Self Love-5 Ways to Recover from the Holiday Season

All About Khotan Carpets

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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Self Love-5 Ways to Recover from the Holiday Season

The Holiday Season is all about excess. From Thanksgiving to New Years, celebration can take the form of a whirlwind, sweeping Americans into an exhausting funnel of food, alcohol and spending. Although it can be a joyous time, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Between trying to find and afford the perfect gifts, fighting through crowds of shoppers, and socializing at numerous holiday parties, finding time for your health and peace of mind are often last on the list. Unfortunately, stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet are some of the top enemies of the immune system. To stay centered, it is so important to take a little time for yourself. If you are finding yourself depleted, exhausted, or just a little off in the wake of celebration, read on. Here are some easy ways to boost your immune system, relax your mind and body, detox from too many treats, and find some of that “peace on earth”.

 

1.Yoga

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Though historians are unsure exactly when Yoga originated, they know that it started in India, at least 5,000 years ago. It is now considered a form of alternative medicine and consists of stretching, meditation, balanced poses, and breathing excersizes. The goal of Yoga is to bring peace to your mind and body, helping to manage  stress and anxiety. The practice is all about the link between mind and body, and how the state of one affects the other. The key is balance. Yoga varies in style and intensity. Certain Yoga practices facilitate extreme flexibility and physical strength. Beginners will likely benefit from Hatha Yoga, which is one of the most common forms. This form has a slower pace and gentler movements.

A study published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback found yoga helped relieve chronic insomnia
“A number of studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.” From the Mayo Clinic.

Benefits
-Reduces depression
-Increases emotional positivity and enhances mood
-Increases ability to handle stress and unexpected problems
-Promotes mindfulness

 

 

2.Meditation-

meditating novice or trainee Buddhist monk by MattRavel on Flickr

There is a vast amount of research on the benefits of meditation when it comes to mental health. It is a common misinterpretation that meditation is simply relaxation. While mediation does involve ceasing to exert unnecessary effort, it is also about mindfulness.  The goal is to empty the mind, and by doing so, you let go of stress and become more aware of reality, truth, and your own existence.

“Mindfulness helps the stress-sufferer to recognize unhelpful patterns of thought that give rise to the stress response, and also involves the active cultivation of positive mental states such as kindness, compassion, patience, and energy.  “Wild Mind Buddhist Mediation

Benefits
-Reduces depression
-Reduces Insomnia
-Increases emotional positivity and enhances mood
-Increases ability to handle stress and unexpected problems
-Promotes mindfulness

 

 

3.Sleep

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Studies have shown that lack of sleep will affect your immune system. People are more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus when they don’t get enough sleep. Recovering from sickness also takes longer.  Lack of sleep spikes your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisone, which can lead to weight gain. Another study found that moderate sleep deprivation impairs your cognitive performance to the same level as being intoxicated.

“During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep. ”  Mayo Clinic

 

 

4.Tea

Black and Green teas both contain L-theanine, an amino acid which strengthens gamma delta T cells and increases those cells ability to fight infection. L-theanine also promotes relaxation and well-being by increasing the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Tea also helps fight free radicals because it is high in ORAC ( oxygen absorbance capacity). Damage from free radicals can result in cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration.

White Sage, Red Raspberry, Mugwort, Echinacea are all known for their healing properties and have been used for centuries to fight illness.

Here is an excellent recipe for an immune boosting tea you can make at home.  This drink is also great for alkalizing the body with lemon, and boosting metabolism with turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne.

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Benefits
-Tea can boost exercise endurance. antioxidants in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel.
-Fights free radicals and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, parkinson’s disease
-Hydrates the body
-Strengthens the immune system

 

5.Green Smoothies

Green Smoothies are trendy, but their positive impact on health and easy, D.I.Y. nature have caused them to spread from the world of “hippie stuff” and into the focus of mainstream health, where they have stayed for well over a decade. Smoothies are a quick way to get in all your fruits and veggie servings at once, and they pack a powerful punch of nutrition. Regular consumption of green smoothies will make your body and mind feel better in no time.

