Oh Honey, Thanks For the Honey (with lemon in hot water)

Last week I was feeling really run down with a cold. Feeling sick is never fun but it feels especially awful for a mom (at least it does for me). When I’m sick, I really just want to revert to being a child and have someone take care of me. However, as an adult and especially as a parent, the harsh reality is that life for the most part must go on. There are jobs to do, lunches to pack and seemingly constant sibling bickering and quarrels to manage.  And so sick or not, last week I had to pick myself up out of bed and sniffle through the day. I made breakfasts, packed lunches and counted down the minutes until I could drop my kids off at school and return to bed (albeit with my computer in an attempt to get the minimum amount of work done).

woman sick in bed flu cold_thumb[1
This is exactly how I felt last night. Thanks http://www.beautyandgroomingtips.com for the image
I had a hard “poor me” kind of week and although there were few redeeming things about it, one of the small things that got me through was the hot honey lemon water that my dear husband had ready for me each morning. This was his small way of saying sorry that you’re sick, I wish I could help out more but I really need to leave for work now.  And although I irrationally loathed him at the time for walking out the door, I loved my cozy mug of soothing goodness so much that I managed to move on.

Such a simple and soothing remedy! Hot Water with honey and lemon. Comfort in a cup.

Since cold and flu season is officially upon us, I wanted to share this simple yet very effective remedy. Chances are you’re already quite familiar with it, either from your grandparents or parents recommending it through the years or because you’ve actually tried it and loved it as much as I do. The soothing remedies of hot water with honey and lemon are real, not just an old wives’ tale. According to the Mayo Clinic, this remedy may help reduce the soreness and irritation of a sore throat, and be an effective remedy for cough. Last week, my throat felt more soothed with each sip, and unlike medicine, water with honey and lemon is something you can drink all day long and you absolutely should to stay hydrated. The other awesome benefit for me was the soothing aromatherapy that came with it. To help clear my congestion, I cupped my hands around the top of the steaming mug and inhaled the goodness.

Not to snub lemon but honey really is an amazing ingredient. It has antioxidant and antimicrobial effects and sweetness that stimulates salivation which releases mucus in the airways and naturally relieves coughing.  But don’t settle for just any honey — opt for local, raw honey whenever possible. Most of the honey sold in stores has been heated and pasteurized, which destroys many of the enzymes and beneficial compounds that make raw honey so nutritious. Raw honey is left in its natural state and therefore contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds. And, you have probably heard some of the research around the benefits of “local” honey — there is evidence that honey obtained as close as possible to where you live, may help build an immunity to some seasonal allergies. I always try to buy my raw honey at my local farmer’s market, direct from the source.

Yummy raw honey. So good for so many things!

Boil a cup of water, then stir in 2 tbsp. of honey. Squeeze a small amount of fresh lemon juice in the mixture to taste. Add more lemon juice, honey, or hot water to taste. Drink and let the mixture soothe your throat, cut mucus and suppress your cough.

I’m on such a water with honey and lemon kick that I’ve continued to drink it in the morning even though I’m feeling great again. Lucky for me, there are many other reasons that this mixture is good for your health and next week I’ll write about my favorites.

Paddle Board Yoga — I Absolutely Love It!

Two weeks ago I tried my first  Paddle Board Yoga class and absolutely loved it! Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga, also known as waterborne yoga is yoga taught on the water on floating boards. Fun, right? Well, I do love yoga but between the thought of exercising in a bathing suit and being on a surf board surrounded by water, I wasn’t so sure. Lucky for me, I live in San Francisco, where the weather is mild and the water is freezing, so when I called to ask what I should wear to class I was told that a bathing suit was in fact NOT appropriate and that I should wear my regular yoga gear; I liked SUP Yoga more already!

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to my class in Sausalito was beautiful and peaceful — it’s rare that I’m driving without my kids in the back so the silence combined with the gorgeous day and glistening water of the bay had me savoring every minute. As I parked my car, the reality of trying something new, that would likely be pretty challenging, had me feeling a bit apprehensive. I still needed to embrace my impending reality of standing on a surfboard surrounded by water.

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge — The No U Turn sign captured exactly how I was feeling 🙂

While I waited for class to begin I mingled with a few other students and felt a bit better as I noted that several of us were first-timers. The instructor kicked-off class and successfully eased us into the experience, taking the time to explain the equipment and letting us warm up by paddling around the Bay. Once I was on the board and paddling in the Bay, I began to relax and feel centered — the magic of exercising while in harmony with the sea and sun was already exhilarating.

As the yoga portion of the class began I quickly realized how even the simplist yoga postures take on an added intensity on the board.  The board on the water really challenges your balance, it’s constantly wobbly and taps into different muscle groups than traditional mat yoga. Moving out of one pose and into another is also more challenging — just staying still is challenging. While it was hard to adapt to the continuous motion and instability created by weight shifts on the board and movement of the water, this is also what allowed me to focus in a much deeper way than traditional yoga where my mind constantly wanders. Your entire being is switched on every minute while practicing yoga techniques on a board.  Every movement must be done with more intent and concentration. If you miscalculate your center you’re not only likely to fall out of a pose but chances are you will land in the water (which happened to me!).

SUP Yoga. Image courtesy of On Board SUP in Sausalito, CA
SUP Yoga. Image courtesy of On Board SUP in Sausalito, CA

Doing SUP yoga in the Pacific waters of Northern California has many advantages beyond the weather and invitation to wear “regular yoga gear”. The audience in the water consists of boisterous sea lions and the sky is full of glorious birds. During the final part of class, Savasana, I laid back, listened to the symphony of sea lions, birds and rippling water and watched the clouds roll by. The breathtaking beauty of it all literally soothed my soul.

ahhhh Savasana SUP style

The complete experience gave me an adrenalin rush — like a roller coaster ride for a yoga mom 🙂 My last comparable experience to this “first” was learning how to snowboard 15 years ago. I fell trying both activities but with both I also experienced a rare drive where my body took control of my mind, my face was beaming and I couldn’t get up fast enough to try again. With both activities, the only remedy for a fall is to refocus and then get back on board and try again. Many people would see these two sports as on completely different ends of the spectrum, however what resonates for me, with these glorious outdoor activities, is being surrounded by beauty and nature and the requirement of both to be centered and focussed. Be it in the Sierras or the San Francisco Bay, I am a girl who loves the open air and the simple pleasures of being surrounded by the beauty of nature. To exercise in a gym feels like work to me but to be outside automatically brings an element of fun and a sense of spirituality.

Feeling awesome after class!

Sup Yoga is one of the coolest outdoor activities I have ever done!  Even for non-yoga folks, I highly recommend trying it. It’s an amazing full-body workout (in the middle of paradise) that leaves you feeling refreshed and exhilarated. I will certainly be trying it again soon and next time I will remember to bring a change of clothes — “regular yoga gear” may provide more coverage than a bathing suit but it doesn’t mean that you’ll stay dry.