Maintain Your Car to Help Cut Fuel Costs

Taking good care of your car can save you money on gas and costly repairs. maintain your car to save moneyFollow these maintenance suggestions and driving tips to help extend the life of your vehicle while limiting fuel consumption.

Perform Regular Maintenance

According to Transport Canada, drivers could end up paying as much as 15 cents more per litre of fuel if their vehicle is poorly maintained. Have your vehicle aligned, spark plugs replaced, brakes inspected and the oil changed routinely. Also check the tire pressure at least once a month. Tire inflation can vary at different temperatures and properly inflated tires are safer and more fuel-efficient.

Avoid Aggressive Driving

Frequent braking and hard acceleration create wear on your vehicle and consume more fuel than driving at a steady pace. Set your cruise control on highways to keep speeds consistent—between 50 and 80 kilometres per hour (km/h) is typically best for fuel efficiency. Defensive driving also can help prevent sudden braking and acceleration. Natural Resources Canada recommends taking five seconds to accelerate to 20 km/h from a stop.

Drive Smart

Small measures can keep the engine from working too hard and reduce fuel usage. Use the overdrive gear and remove excessive weight and unused racks to make your car lighter and more aerodynamic. Also avoid idling longer than 60 seconds. In some Canadian cities, excessive idling is even against the law. During colder weather, use a block heater to warm up your vehicle rather than letting the car idle.

Limit Your Driving

Keep the car in the garage to curb fuel consumption and avoid putting unnecessary kilometres on the odometer. Before grabbing the keys, ask yourself if there’s another option, such as public transportation or walking. If you have to drive, maximize efficiency by combining many short errands into one longer errand. Driving less than five kilometres doesn’t allow your car to reach peak operating temperature, which causes it to burn more gas.

By SFLCAuthor

Provided to me by Martin Lee
My wonderful and helpful State Farm Insurance Agent

Fresh Ideas for a Spa at Home

By Andrea Ellsworth Natural Beauty Consultant

Most of us would love to treat ourselves to a weekly day at the spa, but what if you lack the time or the money to indulge on a regular basis?

A bit of pampering every once in a while will help you feel more balanced in your life and allows you to better nurture those around you. Creating your own mini home spa is simple and affordable. Once you set it up, it will be a cinch to recreate as often as you like.

The first thing you will need to do to create your at home oasis is to de-clutter your surroundings. Take the time to remove excess items lying around and clean up any distracting messes. (Trust me taking this time to do this will be much appreciated when you can relax in peace without looking at all the chores you have to do.)

After tidying up any distractions you will now need to turn off any distractions including all electronics (yes even the cell phone, laptop and tv).

Whether it is a daily, weekly, or monthly indulgence, here are six steps to creating your own luxurious at home spa:

1. Decide on a theme. It can be relaxing to induce a restful night’s sleep or rejuvenating to re-gain some much depleted energy either way you will de-stress and feel more balanced.

2. Incorporate aromatherapy and herbs. For a relaxing experience you will want to incorporate mid to base note oils such as sandalwood and Rose Otto into your bath oil, and choose tea blends containing lavender or chamomile. If you want an uplifting experience I would recommend bergamot, lemon or other citruses into your bath oils. As for an uplifting tea blend try lemon balm or a ginger tea or even a tea containing ginseng as it works as a general tonic to increase energy and resistance to stress.

3. Set the mood. Depending on the mood you want to create, choose between tranquil slow tempo music or nature sounds for relaxing or a more stimulating instrumental for energizing as your auditory background. For both relaxing and energizing themes you will still want to light several candles around your treatment area and make the room temperature suited to your comfort level- think about what makes you feel the most relaxed or uplifted, if you have the advantage of a fireplace (electric or real)- this is always a nice touch.

4. Get Comfy. Set yourself up with a pile of big, fluffy towels, bathrobe and comfy slippers. You’ll want at least one extra large towel for your body and another towel for your hair. There is nothing better than a plush, luxurious towel for your home spa experience. If you don’t already have; invest in this is a one-time expense that will make you feel pampered each time you get out of the bath.

