Wednesday, June 29, 2011

July 1st...40~Day Yoga Challenge!

"In 40 days, you can create a whole new way of being.
Yogic science confirms that it takes 40 days to fully develop a new life-promoting habit or to drop a current destructive habit. The Yoga Challenge is a great way to strengthen the body, unburden the mind, and begin a daily commitment to yourself."

July 1st I am beginning 2 growth challenges, hair growth and personal/physical growth. I'm going to journal not only my hair health and growth here on LMK, moving forward I'll be including a link to the Tumblr journal I created, [Prana] for participants with information on how to begin practicing Yoga* for beginners like myself and chart my progress.  I will share what I learn on "Prana" using it was a personal blog for self inspiration in hopes it will inspire readers/viewers as well.

Why Yoga? Christmas 2008 I was given a 90 day gift certificate to a Yoga studio in Beaumont, TX.  I immediately fell in love with the way my body felt and the flexibility I'd accomplished.  My life felt more balanced as well.  My love for yoga has never gone away, only the motivation to continue.  This time my goal is incorporating yoga into my daily living, permanently.  I began yoga with the intention of gaining a lean and flexible frame and soon found the mental benefits meditation and yoga inadvertently had on my perceptions of daily living.  It also became something my children wanted to see me pursue and my youngest who was only three years old at the time also immediately became enthused to grab the mat and work out along with me at home.  He still does yoga to this day on his own by looking at poses in our collection of Yoga Journal magazines.  He inspires me as well.

40 Day Yoga Challenge

You can begin this challenge at any time.  The most important part of this challenge is committing ourselves to the full 40 days and incorporating healthy eating habits into our diets if improvement is needed in that area.  ONLY PRACTICE YOGA ON AN EMPTY STOMACH ,3 HRS OR MORE AFTER EATING A MEAL.

  • Practice twice daily for 6 days per week, preferably in the morning before sun rise and again in the evening prior to going to bed at night.  You can begin with [Sun Salutations Video]  in the morning and [Moon Salutations Video]  in the evening.  I will and I encourage you to commit to practing both salutations daily, along with your personal practices built on what you are feeling at the present moment and what you wish to take from the days practice.  Both are a form of Vinyasa yoga which is done in the form of flowing from one pose to the next in a sequences.  If you are not familiar with how to perform the Sun Salutations or Moon Salutations the links above are two videos you can learn them from. Remember practice makes perfect! 

Helpful Hints: Sun Salutation is a yoga sequence of poses (asana) that stretches 90-95% of our body’s muscles. Most of us who are not active daily only stretch 30-35% of body muscles. Sun Salutation should be performed early in the morning at sun rise (empty stomach). If you want to reduce weight, initially start with three rounds, gradually increase daily to reach the maximum of your capacity.   

 A moon salutation is less stimulating than a sun salutation. This sequence takes you more inward and is more suitable to do in the evenings, just before bed. It moves stresses from your head, focusing on the body and makes you aware and present in a relaxed way, so you can fall asleep aware of the present and relaxed. Try to do three complete rounds of Moon Salutations before bed and build your way up.  The purpose of this sequence is to relax your mind.  It is essential to do long slow yoga breathing or you will become winded and tired.

  • Start a Journal.  Each day write down foods you ate for that day and your overall emotional state of well being prior to your yoga session and after. Another great way to journal your yoga challenge would be to start a blog or Tumblr to document your successes and challenges along the way. If you opt to blog your challenge or start a tumblr blog be sure to post the link [Here on Kynxx Facebook Page] page so all participants including myself can follow you.  I find being honest about how you feel good or not so good, is not only helpful to yourself, other people will also become inspired to do the same. I will post links to healthy eating websites to get recipes and meal ideas for those who may want a little help with learning how to cook healthier meals, like myself =)

  • Drink a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day...that's a total of 64 oz or half a gallon of water per day.