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Benefits
-Clean, glowing skin
-Decreased inflammation (which can be  helpful in alleviating joint pain and stiffness
-Improved energy and mood
-A healthy immune system that will keep you from getting sick
-Increased Focus and mental clarity

 

Recipe:

  • 3 T Hemp Seeds
  • 2 cups mixed Greens (I’m using Swiss Chard and Green Leafy Kale)
  • 1 stalk Celery
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh peppermint
  • 1 apple
  • 1 kiwi
  • water – amount varies. Start with enough to go about halfway up your ingredients. Try blending it. Add more if it’s not smooth enough.

 

 

Helpful Hint

Immune Boosting Foods

Garlic
Yogurt
Fish
Oregano Oil
Japanese Mushrooms
Cruciferous vegetables-kale, broccoli, lettuce and cabbage
Avocado
Ginger
Oatmeal
Black Currents
pomegranate Juice
Pumpkin Seeds
Sage
Graviola
Larch Supplement

 

All About Khotan Carpets

History

Khotan was a town in what is historically known as East Turkestan now the Chinese province, of Xingjian. This remote region is larger than all of Western Europe, and is located in the center of Asia. It is one of the most Isolated places in the world, but it holds a carpet weaving tradition that is at least 1000 years old.

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East Turkestan is difficult to access. The heartland known as the Tarim Basin-is surrounded on three sides by mountains, which serve as walls against Tibet, Central Asia and Pakistan. The fourth side is cut off by vast desert. Maybe this is one reason why East Turkistan became a destination hot spot for settlers, coming from all directions. The Tarim Basin was also a significant stop on the Silk Roads. The routes south to India, north to Central Asia, west to Persia, Anatolia and Europe, all branched out from here. The melting pot of cultures in this place is represented in the “Khotan” rugs that came from here, which is what makes them so beautiful and interesting. In just one rug you can often see signs of Islamic, Chinese and Indian design/culture.

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Portrait of a king of Khotan, Dunhuang Mogao Caves, 10th century

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It is believed by historians that between 1,500 and 1,000 BC is when the first (Indo European) settlers began coming to this region, which was then inhabited by Turkic nomads. These settlers lived in Khotan and other oasis towns, and were influenced by India, becoming Buddhists. The Turkic nomads continued to stay in the mountains.

It was not until the 9th and 10th centuries the Turkic tribes adopted Islam, and forced the conversion of the Buddhist Oasis, the adoption of their language and changed the culture of the place, creating Eastern Turkestan as it is today. However, Buddhist and other cultural influences never disappeared from the carpets.

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Rug Expert Hans Bidder wrote in his book “Carpets from Eastern Turkestan (1964)

iconoclastic Islam which spread into the oases from middle of the 10th century was indeed able to subdue the religious art of Buddhism, but the new faith proved incapable of gaining any hold upon individual arts and crafts which had their roots in the traditional customs and economic existence of the oases.”

Characteristics 

These unique works of art are characterized by stylized geometric patterns, and long, narrow designs. They are meticulously detailed. Arrangements of Persian motifs that also incorporate elements of Chinese designs are common, and the central Composition is usually Chinese in style. Colors range from rich to pale pastels. Typical hues include red, yellow, brown, gold and green. The pomegranate is often celebrated in Khotan rugs, shown as a shrub with symmetric branches, or as a fruit. This was an iconic regional symbol. Local symbols like this one are combined with Buddhist and Islamic symbols, influenced by the varying residents of Khotan.

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Khotans are well suited for modern contemporary decor due to their geometric and strongly abstract nature. In the last decade, these rugs have been frequently featured in high-end design publications and are coveted by top designers.

Here are some more of the Khotan rugs we have in our rug gallery. These are examples of some more contemporary versions, with a darker color palette than the traditional

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Check back in soon to learn more about the exciting Silk Roads and the adventures had by their explorers.