kuyam blogs

kuyam blogs

Yoga: Practicing it Safe During Pregnancy

A few weeks into my first pregnancy, I thought I had lost my mind. The influx of emotions, ranging from elation to anger to sadness and anxiousness was impossible to deal with. It also drove my husband crazy. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to see my obstetrician. He sat me down and imparted some of the wisest words of wisdom I had heard throughout my entire pregnancy: Just do yoga.


Yoga is one of the best types of exercise to do while you’re pregnant, but it’s important to practice safely to avoid injuries and complications. Taking a yoga class can be done with modifications while you’re pregnant, but the most beneficial way to practice during those nine months is by taking a prenatal class.


Prenatal yoga focuses on safe poses to help increase flexibility and to keep the blood flowing. It helps you maintain your muscle tone and strengthens your pelvic muscles, which will be necessary for a smooth labor. Yoga also decreases the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, such as mood swings, muscle cramps and nausea.


Prenatal classes are taught by teachers who specialize in working with pregnant women, but if you take a regular yoga class, there are some poses you want to avoid. With each trimester, your body changes. You need to modify your poses, so always inform your teacher where you are in your pregnancy. In the first trimester, it’s okay to lie on your back, but that’s off limits in the second and third trimesters, since it can restrict the blood flow to the uterus. Deep abdominal twists and back bends are also a no no, as are inversions, such as headstands and handstands. Don’t even consider doing Hot Yoga.


Many yoga studios have prenatal classes. If yours doesn’t, ask for a recommendation. Prenatal yoga is more than an exercise class. It’s a community. It’s reassuring to be with a group of supportive women who know exactly what you’re going through. It’s also a beautiful way to bond with your unborn child.


Healthy Meal Planning 101

For those with busy lifestyles, meal planning can be a chore. By the time six oclock comes around, if there is nothing prepared, the easiest option is to order takeout. But that can get expensive, and restaurant food isn’t always healthy. Planning your meals is the best way to know what goes into your body. With these tips, it no longer has to be a chore, but instead, a simple step on the path to good health.


Stock Up with Staples

Keeping the essential staples on hand is important, especially if you need a last minute substitution. Olive oil, soy sauce, eggs, beans, whole grains and lemons are always handy to have around, as is having extra meat stocked in the freezer. If you love to cook with herbs, dried ones are okay, just be sure to refresh them every so often so they don’t lose their flavoring.


There’s An App for That

Meal planning has just gotten easier, thanks to all the apps available. Real Simple: No Time to Cook and Su Chef: Healthy Recipes walk you through the planning process step by step, including setting up a recipe database based on your favorite ingredients, and even preparing a shopping list for you. You can plan out your meals a day, a week or even a month in advance.


Focus On the Whole Foods

The best foods to put into your body are those that don’t come with labels. Foods in their purest form are dense with nutrients and great for an overall sense of well being. Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and avocados, and plant based proteins, such as beans and legumes are a beneficial addition to eating fresh fruits and vegetables.


Keep the Ratio

If you’re at a loss as to what to serve and how to portion it, remember this ratio: 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% protein and 25% grains. Proteins, such as meat and fish, as well as grains, can be prepared in advance and used as leftovers. Roast or sauté an array of vegetables and you have a nutritious, delicious meal in minutes.

Clutter Free Lifestyle: How Can I Simplify My Life?

There is not a question that comes up more in my work as a Feng Shui consultant than How can I simplify my life? There aren't too many people unaffected by the state of the world these days. Life is busy, time is moving fast, we’re having trouble keeping up.

I hear people reminiscing about the slower pace of past times: Remember when we’d go to the park on Sundays? Remember when we’d ride our bikes every evening after work? How come we never see our college friends anymore? The response is always—we’re too busy.

For some of us, life is like a smorgasbord and we want to try a little bit of everything. Although it all sounds fun and engaging, it isn’t long before we’re overwhelmed. Sometimes we get saddled with stuff we really don’t want to do, but something called responsibility kicks in leaving us no choice. However it comes our way, we are seeing that we’ve got more commitments than we did in the past and we’re not always enjoying it.

If people are asking someone like me how to simplify, they are obviously expecting some kind of answer filtered through Feng Shui principles. Here are some suggestions that I’ve used to help me through a particularly un-simple phase and ones which I’ve shared with clients:


Keep only things that you love

If you’re not sure, get rid of it. Your sanctuary/home/office should only include items that support you.