5. Prepare your facial treatment. Try creating handmade natural face mask from kitchen ingredients such as avocado and honey for rich moisturizing mask. Avocado is extremely rich in EFA’s and will nourish the skin, while honey acts as a humectant drawing the moisture into the skin. For a more oily or blemished skin try mixing a natural face lotion with some green clay creating a paste to draw out impurities.

6. Prepare your body treatment. If you don’t already own a sisal body brush, this is an inexpensive investment that will literally last forever and treat your body like a million bucks each and every time. For skin in need of nourishment you will want to use rich oils such as an Almond or Sesame mixed with Avocado for easier absorption. If cellulite is a concern you will want to incorporate specialty oils such as Sea Buckthorn.

The Treatment:

Light the candles and turn on the music and begin to draw your bath at body temperature (too hot is unnecessary and causes dehydration). Start with dry brushing your body – working in long light strokes towards the heart. Once you have completed dry brushing, wash your face with warm water and a natural cleanser following with an application of your facial mask. Next, sink into your aroma therapeutic bath and appreciate the sensory journey and quiet time to yourself for at least 20-30 minutes. Once the time for your home spa has come to an end, dry off with your luxurious towels and rinse off the facial mask. Then take time to give yourself a massage, kneading and working your fingertips in circular motions as you apply your body oil from head to toe.

Conclude your experience by wrapping yourself in your soft robe and enjoying a cup of herbal tea and spend the remainder of your time relaxing in a comfy candle lit area to complete your homemade spa experience.

**Please remember to discuss the use of your herbs and essential oils with your natural health care practitioner prior to creating your at home spa to ensure the appropriate dilution of essential oils as well as to ensure that the herbs you intend to use will not have contra indications to your current health care. **

Fit Rich Wise sends a big thank to : Andrea Ellsworth, Owner of

YOUR URBAN YOGI- YOGA + SPA + EVENTS for this wonderful article

www.yoururbanyogi.com

10 tips for practicing yoga at home

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Practicing yoga at home has never been easier.  If you are a beginner to yoga or relatively new and want to establish an at home yoga practice, it is important to do some groundwork before jumping into the fray.  To prevent injury and maximize the power of your yogic experience, careful preparation and modest investments can make learning yoga at home viable, efficient, and fun.

Here are ten tips to help you establish an at-home yoga practice.

1)  Create a space

Set aside a space dedicated to your yoga practice.  Make sure it is free from furniture that could create a hazard to you as you do various yoga asana.  Your yoga space should be clean and serene.  Decorate it with images and objects that create a peaceful and sacred feeling in your heart.  

2) Invest in tools of the trade

If you do not already have a yoga sticky mat, purchase one.  There are yoga mats for every budget and taste.  A mat cleaner will keep your mat smelling fresh after tough workouts.  Make sure you have two blocks and a strap for modifications and consider getting a yoga blanket.  Not only will they keep you warm when you relax in savasana but they can also be rolled up to help you modify poses.  You may need two bolsters for under your knees, and you will probably want at least one style of zafu or meditation cushion.

3) Carefully prevent injury

If your grandmother told you that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, she was right.  When you practice yoga at home, it is your job to make sure that you don’t injury yourself.  Keep your space clear  of obstacles like furniture and children’s toys, and if possible, do your yoga in a room with hardwood floors.  Soft surfaces can injury joints and thick carpet makes balancing difficult.  Lifeboard is a hard surface that you can put on top of carpeting to make a transportable yoga floor if necessary.

Christel Pierron (Seva Simran Kaur), an experienced teacher of Hatha Yoga, YogaDance, and Kundalini Yoga in Cape Cod, cautions, “Never force a posture. If you are going to tip over your edge, it is better to have a teacher who can watch you and help you go further.  At home, take it easy.  Don’t compete with your body. Love your body, nurture your body, and be present. Be present, warm up, fully get into the poses you know…that is how an at home practice should be.  More difficult poses should be in a class, where your teacher can make a safe environment for you.”

4) Choose your yoga style

There are so many styles of yoga to choose from that it can be a little daunting at first.  But rather than be overwhelmed, be excited!  There are so many forms to choose from that if you don’t like one, you have several others to test out.  Hatha yoga is the most common form of yoga, but there are several schools of Hatha yoga to choose from.  Pierron recommends that beginners try something like Iyengar yoga or Kripalu yoga to help them learn the mechanics of a pose.  If dynamic movement and deep meditation is your true love, Kundalini Yoga might be the perfect style for you. Shop around for teachers and styles that appeal to you, so that you know what will inspire you at home.