  • Select at least 1 yoga pose to master within the 40 days and post pics weekly of your progress and your childrens progress if they are participating as well.  Examples along with information on benefits and anatomical focus included in each pose link: [Choose a pose Here] be sure to read the anotomical focus of each one and the benefits so you know which ones will be most beneficial for you. Examples:         [Tree pose][Warrior I] [Warrior II], [Lotus pose], [Downward Facing Dog], [Monkey pose]

  • Begin meditation.  This may be challenging to anyone who has never tried meditation before, or even those like myself who make daily attempts yet the mind chatters after 45 seconds =).  Quieting the mind is controllable and with daily practice it can be achieved. [How to Meditate for Beginners]

  • Support, support, support!  This is very helpful to sticking to any type of habit change.  I am here for you, just remember I am a beginner too so if you have a question allow me some time to respond if I dont know the answer right away.  If you happen to come across this challenge and you are a more experienced yogi, any advise you can offer will be greatly appreciated.  If you need to contact me for any reason send an email to or post questions on [Kynxx~Natural Stylez by Amber] to get support from other participates. 
  • Yoga Mat or Thick Towel
  • Non~restrictive clothing
  • Yoga Blocks and/or Strap (optional) 
  • Water Bottle
  • A Journal and pen
  • Get familiar with [Yoga Journal Basics] and [Yoga Sequence Builder] on
  • Stop Watch or Cell phone with one
  • A Camera
  • Upload your photos [HERE] for the weekly check-in every Friday/Saturday beginning Friday, July 1st through Tuesday, August 9th
Lack of motivation is what usually causes me to revert to old behaviors I want to rid myself of.  This is why I'm inviting you to start the 40~Day Yoga Challenge along with me.  I encourge beginners to yoga to sign up and take classes at a studio at least once per week.  This way you can get help with proper body aligning with poses to ensure you dont cause injury.  One small seemingly insignificant change in the way you move your body can mean a world of difference in the postures effectiveness.  Yoga Journal is a great place for beginners to build a home practice and to learn about poses and what the benefits of each of them bring. As I mentioned get familiar with the two links provided above.  Epecially the sequence builder.  This is a wonderful tool to help customize your practice by making it an expression of what is alive in you now at present and the practice will help you stay present during your time on the mat.  You will be more likely to be motivated and want to practice the next day.  "If you force yourself to practice because you think you should, because you didn't yesterday, or for any other more external reason, even the most technically polished poses will not answer your inner need for ease and wholeness." ~YJ.  If you desire to change your mind and change your body I welcome you to join me and I encourage everyone with children to allow them to participate with you.  ~Namaste.

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."~Aadil Palkhivala

    *please seek medical advice before beginning any physical workout plan.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Protective: Wash n' Go Updo

With Summer approaching it's time for me to get busy creating protective styles that will help retain my hairs moisture, protect the ends, and that will last at least 2-3 days.  If you're like me and live in a city where temps regularly soar above 100 degrees, it's important to keep those ends tucked away to prevent breakage from dryness and also ensure maximum growth retention. 

Last Saturday I posted a photo on Facebook of a Summer protective I created.  I received much feedback from ladies wanting me to do a how-to on the style. When it comes to creating a hairstyle, I find inspiration not only from women with similar hair lengths or textures as mine.  This style was  inspired by a Naturalista I noticed rocking a beautifully styled TWA.  I tweaked it to fit my face and my hair length.

For starters I co-washed my hair with VO5 Tea Therapy Vanilla Mint (.66 cents at CVS on sale).  Next, I towel dried using my microfiber towel hair turban ($1) I found at a Dollar General store.

I sectioned my hair into 4 parts and applied Kinky Curly Knot Today from roots to ends.  I always have some of whatever conditioner I use to co-wash left in my hair, as it only makes sense to.   When I use a leave~in, I use them for styling purposes, wash n' gos like my Giovanni Direct Leave-In [Click to read review], or Taliah Waajids The Great Detangler [Click to read review] for curl defining, for instance, my puffs.  One important step to getting the best results if you are a Kinky Curly Curling Custard user is to keep in mind Knot Today partners with the Custard to eliminate the "crunchy" feel some complain about.  If you've tried KCCC in the past and didn't like the results, try using it after applying  KCKT.  Before you completely "X" it from your product list try them together, it might make a difference in the final result.
  How To...
Just a quick FYI, I wore this style for two days last weekend. Thing is, I just henna'd last night and don't want to wear this style again.  In the photos below I'm showing you how I parted twisted and pinned to get the final result.  My hair is product free so the pics don't look as smooth and silky as the final result taken from last weekend.  Photos are only intended to show step by step how I created the final look. The style for this weekend doesn't require KCCC or KT and I wasn't going to waste using product on re-creating the style. 