Take nine minutes each day to de-clutter

Clutter is the biggest mirror to us about feeling overwhelmed. Start in one area and stay there until the area feels like it can breathe again-until it feels simple.


Simplify your emails

Get rid of those daily emails that some people send if they’re not serving you. Set your boundaries so you can feel in control.


Experiment with a Zen look in your bedroom

Simplicity will impact you in a very positive way. Keeping things simple in your bedroom can help you sleep and provide enlightening dreams.


Don’t get disconnected from nature

Consider a short walk-even if it means to the corner and back. Nature will teach us how to be simple if we can stay in touch with it.


Although the question about how to simplify your life could be a lot more involved and specific, I’ve intentionally kept the suggestions, well, simple. Although simple, they do take consideration and intention. Just because the universal world is speeding up, it doesn’t mean we can’t create our own personal world that is slower and more meaningful. Keep your space simple and your life will follow.

Feng Shui Tips: Get Your Year Off To A Great Start!

Craving a fresh start is often filled with restless excitement. After all, making a fresh start is often associated with a dramatic change: moving to a new place, starting a new job or quitting an old one, vastly switching your diet, diving head first into an exercise routine or some other big switch that flips your life in a great way.

While sometimes a monumental change is necessary (and you'll know if it is), often it's a small and meaningful change in perspective that creates a whole new way of viewing life. Feng Shui in my way is about your personal experience of your life and your space, and a small shift in that personal experience can revive your experience of life. Small shift = fresh start! Here are a few Feng Shui shifts that can help you jump start a fresh start at any time:


1/ Rethink a route

Your experience of your neighborhood has as much impact on your life as your experience of your own home. Can you change your daily route to the grocery store? Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Turn left instead of right? Being a creature of habit can be comforting, but new scenery keeps you on your toes and is a simple form of freshness.


2/ Refine a routine

You can elevate a daily experience by adding some fresh sensory goodness. What if you found an essential oil to wear that enhanced your yoga class? Try new dressings for salad? Warm up your bathroom before your morning shower? Try playing some new ambient music while you work? Smell, touch, taste, temperature, sound, texture and more take the ordinary to a new level.


3/ Revive your walls with art!

Fresh art is a fresh start in itself where your home is concerned. If you are timid about buying art, try some vintage shopping for art that moves you. A dynamic piece of art that you see when you first enter your home creates a fresh impression of your whole home for both you and guests as well.


4/ Replant houseplants that have been growing too big for their pots

Your plants will grow bigger, and, symbolically you are creating more space for growth in your own life.


5/ Revamp your front door

You don’t need to paint a door red to make it Feng Shui-friendly, but a revamped front door will speak confidently to the world about your fresh start. Whether it's a new coat of paint, a bigger door handle, more polished or prominent apartment numbers or some creative adornment like a wreath or a doormat that represents your personality, a front door that shines is a great way to welcome in new energy and new people!


6/ Remember what makes you special

Stumped as to what your “brand of genius” might be? Visit friends who make you feel amazing and see how they reflect your best self. Indulge in hobbies and passions. Start celebrating small victories as well as big ones in your life. Deciding to bring more of your personal genius to your whole life is both an absolute fresh start and brilliant Feng Shui for every day. Happy New Year… any time of year!

Clutter Free Lifestyle: Donate Or Toss It

January is Get Organized Month, and I say the way to celebrate is "just say throw" to your clutter. One easy way to clear clutter is to toss or donate things you never use anymore or that you never really needed.

Is your utensil drawer so full you can barely close it? Are the plastic containers breeding in your kitchen cabinet overnight? Are you ever going to use that Bundt pan again? Here's a list of a dozen things you can donate, trash, or share with your friends so you end up with a clutter-free and more peaceful home.


Kitchen Utensils

Do you really need all of those duplicate spatulas, scrapers, and servers? Offer some to your friends, then donate or trash the rest of the dups.


Coffee Mugs

Do you drink enough coffee or tea to justify all of the mugs you are keeping? Same advice here, choose those you love and donate the rest.


Plastic Containers

Do you have more tops than bottoms, or vice versa? Match up the tops and bottoms, then toss the singletons.



Are those inexpensive florist vases really worth keeping? Keep a few of the prettiest ones and get rid of the rest.



Are the issues on your night table more than 2 months old? If so, you'll probably never read them and they will be put to better use if you donate them to a school or arts center.