5) Get Instruction

Once you find a style and a teacher you like, go to a few yoga classes.  Then you can develop yourself privately.  You can work with a teacher to find a series appropriate for you to do at home. Says Pierron, “Nothing replaces a teacher giving you personal instruction.”

6) Do further research

If you cannot find a teacher in your area, or if you want to further educate yourself about yoga, invest in some yoga books or flash cards.  They are handy references to have while learning about the finer points of asana.  Magazines such as Yoga Journal can provide inspiration and a feeling of connection to a larger yoga community.

The internet is a wealth of resources for an at home yoga practice.  You can go onto Itunes and find a yoga podcast that works for your level and interests.  You can also join an online yoga club such as Gaiam Yoga club, which will give you access to videos, podcasts and guides with master teachers Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman-Yee.  You can join Yoga Glo which films their yoga classes and allows you to participate from home.  I Yoga Life has many videos that you can watch and participate with that are appropriate for a variety of levels.

Purchasing some yoga DVDs with master instructors can help you take your practice to the next level.  Rodney Yee is an excellent source of instruction for Hatha yoga.  If you fall in love with Ashtanga yoga and want to create a solid at home practice without having a lot of time, a video such as David Swenson’s Short Forms is a wonderful resource.  Vinyasa yoga is a more fluid and often physically demanding form of yoga, but a Shiva Rea video might be just the ticket for your at home practice.  If Kundalini Yoga is where your heart is, try a video by Gurmukh.

7)  Take your yoga with you

Even when you are not at home, you can be enhancing your home yoga practice.  Iphone applications are a great way to study yoga asana on the go, or even practice your pranayama.  Many yoga applications are free and others, such as Long Deep Breathing to help you learn to control your breath, are very affordable.  Going for a hike in the summer months?  Do some simple yoga and breathwork along the trail to connect more deeply with yourself and with Mother Nature, or learn Breathwalk as a spiritual practice.

8 ) Be gentle

“If you are a beginner to yoga, start as such, whether you are in shape or not,” counsels Christel Pierron.  Start with small increments of time.  Even 20 minutes of yoga to begin with is stretching areas of your body in a new way.  Start slowly when beginning a yoga practice.  Yoga was not designed as a fitness routine, but as a way to achieve spiritual union with the divine and purify the body to prepare it for meditation.  Respect the discipline and your body enough to give it time to adjust to your practice.

9)  Set the mood

For many, good music during yoga is one of the best parts of the practice.  Consider keeping ipod speakers and your ipod in your yoga space.  Begin collecting music conducive to a beautiful yoga experience or make a playlist just for your practice.

Spirit Voyage has an extensive collection of Yoga Music, including a Yoga Living Series.  Decide what style of music will support you in your yoga practice.  Love Kundalini music?  Try Snatam Kaur. Like groovy Sanskrit mantras?  Listen to some Wah! For mellow instrumentals, Deuter is a favorite.  Shiva Rea has even compiled a collection oftrance music suitable for Vinyasa flow.

10) Meditate

The purpose of yoga was to support meditation.  In your home yoga practice, do not forget to take the time after your workout to meditate and relax the mind while you are relaxing your body There are so many forms of meditation.  Try something simple, such as sitting with a straight spine, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath.  The benefits of meditation include everything from lowering your blood pressure to improving your mood.

Remember that yoga is a practice of honoring yourself and your body.  Take the time to rediscover your body and soul in a nurturing, self-supportive way.  Try to find the time in your busy life to take even ten minutes for yourself in your new sacred space.  The stresses of the day and world outside your yoga space might seem pressing and urgent, but ultimately whether the dishes are put away and the laundry is done is not as important as whether or not you feel at home in your body and are in touch with the divinity within you.  Start your yoga practice at home slowly, continue steadily and gently, and while you look at your hamstrings stretch, watch your spirit soar.

By Ramdesh Kaur
Thank you to Spirit Voyage