Recycling our mind, body and soul…
With bad media, junk food, pollution, traffic and non-stop driving controlling our Daily Lives, we can feel that we are chained from head to toe. Our physical and mental health is the last thing on the list that we care about. From driving while eating- if you even managed not to skip breakfast- to watching terrible news until you fall asleep, this lifestyle is definitely killing us slowly.
If we go through our day we will be surprised at how difficult it is now to perform what used to be rituals which were met with respect like eating or sleeping. Somehow, we are not as energetic and healthy as our parents and grandparents were when they were our age. We cannot walk long-distances like they used to, obesity is rapidly increasing. The chemicals which are used almost constantly – and the fact that food is not organically grown anymore – is the reason to that and this is the reason behind our parents’ feeling that an apple feels (and tastes) more… plastic.
To start the New Year fresh, we decided to discover some cleansing ideas that can help us recycle our mind, body and soul and revive our system.
Yoga isn’t a luxury!
Many people are starting to turn to yoga for meditation others are taking it as an exercise. In both cases, yoga is a great way to enrich your positive energy and keep your physical and mental stability in balance. Yoga isn’t a luxury, it’s a very vital tool to help us master a healthy mind and connect it to a healthy body.
There are many types of yoga with various benefits:
Hatha Yoga: If you want to kill the stress away and improve your breathing, this type of yoga is great. It is slow-paced and mainly focuses on breathing and meditation. It’s recommended for beginners as it focuses on the basic poses and relaxation techniques.
Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa covers the basic poses and breath-synchronized movement. It is a series of 12 poses linking breath with movement to build lean muscle mass throughout the body .Vinyasa helps improve strength and flexibility, tones the abdominal muscles, and reduces the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Ashtanga: Ashtanga yoga metaphorically focuses on 8 limbs. It is fast-paced and intense with lunges and push-ups to help improve one’s spiritual self. It is of course a stress reliever and improves coordination.
Where to find Yoga in Egypt:
Ashtanga Yoga: Sheikh El Marsafi Street, 1st floor, Flat 8, Behind Beano’s Zamalek.
Omni Yoga: Building 7a, Intersection of Street 206 & Street 253, 1st floor, Maadi, Degla.
On the Mat Studio: 5 Al Morsalen St. Branched from Shagrat Al Dorr St, Zamalek. 1st floor , 4th Apartment.
Yalla Yoga: Apartment 15, 3rd floor, 15 Al Maahad Al Eshtraky Street Heliopolis, Roxy.
The Reiki Rescue…
Founded in the 20th century, Reiki treatments can help the body physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s a simple session in which you lie on a couch or sit on a chair and relax while the healer gently places their hands in a series of non-intrusive positions on or near the body. There is no massage or manipulation. The whole person is treated rather than specific areas in sessions that take 45 minutes or more depending on the person’s needs.
“There is a variety of negative and positive feedback from Egyptians who tried Reiki. Some people think it’s some kind of a magic trick, not in a bad way. Some people don’t understand and come to try it anyways but there is skepticism of course” Rana Zaben, a 10 year Master Reiki Healer who practiced Reiki in several countries like Egypt, Canada and Dubai says.
Everyone needs Reiki which makes it very interesting. It works on healing the 7 Chakras which are the major points of the human’s body and centers of life’s force. “Reiki is for a huge variety of people, whether someone who has an actual physical pain in their body or an emotional trauma and depression” she explains.
Healing the chakras is a very important start. Sometimes our emotional suffer translates in our physical illness without noticing it. “If you have a closed heart for example, you suffer from anxiety attacks. If you don’t express yourself to others sometimes you get throat aches. Everything is connected and negative thinking ruins your body” she comments.
Sometimes a person might have it all and they still aren’t happy. They think they have the husband, the job, the kids but they are still depressed, so in the coaching session, I sit for an hour and a half with them and discover the click. Most of these people are missing out on their passion, I help them know how to find it” she tells.
