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Healthy skin seems to still elude us…even though we have a bazillion options nowadays, it seems like we still haven’t figured out the proper way to be clean. Ultimately, what I’ve learned is that bacteria isn’t necessarily always the bad guy. It’s actually a part of the human ecosystem, and sterility isn’t natural for our bodies.

That’s why I was really excited to try out the Mother Dirt products.

Mother Dirt products help maintain a balanced microbiome on the skin. What’s a microbiome, you ask?  To the Wikipedia-mobile we go!

“Many scientific articles distinguish microbiome and microbiota to describe either the collective genomes of the microorganisms that reside in an environmental niche or the microorganisms themselves, respectively…The microbes are generally non-pathogenic (they do not cause disease unless they grow abnormally); they exist in harmony and symbiotically with their hosts.[19] The microbiome and host may have emerged as a unit by the process of integration.”

The products are for men and women, and can improve hydration, balance oil production, soothe skin, and even improve body odor. Some users have found that they have been able to cut down or cut out other cosmetic products like soap, deodorants, and moisturizers because their bodies were finding a happier balance by using these products.

What caught my eye about the Mother Dirt products was first the name, and with it that the whole idea of DIRT is a good thing.

I believe that being outside, with nature, and getting some dirt on your body is a healthy thing. I try to encourage as much outdoor play as possible for my kids and have recently realized that I too need to spend more time outdoors.

Being outdoors helps ground me, and gives me a more grounded emotional feeling. And let me tell you, what with all of the moving, back to school, and other big changes in my life – I for one welcome balance with both arms open wide!

So on the whole idea of grounding and balance, I asked my dear friend, Rebecca Anne, to come on over and give me some guidance.

Rebecca is a Rhode Island based yoga teacher who teaches several classes each week and gives individual yoga lessons. I was telling her about how each morning I wake up with a busy mind – my to-do lists start running wild, and I often feel anxious even before I put my feet on the floor out of my bed.

This is NOT an ideal way to start the day, right?

So I asked her to come up with some yoga routines that could help other people, who like me, could use a little help feeling more balanced and calm to start off their days. These postures can be done inside, or outside, by yourself or with the little ones at your feet.

So, without further adieu, here is what Rebecca Anne, yoga teacher extraordinaire, showed me:

First, start in child’s pose. While you are here, breathe, and set your intention. Becky told me to think of “bringing in the good.”

Focus on the breath. Because your chest and thighs are touching you can literally feel the change. Feel the lower belly expand toward the thighs and then have the air travel up to your diaphragm and spread up to the whole body.

Feel what its like to breathe.

Allow your focus to not be on your to-do list, or the drop offs, pick ups, but rather on  the simple action of breathing.

Breathing is an involuntary act – in other words, we do it without thinking. But sometimes bringing attention to the breathe makes all the difference in the world. Find yourself resting into this position, and then begin your intention for the day.

It can be simple, it doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as “I’d like to smile today.” or “I’d like to send well wishes to someone today.” or “I’m going to make today a good day.” Or” I’ll laugh at the challenge.”

Whatever that intention might be. It can be different every day.

After child’s pose, walk onto your hands and get into table top.  Then transition into cat/cow. Let the belly come down, and your gaze can lift up for cat. Feel the movement in the spine. On an exhale, round through the back.

You can have your eyes open or closed.

Shake the head side to side too to help alleviate tension in the tops of your shoulders – because we tend to slouch forward.

This will help open your chest.

Then move into downward dog.

Hands are shoulder distance apart, curl your toes under behind you, and lift your hips so it is like an upside down V.

This is the spot where you can move your head around in any direction to gain more focus and relaxation in your neck.  Bend your knees down to the floor to lift your hips even more, so that you are really feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs.

This pose is very honest with you and your body. It will help show you where you are tight and where you hold your tension. It opens your chest, back and backs of legs.

From here, walk forward, knees bent so you can rest your chest on the tops of your thighs and rest in a forward fold.

Whenever your head is below your heart, it can cool you down. Thus, this position is going to engage the calming nature instead of all of the adrenaline. So anytime you need to cool down, fold forward and bring your head below your heart.

From here, bring your hands to your hips, press into your feet and slowly lift up. Lift up using your belly and your legs.

Now you are standing, and we will go into a simple mountain pose.

Stand with your arms by your sides and turn your hands out. Press down into your feet and stand tall.
The ideas is to be tall and strong – essentially creating roots down into the floor.

Raise your arms up overhead into upward salute.

Here, all you need to do is create length.

You can look up toward the ceiling or keep the chin in a neutral position.

When you have settled into that position, it’s time to move your arms side to side like you are picking apples out of a tree.

Create space in your whole body – legs, arms and chest.

Then go back straight and onto the other side.

Lengthen your body, and open up to create space for your lungs and your diaphragm.

Now press into the outside of the leg  and outside of your arm.

Interlace your fingers, into what Becky calls “Charlie’s Angels” – but they are traditionally called “Side Bends.” Spread your feet a little apart, and tip over to one side. Let the hips go to one side and the arms go into another.

If all you do is give more attention to breathing, you have done your job!

Now if you only have five minutes for this yoga exercise (like I often do — mornings are busy after all!) You can finish up by ending with Shavasana…aka the resting pose!  My lower back often bothers me, so Becky recommended that I actually do this pose with my knees bent to help some of the tension.

You can do Yoga outside too – and it works even better.  There’s nothing like the warm breeze to help you breathe and focus on your breath even more.

So by using Mother Dirt products and fitting in even a five-minute yoga routine into my day, I know that I’m being a bit kinder to my body.
So my advice is to go outside, play and get a little dirty! (and if you head on over to the Mother Dirt website, be sure to use my coupon code CBMARY25 )

Talk soon, friends!