HAPPINESS MATTERS: 7 Positive Strategies for a HAPPIER New Year


by Rhonda O’Cana

Call me an optimistic nerd, but I love January and the promise of the new year ahead. It’s a blank canvas, a clean slate. I take great care in picking out my new planner each year. It must be one I won’t tire of easily, that will be tough enough to handle the weight of 12 months of hopes and dreams. The pages must have plenty of space for appointments and reminders, as well as room for lists of projects and intentions. I like to take the week off between Christmas and New Years to create my plans for the year.


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Fighting and Preventing Viruses with Essential Oils


by Ashley Stone

Silent, invisible and sometimes deadly viruses invade your body in a way that is often out of your control. The modern medical approach to viruses is to promote protection from viruses (like the flu) with a vaccine or to treat viral symptoms with a variety of medications, which can ultimately suppress or undermine your immune system. Once you understand what a virus is, what its goal is and how it mutates in the body, you will recognize that you have more options to effectively eliminate viruses from your body.

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Botanical Garden Seeks Participants for its Children’s Vegetable Garden Spring Program


Our own San Antonio Botanical Garden hosts one of the oldest youth gardening programs in the nation, and a new season is about to begin! The multi-week program begins Saturday, Feb. 21, and offers children ages 8-13 the opportunity to have a true hands-on experience growing vegetables and ornamental plants in their own plot at the beautiful botanical garden.

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Committed to a New Fitness Routine in 2015?: Long-Term Success Depends on Starting Out Right


by Kenny McClendon

With the start of a new year, you may have decided that 2015 is the year you will put your health first and start your new exercise routine. Some questions you might have are:

Where do I start?

What is the best exercise routine for me?

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San Antonio’s Own Alamo Run Fest Features Alamodome Finish


Feb. 22 Half Marathon Course Includes 4 Miles Through Fort Sam Houston

Anyone with a new resolution to run needs to register for the 2015 Alamo Run Fest, which is shaping up to be one of the best local events in the new year. Alamo Run Fest is San Antonio’s signature local running event, and with run distances from 5K, 10K to a half marathon, there’s plenty of challenge and fun for runners at all levels. This year’s half marathon includes a couple of exciting elements.

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Natural Treatment, Relief for Painful Recurring Cricks in the Neck


by Kai-Chang Chan

At one time or another, you’ve probably experienced the quick, sharp pain that accompanies a crick in the neck. These cricks happen suddenly, causing sharp pain when you turn your head to one side. The pain might even extend along the shoulder blade, making it painful to move your arm on the affected side. In my practice, I turn to Traditional Chinese Medicine can help identify the cause and fix the problem.

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Louise Hay on Loving Yourself to Ageless Health


by S. Alison Chabonais

A renowned leader of the selfhelp movement from its early days, Louise Hay is celebrated worldwide for teaching—by personal example and through her bestselling book, You Can Heal Your Life— how each of us can transform our mind, body and spirit by changing the way we think. Her positive philosophy has sparked an industry and her Hay House publishing group.

Nourishing mind and body, loving life, learning and growing, giving back and moving ahead— these comprise Hay’s program for creating health, happiness and longevity. At 88, she continues to travel for business and pleasure, embracing vital, joy-filled days with a thankful smile. Her new book, Loving Yourself to Great Health, co-authored with Ahlea Khadro and Heather Dane, explains how she’s taking all she knows to the next level.

Why does first applying love and forgiveness to yourself make a happy, healthy and long life possible? Loving yourself is the foundation for living the life you want. A healthy and happy life is rooted in self-love, and forgiveness is an act of self-love. It all comes down to how you think and treat yourself. What we give out we get back, so it all starts with us. Remember, no matter what the problem is, there is only one answer: loving yourself. Start with small steps and be gentle. If you start there, magical things will happen.

How do you manage to engage in a stream of loving affirmations 24/7? Practice, practice, practice! Slowly, bit-by- bit, start each day with a loving act towards yourself. Loving affirmations and worrying about things take up the same amount of time; you still get the same things done along the way, but worrying creates stress, while affirmations will brighten your life. It can be exhausting if you fight the shift and make it difficult. If you make kindness to yourself and others a simple part of everyday life, it isn’t exhausting at all.

What are some key elements to crafting a life experience that supports and nourishes ageless being? Choose thoughts that bring love into your life and laugh a lot. Say yes to life and the magic it brings. I trust that life will bring me exactly what I need, and part of that is realizing that I don’t need to know everything, because life brings me people like Ahlea and Heather.

A third of our life is spent eating, and it’s essential that we know the best way to do this. Start your day with water and an act of self-love. Eat real food; seasonal, organic, natural foods are a positive affirmation to your body.

Poop every day, figuratively and literally. Learn to listen to your body and its wisdom. Choose exercise that you love and that makes you feel good. Also, go on a media diet. Filter out from your consciousness any messages that say you are not good enough or that separate you from the beautiful and lovable person you are. Surround yourself with like-minded people that share good news and love to laugh.

The core belief founding your lifework is that every thought we have is creating our future. Is scientific research now supporting that? When I began teaching people about affirmations, there wasn’t any science to support it, but we knew it worked, and now studies verify that. I particularly love Bruce Lipton’s scientific research showing that we are not controlled by our genes because the genetic blueprint can be altered through positive changes in our beliefs.

I hear reports every day of how people are healing their lives by changing their thoughts through cultivating self-love and personal affirmations. They are seeing healing of autoimmune diseases, obesity, addictions, post-traumatic stress and many other so-called incurable illnesses. It’s amazing what happens when you are kind and loving to yourself.

What is your secret to aging gracefully through the years? It’s simple. It’s about getting your thoughts and food right and having fun along the way. If you are thinking positive thoughts but feeding yourself processed, unnatural or sugary foods, you are sending yourself mixed messages. Feed yourself nourishing foods and think loving thoughts. Any time you don’t know what else to do, focus on love. Loving yourself makes you feel good, and good health comes from feeling good.


S. Alison Chabonais is the national content editor for Natural Awakenings magazines.

Yoga Breathing Helps III Kids’ Lungs


Researchers from Brazil’s University of São Paulo have found that hatha yoga breathing exercises can significantly improve lung function in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that often ends in premature death from respiratory failure.

The average age of the 26 children that completed the study was 9-and-a-half years old. Participants were taught how to perform hatha yoga breathing exercises and instructed to perform them three times a day for 10 months.

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SANKALPA: Setting and Cultivating Your “Heart Vow” for the New Year


by Patricia Wickman

The term for intention in yoga and Ayurveda is Sankalpa. Sankalpa is more than a casual goal. The definition of Sankalpa is “heart vow.” This is a promise that you make to yourself and it comes from, takes root and flourishes in the emotional heart center. When you set a Sankalpa, you prepare the soil in your heart, plant the seed, give birth to it and love it as a mother loves her newborn baby. You set up daily routines and baby-step goals that will serve to water, nourish and offer your heart vow the energy of sunlight and the rest of moonlight.

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LET YOUR SPIRIT SOAR: 5 Ways to Find Spiritual Renewal in 2015


by Renee Trudeau

It’s 1976 and my mom and dad are sitting quietly with their eyes closed, hands resting upward, thumb and index finger touching, while my younger siblings crawl on their backs and shoulders. My two older brothers and I sit nearby, holding our own meditation poses, bored and counting the minutes until this ritual will end. Growing up, my parents would regularly pull all five of their children into our library for a family meditation. As much as I complained, a part of me yearned for this spiritual practice.

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