“Mostly women come to Reiki as they are under high pressure. They discovered they had a life in the past and now they are married with kids or in other cases they tend to worry about having kids, going home and fixing the house all at the same time” she says.
Rana also practices NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) alongside Reiki. She discovered that Reiki “isn’t sufficient alone” and NLP helps find the root problem. Her center is called The Healing Closet in Cornsihe El Nile.
Neuro-linguistic Programming 101
NLP stands for Neuro-linguistic Programming. It is an approach that aims to treat some physical illnesses such as common colds as well as psychological illnesses like phobias. It was praised by many for its effectiveness, while attacked by others with claims of it being “pseudoscientific”. However, the highly controversial method of treatment has remains one that is widely used until today.
“It’s a science that started around 30-40 years ago by a programmer and a linguist. They wanted to know if there were certain triggers that affect how the brain works. So I can improve myself and have a better understanding of others. If there is a memory that affects me, NLP will help me understand it and change the harmful behavior that is being triggered by it”, Says Monir ElShazly, Owner of Inspired Being Coaching and Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Personal Development Trainer.
NLP works for people from different age groups “As a life coach I know that the younger the person is the better they will accept any treatment. It works well with any age group, though, and is more often used on adults because they have more issues that affect them”, Monir adds.
Since it is a fairly new method and is one that deals with the subconscious mind, many have attacked it. Monir responded to that saying “There is a lot of development when it comes to spirituality and metaphysics. In the beginning people would not understand but now there is better reception for it. A shift is taking place worldwide, not just in Egypt”.
NLP is supposed to treat physical and psychological illnesses. Monir told us how this is possible “the physical is always connected with the psychological. There are four levels of auras; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When we measure someone’s chakras we could feel that their heart is physically intact but emotionally damaged. If I am feeling better psychologically, my susceptibility to receive illness will be less” he explains.
Tamkeen for Training and Human Development in Al Rehab offers NLP courses where Monir El Shazly attended one as a participant for his firm belief in its value.
Life coaching…who needs it and how to start?
Life coaching is a human improvement process that focuses completely on the individual. The process is simply to help you get from where you are to where you want to be while keeping you motivated and focused on achieving your desired goals. “The benefits of life coaching tend to be a much more rewarding life and the simple pleasure of achieving your desired goals more quick and effective” Tamer El Sheikh, a certified life coachers says. He started out his career in advertising and marketing and life coaching was a rather big leap. After loads of soul searching, competency based tests and reviews he found out that life coaching is what he really wants to do.
There is a common thing between people who need life coaching, “while the reasons for seeking a life coach are as varied and eclectic as the individuals the commonality between them is simply to get more out of life. As regards to those individuals feeling that they have lost their path or looking at finding themselves that really depends on the individual and level or degree of loss” Tarek says.
While coaching may help motivate an individual to ‘get back on track’ with certain things or help you find direction or assistance in establishing goals it does not and should not substitute from some more serious or alternative help or assistance that those individuals require which is beyond the remit of life coaching” he adds.
Always make sure you look for certified life coachers. “The life coaching industry is not regulated so anyone can become or practice life coaching as a career. I do personally however recommend that you work with a certified life coach or one with some formal training. The ICF (international coach federation) has become recently the industries bench mark standard and hub for life coaching and life coaching certification and is a good place to start” he comments.
Coaching sessions vary from one person to the other. “Coaching is not a course of treatment and each session has its own rewards and benefits. Some clients are happy with just one session others more longer term. On average though five to six sessions I find to be most common” he explains.
So is it ever too late for getting life coaching? Can people start regardless their age? “It’s never too late for anything and certainly not coaching! You maybe too young to appreciate life coaching but you are certainly never too old. The question is do you want to?” he claims.
Yes, I Am an Egyptian Vegetarian!