Unread Books

Do you have a stack of books you "should" read but never get around to it? Time to donate them to the local library or trade them online through sites like www.paperbackswap.com.



Are you holding on to clothes for when you lose weight? You'll actually feel lighter if you get rid of them and make room for new clothes in smaller sizes.


Kids' Artwork

Are you keeping every masterpiece? If a creation is not worth framing and hanging, take a photo of it and toss the original.



Do you have a jungle of power cords and electronic paraphernalia in your desk drawer that may or may not work with your current equipment? Match up the cord with the gadget and let the rest go.



Do you even know if the sheets in your linen closet fit the current size of your beds? Keep two sets of sheets per bed, then find out if a local animal shelter can use the rest.



Are any of the prescriptions or OTC drugs in your medicine chest expired? Keep the meds you're taking, then take the rest to your pharmacy rather than flushing them or throwing into the trash.



Have your kids outgrown the toys in their rooms? Help them choose toys to donate to less fortunate children, especially right after a birthday.

Vegetarian Essentials

As people are becoming more conscious about what they put into their bodies, many are eating vegetarian. There are many benefits to removing meat from the diet, but if it’s not done correctly, it can be detrimental to your health. By eliminating complete proteins, you can deprive the body of essential nutrients. This can lead to muscular damage and nerve failure. Eating vegetarian can be healthy, as long as you’re giving the body everything it needs.



For vegetarians who give up dairy, the ADA recommends at least 1000mg of calcium (equivalent to 3 cups of milk.) Calcium can be found in alternative dairy products, such as almond milk, (beware of brands that contain high sugar contents) and dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and bok choy.


Vitamin B-12

B-12 deficiency is common in vegetarians. B-12 is important for the performance of nerve cells, and speeds neural transmissions, which helps with brain function. It is also important for the reproduction of healthy cells. Naturally, B-12 can only be found in animal products. This vitamin can be taken orally, but is most effective when administered via shots.



Some people think that giving up meat means giving up protein. Whole grains, such as barley, farro, and especially quinois, are high in protein, as are beans, nuts and seeds. Vegetarian proteins can sometimes be tasteless. Cooking them in a savory vegetable broth, or combining them with flavorful dressings can make them more palatable.



Iron, which is mainly found in red meat, is needed for the production of red blood cells, and helps convert blood sugar into energy. A lack of iron leads to anemia, and can trigger a breakdown in the immune system. Dark green vegetables, especially kale, are high in iron. Eating foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, berries and peppers, help the body quickly absorb iron into the bloodstream.

A vegetarian diet can be rewarding, as long as your nutritional needs are being met, even if by supplements. It’s important to consult a doctor or a nutritionist before committing to giving up meat. It also helps to buy a good vegetarian cookbook.

Clutter Free Lifestyle: Sell, Re-gift Or Get Rid Of Unwanted Gifts

Christmas and Chanukah is over, or rather, it's just another year until the next one! But please don't take long to figure out what to do with any unwanted gifts you've received this year. Studies show that most people receive at least one holiday gift they have no use for, and at least half of them keep it in the misguided hope they will find a use for it one day.

This correlates with surveys I've done in my workshops I've taught. The number one reason people keep stuff they don't use is because they hope it will come in useful someday. Yet when they reflect on the actual wisdom of this, most freely admit it never does. And what they fail to take into account is the stagnating effect keeping such items has on the energy of their home, and the corresponding stagnating effect this has on their life.

Some people keep unwanted gifts out of loyalty to the person who gave it to them, to which I say, if it's a genuine friendship, then keeping the gift can get in the way of it. Every time you look at the object or think about it, you remember your disappointment and your energy drops. As the old saying goes, it truly is the thought that counts. It's far better to accept the love that was given with the gift and let the physical item go.

Which brings us to re-gifting, a clutter-busting method many people now practice. It can be a risky business, I know, and I will never forget the smile on my friend’s face when I gave her a photo album I'd never use since I scrapbook, only to discover she had given it to me many years before. Knowing I was a professional organizer she took it in good humor.

In case your own relatives or friends aren't so understanding, a safer and wiser choice may be to go online to sell unwanted gifts, or give them away to someone who would like them and can use them. Depending on where in the world you live, eBay and community websites such as Freecycle or Craigslist, can help with this, and all report massive increases in listings, starting from Black Friday and continuing for the remaining days of December each year. Charity shops also report a flood of extra donations of items in the first weeks of January.

