Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness

In our rushed, hectic, go-go-go modern world, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. But this one body is all each of us has to make it through an entire lifetime. What we do to our bodies – the stress we subject them to, the damage we do to the muscles and ligaments – stays with us every waking moment. We owe it to ourselves to nurture this delicate vehicle which moves us through our world.

Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness provides a step by step recipe for calm and healing. Author Lisa Shea has been following this practice for a decade and over time has tweaked and polished the steps until each one resonates with serenity.

Study after study finds that yoga helps with lower back pain, depression, energy levels, balance, post-traumatic stress, focus, sleep, and much more. Whether you need to reset after a busy day or wish to have more joy in your daily life, yoga can help. It nurtures your body and embraces your soul.

Join us to take that first step forward into a healthier, happier you.

Namaste.

This book Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness is intended to be free on all systems, to help those who are in need of support find a step toward a more contented life. If the system you are currently on requires a charge to download, all author’s proceeds will benefit battered women’s shelters.

If you have never done yoga at all, I highly recommend you start with a live human being helping you in person. That person can ensure you hold the poses in a healthy, safe way. If you don’t have access to a human, at least use a video of some sort to see the poses in motion. It’s like learning the harp or learning to swim – you need to see how the whole body moves. My book then helps you understand my personal sequence of poses, to create an atmosphere of stress relief and forgiveness.

Feel free to contact Lisa if you have any questions about her routine – she’s happy to help!

FREE! Get Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness on Amazon

Tibetan Sandalwood Wrist Mala Bracelet for Meditation

I nearly always wear a sandalwood mala bracelet. Certainly I wear it when I meditate, but I wear it the rest of the time to remind myself to be mindful. To be compassionate. To treat others as I would want to be treated myself.

Sandalwood is a gently fragrant wood and the smell, also, triggers those kinds of restful emotions. Sandalwood is one of those fragrances which can last a long while. Just rub or handle the beads to draw the scent out of it again. Note that it’s not an overpowering scent, like you might get from burning incense. It’s fairly subtle – but it’s there when you bring your hands to your face.

Some people use a mala bracelet to recite prayers or meditations one after another. They count each recital with a bead. Other people use the bracelet as a whole as a reminder token.

View the Tibetan Sandalwood Wrist Mala Bracelet for Meditation on Amazon

Compassion Meditation Instructions

Study after study finds that we can improve our levels of compassion and empathy by practicing a regular compassion meditation. How does one do that?

Find somewhere quiet to sit or lie down. The pose does not matter as much as being comfortable does. If you have medical issues and cannot sit cross-legged on the floor, that is quite fine. Sit on a chair. Lie down on a bed. Whatever works for you to be comfortable.

Close your eyes.

Think about someone you love dearly. Think about how you care for them. Think about how you wish them to have all the happiness and joy in the world. Dwell on this thought.

Now move to someone who is slightly distant from you. Maybe a family member who is not quite as close. Think loving thoughts to them. Wish them well. Imagine them content.

If this is as far as you get the first time, that is great! This is all about practice. It’s about building up your skills.

The next time you do it, first start again with those closest to you. Then, after them, think of someone a bit more distant. Maybe a good friend. Wish them love, peace, and happiness.

The idea is that each time you work on this you go a bit further. You focus on someone a bit further out from your immediate sphere. You practice realizing that these people, too, deserve love. They deserve compassion. They are shouldering a lot. We are all humans with short life spans struggling to figure out our world.

The more we realize that we are all one culture, all doing our best on the Earth, the more compassion we foster. The more at peace we become with what we have.

Tree of Life Art – Fair Trade from Haiti

The tree of life is a symbol found in many of the world’s cultures. It represents how our world is wholly interconnected – the leaves and the roots, the large and the small. This metal wall hanging depicting the tree of life is a fair trade creation from Haiti.

Amazingly, these trees are created from recycled steel drum oil barrels. It’s pretty phenomenal to think that something so simple can then create this beautiful work of art.

Haiti is one of the most impoverished places around, and the residents there often have few opportunities to better themselves. By supporting fair trade artists, you allow the residents of Haiti to support themselves and their family members.

I have several metal art items from Haiti in my own home. Every time I look at them I’m reminded to be grateful for all that I have, and that I live in a place which has afforded me opportunities not found in many other places.

The tree is 23 x 23 x 1 inches.

View the Tree of Life Art – Fair Trade from Haiti on Amazon

Blue Shoulder Bag – Fair Trade

The Om symbol represents the sacred sound of the soul within us all. This beautiful blue shoulder bag is decorated with that om symbol and is a fair trade product as well.

The design repeats all around the bag with the om, a wheel, and other similar shapes. The strap is long and sturdy. There’s a zippered pocket as well to hold a wallet or cellphone.

The purse itself is 13 inches wide by 15 inches tall. The strap is 18 inches of drop.

A great way to carry your belongings – it’s both delightfully stylish and also a reminder to be mindful about all we do each day.

View the Blue Shoulder Bag on Amazon.com

How Do You Know Something is Really Fair Trade?

You’re in a farmer’s market and you see a beautiful handbag in turquoise that you adore. The bag is labelled as fair trade. How do you know if the bag is really fair trade or not?

Fair trade can be a tricky thing. It’s not like something saying 100% cotton where either it is or it isn’t. Fair trade is a more nebulous concept. Unless you know the people actually making the item, you have to trust a middle-man to accurately tell you where the item came from and how it was made.