Those of us who were raised in Egypt or the Middle East in general know that we were raised to be omnivores. Meat, poultry and fish have always been a consistent part of our diets since childhood. Many people, however, have been choosing a vegetarian or even vegan lifestyle all over the world in recent years.
Living in Cairo alone can be considered an unhealthy option, so one would expect more Egyptians to go for a vegetarian diet if only to cleanse their system. Nina and Menna Awad, two sisters who decided to put a swift end to their omnivore lives, beg to differ. The Cairene sisters were born and raised in an Egyptian family and grew up as meat eaters.
However, right now not only is Menna a vegan and Nina a vegetarian, but they also advocate this lifestyle to many of their friends, family and acquaintances. While Nina brought forth the point of being raised an omnivore “It’s easy to cut out animal meat from your diet. However, it is an absolute nightmare to change the way you were raised for over 20 years.”
Both sisters told us that most restaurants have vegetarian dishes. Nina went on to explain a little further “I’d say experiment with Indian food; they’re mostly vegetarian and they have a variety of spices that are to die for.” As for Menna, she recommended Asian Corner for those looking for delicious vegan food, saying “I’m a sucker for Asian food and they have some good stuff.”
Things must be a little more difficult for Menna in that department, though, because there are certain animal by-products that she still would like to avoid like milk. “Even when I’m at Starbucks soy milk is available. It’s absolutely heavenly, although other non-dairy types of milk are difficult to come by” she says.
The most common argument that vegetarians and vegans have to go through is “but your body needs protein!” although it has been proven that animal products are only a small fraction of a long list of protein sources out there. Nina and Menna both have relied on other sources to get protein for a while now and have been very informative on which foods we could eat should we adopt a similar lifestyle “Protein can be found in vegetables like beans, watercress, and asparagus as well as others.”
It is true that being a vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean one is eating healthy food, though. Many eat fried vegetables a lot – French fries being a global favorite. We were curious to find out whether the sisters often found themselves having “junk” vegetarian food instead of the healthier alternative. “The only thing I eat these days that could be considered junk is French fries. It’s always easy to be healthier.” Menna explained “People just give themselves excuses to stick to what’s unhealthy, like ‘but it tastes so good!” Why would you eat fried vegetables when you can eat them raw?” Nina agreed, saying “It’s all about the choices you make when it comes to your diet.
You can eat French fries or you can eat roasted potatoes instead. I’m not going to lie, junk food is delicious, but try making the healthier choice for a few days, you’ll find you’ve become more energetic and you sleep better.” She said.
Gone Vegetarian, Can’t Find Food?
One of the main difficulties that face vegetarians and vegans in Egypt is actually finding a place that sells animal-product-free food. Soy products including tofu and soy milk are one of the main ingredients needed in a vegetarian and vegan.
Tofu is so healthy it’s surprising that non-vegans are not looking for it! Especially knowing that in Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisines, tofu is not considered an alternative to meat or poultry but is used side-by-side in the same dishes with animal protein for its texture, taste and nutrition.
Keeping in mind how healthy a vegetarian diet is, some people use it only for a while as a means of cleansing their system. While one is on a vegetarian diet, they will need to find food that is compatible with their body’s needs while at the same time avoiding animal products. Again, they will face the same issues as long-time vegetarians who have been struggling to find cruelty-free food in Cairo.
A website like vegetarianegypt.com will offer a small but helpful list of restaurants that serve vegetarian food. Another option would be going to the Agriculture Research Center in 9, Basateen Street near the Engineering Faculty in Cairo University. The place sells a variety of products such as soymilk, soy kofta and burgers, tofu, soy ice cream and they are all Egyptian made! There is also a store by the name Imtenan which has two branches, one in street 9 in Maadi and the other in El Nozha El Gedeeda, Nasr City. Both of those branches sell vegan food, health products as well as some medicine products and food supplements.
Summing it all up, there is a lot to do if we really want to help our selves. At the end, we are all children on Mother Earth and nothing is more important than our mind, body and soul.