If you are brave (or brazen) enough to ask whoever gave you the gift for the receipt, you can return a gift and get a refund or exchange it for something you do want, which is probably the happiest solution of all.

Another option is repurposing. That ugly mug you received may be the last thing you want to drink your tea out of each morning, but could make a water cup when painting. Or you can break something down into its component parts and find a use for some of them, such as keeping the inside part of a ghastly-looking cushion and using it to re-stuff something else.

Of course, if you take up any of these options, you also have to change your own attitude about the gifts you give. It would be hypocritical not to. My own attitude is that if I give a gift to someone and it amounts to instant or eventual clutter in their life then I certainly don't want them to keep it. I would much prefer they sell it, re-gift it or throw it away if necessary. I give the gift and let it go. It's entirely up to them what they do with it. I know how the stuck energies that collect around such objects can stagnate a person's life and don't ever want to be responsible for contributing to that!

Get Organized In The New Year!

So here we are again, another year over and a new one just begun. What were your resolutions this year? If you are like many it included: stop smoking, get fit and lose weight, get out of debt, get organized, and spend more time with the family. All great goals to strive for with three things in common – spend less money, feel less stress and have more time!

Let’s start with getting organized…January is the National Association of Professional Organizer’s (NAPO) Get Organized MonthSM. During the first month of the year the professional organizing community dedicates time and resources to raising awareness of the benefits of getting organized and of hiring a professional organizer. Many of the over 4,000 professional organizers in the United States are ready to make your year more organized!

If you want to try it on your own then here are a few helpful hints to get you going:


Identify why you want to get organized

You want to make room for a new family addition, be comfortable having people over, be able to find things without stress, save money by only buying things you need and will use, etc. It is great to say “I want to get organized,” but without a real reason there is little motivation to do anything other than dream about it.


Write it down

A dream does not become a goal until you write it down! Keep it posted in a place where you can read it every day. It takes 21 days to create or change a habit. You need to be repeating your goal for those 21 days so that it “sinks in”.


Make a plan

Decide what you want to do, how you want to tackle it, when you are going to work on it and who is going to help. Read books, blogs and articles on how to go about creating an organizing plan. Carve out time in your schedule and make a date on your calendar. It took time to get disorganized so you will have to make time to get organized again! And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it is a friend, family member, or a Certified Professional Organizer, don’t be afraid to say you need some guidance. We are all gifted in different ways.


Reward yourself

As you move through the process of getting organized, be it a large project to knock out a closet in a day or small habit changes that lead to the beginning steps of organization, remember to reward yourself.


Organizing is not rocket science, but it can be hard work. So roll up your sleeves and just make a start… Here’s to your organized New Year! So what are your plans?

Clutter Free Lifestyle: An Organized Junk Drawer


Every kitchen I’ve ever organized, including my own, has the ubiquitous junk drawer. The last bastion where stuff gets dumped that seemingly doesn’t have a home anywhere else. Believe it or not, I am actually a fan of having a junk drawer.  A well-organized junk drawer, that is. There are certain items that we all use from time to time that simply belong in the kitchen.


While these items will vary from home to home, a typical junk drawer will be made up of scissors, tape, keys, measuring tape, post-it notes, matches, lip balm, a few tools, etc. So, how to organize a junk drawer to find what you need without screaming when you open the drawer?


Step One/

Empty your current junk drawer either onto a counter or into a box and wipe down the drawer.


Step Two/

Sort everything into categories: keep, recycle, trash, or “belongs in another room.” Toss expired items and be ruthless. Are you really going to use those leftover chopsticks from a take-out order two years ago? The last thing you want is to create an over-stuffed drawer, especially since you’ve taken the time to organize it.


Step Three/

Purchase a drawer divider or look around the house for containers to divide up the drawer into sections.


Step Four/

Utilizing your drawer dividers or containers, organize your junk drawer items by category and/or size of the dividers. Put the scissors in the long section, paper clips and rubber bands in the smaller sections, etc.


Of course there are a myriad of options for drawer dividers/containers.  Here are a few examples:

Expand-a- Drawer - The Container Store

Axis Junk Drawer Organizer - Amazon

You can also use ice cube trays, muffin tins or a series of shallow drawer organizers, like these – The Container Store

Whichever system you choose, remember to go through your newly organized junk drawer on a regular basis.