I began with clean hair, sectioning into 3 parts...

I brushed the bottom section into a ponytail and two strand twisted the hair left out of ponytail... 

 I veritcally parted the middle section half...

Then I parted each half horizontally...

I flat twisted each horizontally parted half where the vertical part meets in the center, again two strand twisting the hair left hanging out...

The top section was brushed back into a  ponytail with the hair hanging out into 2-two strand twists...

Once all the hair is twisted, I began pinning them up using open ended bobby pins starting with the bottom section and pinning it under...

I then twisted the already twisted hair into one large formed two strand twist again for added volume...

I then tucked and secured the ends and twists with open ended bobbies to secure once again until all the hair was tucked and secured creating the look of one large twist going down the back...


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ayurveda for Hair: Reetha, Shikakai, Amla, & Brahmi

Reetha Powder: Sapindus Trifolat
For naturals who prefer a no~ poo approach to cleansing, Reetha Powder is a great 100% natural alternative. Reetha powder gives a sheen to natural color, a silky touch to hair, removes extra oil from hair, adds body to hair, and revitalizes the texture. Reetha actually lathers when the powder is mixed with water. I have used this powder twice. Both times the cleansing was followed with deep conditionting. I stopped using Reetha early on into developing my Ayurvedic regimen as I felt it was not a necessary step. The Henna brand I use already has Reetha and I prefer to wash my hair moving forward no more than 4 times per year unless I need to remove a product that is not easily removed with co~washing.

Reetha is often used in conjuction with Shikakai. Both are cleansing Ayurvedic powders and help rid the scalp of excessive and potentially harmful sebum build up. One important part of growing healthy hair is ensuring your hair care regimen includes scalp care. I have never had flaking but I have had my bout with dry scalp issues. I've been following an Ayurvedic regimen for a full year and my scalp is in excellent condition. I can see each strand growing in thick and strong and I'm confident in attributing its health to using Ayurvedic powders. All are applied directly on the scalp to the tip of the hair strand aside from Reetha which I focus on my scalp only due to the drying affect it had on my kynxx.  

Shikakai (Acacia Concinna)
Shikakai Powder

Shikakai is a mild natural cleanser that doesn't strip away the natural oils from the hair. It has a low pH and is widely used as a shampoo for  hair.  Those who have sensative skin will stand to benefit from the use of Shikakai as well.  Here are some benefits of shikakai powder for the hair:
natural cleanser for the hair
conditions the hair
promotes hair growth
prevents dandruff
strengthens the hair roots
cleans the scalp
rejuvenates the hair
creates shine
creates body
detangles the hair (not my kynxx)
prevents dry scalp
cools the scalp

Like I stated before the Henna brand I use has Shikakai powder in it. I belive it helps make the rinsing process much easier in comparison to other brands of Henna I've used.

Vadik Herbs/Baazar of India Amla Oil Contains NO MINERAL OIL
 In between Henna treatments I deep condition with an Amla and Brahmi Powder mix. I incorporate 2 other Ayurvedic powders into my regimen as well and have been for a year now. I used to mix Shikakai in with the other two powders however I stopped adding it to the Brahmi/Amla mix.  I didnt see any difference by adding it or omitting it from the mix.  My hair is stronger and I get much less hair fall since I first began using Brahmi and Amla.  I first started using oils by Dabur Brand of both Brahmi and Amla and soon after learned they both contain high amounts of mineral oil.  I recently found a mineral oil free Amla Oil by Vadik Herbs  for those who prefer the ease of oiling their hair over making a paste and going through the process of applying it.  Instead of mineral oil the "hair conditioning formula" is infused with seasame oil.  At this point I have no desire to change, I prefer powders. 

 To read the benefits and view a pictorial on how the treatment is done, you may...