One of the best places to go for more information is:

https://www.fairtrade.net/

This is an international organization which works to ensure that fair trade happens. It lets a consumer research companies which claim to be fair trade companies. There are also a variety of ways to support fair trade there.

The best way to know, of course, is to look more into who you’re working with. Do some research. See if you can talk to people involved.

When you can buy local, you can be personally diligent about who you are supporting. It can be trickier when buying from somewhere further away – but that is rewarding as well. We are all in one big world and there are parts of our Earth where people begin life at an enormous disadvantage. Providing fair trade opportunities can help those people with education, food, and shelter.

Whale Paper Garland – Fair Trade Handcrafted in Nepal

I love whales. These majestic animals are intelligent, care about their community, and are at risk. We used to hunt them to extinction simply to light our homes and carve some figurines. We’re getting better about that now, although there is still clearly a long way to go. There’s only 100 Western Pacific gray whales left in the world. It can take a whale ten years or more before it becomes able to have children of its own. This long life cycle, coupled with all the risks whales still face in our modern world, means we have to treasure the whales we have left to us.

This paper garland celebrating whales is six feet long and features about sixteen whales along its length. The whales are of a variety of colors and vary from strand to strand, just like real whales vary. The paper itself is handmade! It comes from the Daphne Bush, which is a local Nepal plant.

This fair trade product is made by Women’s Cooperatives in Nepal. The production allows these women to take care of their families and lead a better life.

Add some whales to your home or office – and celebrate the beauty of our natural world!

Whale Paper Garland from Amazon

Crocheted Octopus Rattle Fair Trade from Bangladesh

There is just something about an octopus. They’re incredibly intelligent. Have you ever watched those videos where they figure out how to navigate a maze or how to get in and out of incredibly tiny places? They are escape artists. And they are compassionate. A family once rescued an octopus which had gotten stranded on a beach. It came back the next day to say thank you to them.

This delightful octopus has a rattle inside it and is perfect for a baby or young child. Heck, it’s perfect for us adults, too! It’s teal and sea green with delicate stripes. It’s hand made with crochet.

The artisans who make these octopuses live in Bangladesh and are paid a living wage. It is a fair trade community. It helps the community support itself.

Did you know that the plural of octopus is not octopi? That’s because the word octopus comes from Greek, not Latin. And it’s Latin that was fond of all those I endings.

Grab a few octopuses for your own home and family!

Crocheted Octopus Rattle on Amazon

Ocarina Whistle – Hand Painted Fair Trade from Peru

I loved playing the Zelda game Ocarina of Time. The more I played it, the more I wanted an ocarina for my very own. I ended up buying some cheap plastic one and not using it much.

Now that I’m a bit older, I’ve come to treasure the concept of fair trade. I also love things which connect me to happy memories. These beautifully hand-painted ocarinas are perfect in both regards. Plus, you can of course play them!

They come in a variety of bright colors – red, blue, yellow, teal. The designs are gorgeous. They are generally abstract with triangles, diamonds and lines. To me they look like Ukrainian Easter eggs, which adds to their appeal since I am half Ukrainian and always had those around the house.

I’m not sure I would buy these for a tiny child to simply toss around in the toybox. They’re too pretty for that. Get the young toddlers the plastic variety and get one of these for yourself. You can display it on a shelf, enjoying its beauty, and then take it down occasionally to toot along with a song.

Well recommended.

Ocarina Whistle – Hand Painted Fair Trade from Peru on Amazon

What Is a Living Wage?

When you’re researching fair trade products, and supporting small artisans, you often hear the term living wage. Just what is a living wage, and how much is it in actual money?

First, let’s discuss the concept of a living wage. A living wage is the sense that the worker is being paid enough to be able to afford food to eat. A place to stay. Electricity for their lights. It’s not about the person living a life of luxury. It’s not about cable TV or a car or anything else like that. It’s simply about the person being able to stay fed and dry. About having clothes to wear, even if they are second-hand.

You might think that this is a normal thing for people to want. But in many underdeveloped countries, the industrial nations go in, set up factories, and then hire people for pennies an hour. The workers slave away under horrific conditions, often enduring abuse and damaging their bodies. And yet they’re not even paid enough to get food to eat. We’re not talking about lobster and filet mignon. We’re just talking about rice or beans.

That’s why we’re trying to provide options. We’re offering tasks that people can do that are valuable, worthwhile, safe, and healthy. This isn’t about charity. It’s about the way life used to be before corporations swooped in to abuse people. About having people do something of value and being paid fairly for their efforts.

So then the question is – just how much is a living wage in actual numbers?

This varies from country to country and even from region to region. The amount of money it costs to get the rock-bottom cheapest apartment in a city might be different from the amount of money for that same option in a rural village. Someone who has the ability to grow vegetables in their back yard might have an easier time with food, compared with someone in an inner city where they have no access to soil at all.

Bangladesh is usually a country quoted as having some of the world living wages in the world. The average wage there per month was only US $38 in 2012. That means many people struggled to live on less than that! You might think, “Oh but things must be cheaper in Bangladesh” – but the point of a US equivalent value is that the buying power is fairly equivalent. Imagine if you lived where you are now and only had $38 for an entire month to buy food, never mind anything else. How much food could you buy? Would it be nutritious? How could you afford clothes to wear? You couldn’t even afford to buy fabric to MAKE clothes.

That’s why helping everyone have a living wage is so critical. It’s good from a social point of view – and it’s even good from a financial point of view. If people are stable and able to support themselves, they can buy goods that other people produce. Their products can be used by people who need them. It’s always better for a society to have everyone fully engaged to their potential.