. This connections takes time and effort to develop but it gets easier the more you practice. This is the art of mindfulness.
  6. Find gratitude: When we slow down to experience life in this meaningful way, we can’t help but find gratitude for everything. You begin to see the world with new eyes. Smells become more intense, colours more vibrant. You start to notice the little things you never did before and it can feel like you are a child again experiencing everything for the first time. Send out intentions of thanks into the world around you. Thank the sun for shining, the trees for cleaning our air, your husband for his smile and the stranger for their kind words. Living with gratitude heals the deepest of wounds and offers light in situation that are otherwise dark. Learning to cultivate gratitude on a everyday basis is life changing.
  7. Be compassionate: Intentional living takes time to cultivate. When you strengthen this awareness everything comes more easily and you begin to crave this deeper and more meaningful connection. This connection is what feeds the soul in an incredible powerful and life altering way.

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Balancing the Sacral Charka

The sacral charka is all about connecting back to our sensuality. It’s about living life with creative passion and deep desire. When we are balanced in this charka, we feel a healthy sense of confidence in who we are. We are deeply connected to our emotions and find a way to honour ourselves and that beautiful creative flow of energy. We can find ourselves out of balance when we feel we have lost our passion for life and adventure. If you find you are struggling connecting to what fuels that “fire” in your belly this charka is a great one to focus on. Lying down on your back or sitting in a seated meditation posture start by rubbing your hands together to create heat and place your hands on your lower belly. Repeating this mantra in your mind. Imagine with every mindful breath you breathe in fire and every exhale the flames grow larger. Inhaling expand your belly out and exhaling release the belly back down. Imagine your hands are sending healing energy in the colour of orange to this charka. Stay in meditation as long as is needed.

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Colour: Orange.

Element: Water.

Purpose: Pleasure, emotions, passion, sensuality, creativity.

Location: Lower Belly.

Sound: VAM.

Crystals: Carnelian, Sunstone, Aragonite Star Cluster.

Foods: Hydrating foods such as topical fruits, and oranges food such as aprociots, oranges, bell peppers, yams and carrots.

Essential oils: Clary sage, Rosewood, Patchouli.

Yoga postures: Belly down on bolsters, Baddha Konasona, Supta Kapotasana, Supported bridge.

Pre/Post Yoga Snack Ideas

I am a Plant-based yoga teacher which simply means I don’t eat any animal products. One thing I have noticed is I can’t eat huge meals before practicing or teaching yoga, so I have found some yummy snacks for pre/post yoga practices that I really enjoy. These snacks give me energy to teach but are light and do not cause stomach upset. These are snacks that ANYONE can enjoy no matter what your lifestyle is.

Pre yoga practice:

I like to eat at least 1 hour before class to allow the food to settle.

-Having a green smoothie or smoothie bowls packed with lots of plant protein like hemp, chai seeds, nut butters, and LOTS of green is enough keep you going but not over burden the digestive system.

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-Salads and lettuce wraps with protein like organic tofu can be great before and after yoga practice.

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-Veggie soups filled with nutrition are light enough to allow you to move easily throughout your practice.

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-Celery with cashew cheese is SOOOOO good!! Add olives for healthy fats and you have a filling but light snack.

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Post yoga practice:

I work late when I teach so I make sure eat as soon as I get home so I don’t go to bed with a full stomach, to avoid any discomfort and stomach upset. Depending on the size of my pre yoga meal I will chose something to fulfill my nutritional and caloric needs for the day.

-Green juice is packed with minerals and helps to rehydrate the body after practice. Fresh fruit juices like watermelon can help to bring up your electrolytes after a hot class.

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-Fruit is BEST consumed AFTER practice since it digests so quickly it can give you gas and bloating before practice, but after practice it is very hydrating to the body adding in some healthy vitamins and carbs to rebalance the body. Tip: you can add some nut butter or granola to give it more some protein. Note: Adding proteins to fruit can sometimes cause bloating so try it out and see how it works for you.

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-Vegan Bliss balls. You can make these amazing little balls of goodness packed with nutrition, great for after class to get a boast of energy!

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-Loaded oatmeal or protein pancakes. Have this with all the fixings like fruit, coconut milk, nuts and seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes whatever you desire to make it extra special.IMG_6022

These are just a few ideas that has helped me in my recovery. It has been a slow and steady process of finding a healthy balance and fuelling my body so I can do all the things I truly love, like teaching yoga.

Balancing the Root Charka

The root chakra is about feeling secure and safe, having all our essential needs met. It’s about feeling protected, nourished, supported and grounded in your authentic truth. This chakra becomes out of balance when we feel a sense of “lack.” Worrying about money, or how we are going to support ourselves or our family can be leave us feeling far from grounded. If you are struggling with these feelings, this mantra is perfect for you. Find a comfortable seated position and imagine you have roots growing deep into the earth, repeating this mantra throughout your meditation practice. You can use prayer beads to guide you through this practice, or use ujjayi breath to help anchor you to the earth. Imagine on every inhale you are growing your branches upward and on every exhale your roots are growing deeper into the earth grounding you in every way you need.

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Colour: Red.

Element: Earth.

Purpose: Support, foundation, stability, safety, grounded,meeting your essential needs.

Location: Pelvis.

Sound: LAM.

Crystals: Red Jasper, Hematite, Black Tourmaline.

Foods: Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, onions. Red foods such as strawberries, and tomatoes.

Essential oils: Ginger, Cypress, Sandalwood.

Yoga postures: Legs up the wall, Wide-legged forward fold with support, Tree pose. Poses that create a sense of grounding and stability.

 

Vegan pancake recipe

We love having pancakes on the weekends as a special breakfast treat or even for a weekday “breakfast supper” as my kids like to call it. We have played with these ingredients and come up with a recipe that is healthy, packed with goodness and tastes AMAZING!! This recipe feeds a family of five hungry people and also can be used in a waffle maker if you chose to change up the texture.

We absolutely love our Vitamin blender and use it for this recipe, however you can use any high speed blender, food processor or a hand mixer. Because we have the Vitamix blender we like to make our own oat flour in the dry mixer, but you can also buy oat flour to make this recipe more accessible to everyone.

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Ingredients:

3 cups of oat flour

1/3 cup of hemp seeds

1/3 cup of ground flax seeds

2TBSP of coconut oil

3 1/2 cups of coconut milk

2 mashed bananas

1 blended fresh apple (or 1/2 cup of apple sauce)

1TBSP of cinnamon powder

1TSP of baking powder

2TSP of vanilla extract

Start by thoroughly mixing all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then add in bananas, coconut oil, apple sauce or a blended up fresh apple, vanilla and coconut milk. Pour milk in slowly till you get the right consistency, thick but pourable. NOTE: As the ground flax seeds gel you will need to add more coconut milk to thin it out.  At this time they are ready to cook on a stove top until golden brown. Top with your favourite ingredients like nut butter, fruit, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and of course we wouldn’t be a true Canadian without maple syrup!!! Enjoy this recipe with your loved ones!

Cleansing, charging and dedicating your crystals

When purchasing crystals it essential to understand the importance of cleansing, dedicating and charging them before and in between uses. Picking your crystal can be done intuitively honouring which ones you are naturally drawn to. You can also search for ones that may helps with the specific situation or condition you are experiencing. Once you come home with your crystals it’s important to cleansing them of any energies that may have attached itself to it from others who have come into contact with it.

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My favourite method of cleansing stones is done with burning sage and holding the crystal in the smoke. Other methods included placing it under running water or soaking in salt water just be mindful that water does damage some crystals so do your research. You can also cleanse the stones using other stones such as selenite. This can be done by placing them in the same bowl or waving a selenite wand over the crystals as a way to clear the energies.

Charging your crystals can be done by burying them in the earth and allowing the frequency of the earth to tune them. You can also charge them in the full moon or sunlight just be mindful the the sun can damage some precious stones.

Dedicating your stones can be done by using them in meditation, saying a mantra or prayer over them or placing reiki energy in them. The act of taking the time to do this set the intention forth that these healing tools will be used in a way the is for the highest good for yourself and others you may choose to use them on.

Hope that gives some simple and basic ideas for how to cleanse, charge and dedicate your crystals. Remember to cleanse in between uses especially when using it during meditation or a healing session. This allows the stones to release any heavy energy and return to its high vibrational state clear of any interference.

Ukrainian inspired beet salad

This is a vegan Ukrainian inspired beet salad I created for my family. It has all the comforts of my heritage with a healthy spin, lots of garlic and dill. I serves this as a meal but you can also have it as a side dish. This recipes feed a family of five people (two adults, three children) with a little left overs.

Start by washing, peeling and cutting up three large beets into bite size pieces placing it on a baking sheet and drizzle a few tablespoons of maple syrup over the top of it. Next wash, and cut up three cups of mixed baby potatoes and place on another baking sheet massaging a little coconut oil, fresh chopped dill, salt and pepper on it. Bake at 350 until cooked (about 20mins depending on how big the pieces are).

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Dressing:

2TBSP of olive oil

2TBSP of balsamic vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

2TBSP of maple syrup

1/2 tsp of garlic salt

1tsp of Italian seasoning

1tsp of garlic powder

 

To make salad dressing, combine all ingredients into a small bowl and them massage into the mixed greens.

 

Vegan seed cheese

1/2 cup of soaked (soaked in water for 1-2 hours) sunflower seeds

1/4 cup of hemp seeds

1/2TBSP of dijon mustard

1TBSP of Italian seasoning

1TBSP of red wine vinegar

Juice of the other half of the lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4tsp of onion salt

1/2tsp of garlic salt

1 chopped garlic clove (optional)

2 TBSP of chopped fresh dill

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In a high speed blender combine all ingredients for vegan cheese EXCEPT the dill. Add water slowly starting with 1/4 cup and increasing until you have the a think smooth cheesy texture. Once mixed, pour in bowl and add the fresh chopped dill.

Place the mixed greens on the bottom, then add in the roasted beets and potatoes. Top the salad with 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion, and 2TBSP of pumpkin seeds. When ready to serve add in as much vegan cheese as you would like.