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Slim n’ Sexy Nutrition Tip #1

I’ll be doing a short series of nutrition tips in the next few blog posts, to help give you some reminders about how natural and tasty it can be to eat healthy for a slim figure.

Nutrition Tip #1 is very simple:

Drink more water!

You hear it SO often, “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.” But this is because it is the most important thing you can do for your health other than breathing.

Your body can not function well without being properly, liberally hydrated. Your metabolism depends on it too!

Drink pure water and lots of it. 8 glasses a day is the MINIMUM. Try filling up your litre water bottle and drinking 3 to 4 of those a day.

Of course, it’s hard to drink that much water if you’re having other beverages instead. Soda is obviously not helpful (it’s loaded with sugar, and the diet stuff is just as bad because the chemical sweeteners they use are really bad for you.)

I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking coffee, but remember when you do that it actually DEhydrates you, so you have to consume MORE water when you drink coffee or black tea.

Fruit juices are very concentrated in sugar, and are not so helpful in helping your body be hydrated or shedding extra pounds. That sugar actually makes your body gain weight!

And milk is one of the best ways to put on pounds there is. Ask body builders what they do to gain weight: drink milk! Dairy is actually a poor source of calcium as well (according to some natural research), because it uses calcium in the body to process the dairy. Better to stick to calcium rich foods like dark greens, plus nuts and seeds such as almonds, sesame and flax seeds.

Green tea and herbal teas are wonderful, but you still need to have plenty of pure, clear, water. If you want to put anything in your water, try squeezing fresh lemon into it, or add some chlorophyll.

If you think you’re hungry, ask yourself when the last time was that you had a big glass of water. If it’s been more than an hour, get yourself some water rather than going for food. You’ll consume less calories and help your body stay clear and healthy!

How much water have you had today so far?

Maybe it’s time for more . . .

It’s not just your weight that depends on you to hydrate properly, but every other system in your body. Your brain has a higher % of water than the rest of your body, so you’ll actually help your brain and nervous system by drinking water. Your muscles will recover more quickly, your joints will have better lubrication and support, your blood will be able to cleanse more efficiently, your immune system will be stronger, and your skin will look more beautiful!

Yep, water is that good for you. 🙂

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Posted in Nutrition by Katrina Ariel | No Comments

Five Tips for Your Chocolate Eating Enjoyment

Okay, we all know this is the weekend for chocolate… Easter and sweets somehow go hand in hand, at least for most people.

If you’re into that sort of thing (chocolate, I mean), here are some tips to help you bring balance and feel good about yourself while you indulge.

5 Tips for Chocolate Enjoyment

1.) Be sure to HYDRATE. Drink lots of water. All morning, all day, all evening. Water helps to flush your system, and keep your metabolism working well.

2.) Be SELECTIVE. Choose high quality chocolate. If the ingredients include “hydrogenated” anything, stay away. That stuff’s not good for you. However, there is a whole world of tasty selections in the organic and dark chocolate categories.

3.) Pause, BREATHE, and check in with your body. Ask yourself, “Have I had enough?” When it comes to the “Food of the Gods,” as chocolate is known, a little goes a long way. If you find that you’ve accidentally had more than enough, refer to tip #1 and #4.

4.) Eat healthy food and GREENS for your meals. Balance your blood sugar with protein and whole foods. Don’t let it spike by eating too much sugar. And, as does happen to the best of us, if you find you over did it and your blood sugar is skyrocketing, chew on some celery or lettuce. They will help tone it down and balance.

5.) ENJOY it! Savour each bite. Don’t do anything else while you’re eating that delicious chocolate, because when your mind is elsewhere, your taste buds can’t be heard in their moment of delight. That actually goes for eating in general: you’re less likely to over eat if you really are present for each bite of food and enjoy the taste, texture, and gift it brings.

Okay, that’s it. Did you learn something that you’ll use on Easter, or any other time you choose to eat chocolate? Maybe even share some of these tips with your family?

Of course, being active to balance the calories and sugar of chocolate goes without saying, right? Perhaps a run before breakfast, or a walk after dinner, or join us next week for Yoga Boot Camp?

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Posted in Nutrition by Katrina Ariel | No Comments

A Smile to Brighten Your Day

“I’ve never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful.” ~Author Unknown

Smiling is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others. It costs nothing, rarely takes that much effort, and creates an entirely different mood instantly!

Just in case you need them, here are some reasons to smile:

1. Smiling diffuses tension in your body, turning on “happy” hormones (these are also the hormones that help you release stress and fat – so happy is really good for many reasons!)

2. When you smile, you’re giving yourself a free face lift, defying gravity and time.

3. When you smile at someone else, you could totally shift the course of their day! It’s an easy way to pay a complement to someone without saying a word.

4. You naturally lift your heart when you smile, helping your posture and spine.

5. Smiling can shift your mood in a big way. It’s when you don’t feel like smiling that you need it most! In this case, it’s a “fake it till you make it” sort of situation that can work wonders! Try smiling at yourself in the mirror. Extra points for spontaneous laughter and random dance parties in your kitchen. 🙂

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle by Casey | No Comments

The Magic Happens in the Kitchen

What do you think about when you contemplate cooking?

Does it feel like a chore, or a joy?

Sometimes I feel like cooking is just one more thing that needs to be done, but when I remember how much GOODNESS I can bring into myself and my home when making food, it becomes a wonderful thing to do.

If you’re focused on becoming more healthy or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, what you eat and how you eat it is of the highest importance.

And if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s all about what you eat. Exercise is vital, but wise food choices make all the difference!

Here are some ways to bring magic into your kitchen and to your table:

1.) Take a deep breath. Yep, it works for cooking just like it helps in yoga. Give yourself the chance to ENJOY the task!

2.) Turn on some fun or soothing music. Music does such a great job of setting a mood. What do you need? If you’re feeling tired, maybe something with a groovy beat will get your energy up. If you’re feeling stressed, perhaps some calming music to bring balance. Maybe even light a candle or two!

3.) Choose wholesome ingredients. Cooking with whole foods not only honours your body and encourages health, it also feels good. Know that sugar and starches discourage fat loss, while fiber, lean proteins and veggies encourage it!

Base as much of your diet as you can on fresh veggies, whole grains, meats that are grass-fed and raised with integrity, legumes, and seasonal fruits. If you’re buying packaged food, try to get ones that have less ingredients, and more simple combinations of ingredients. Read labels! It makes a difference.

4.) Know where your food comes from. It’s scary to realize that almost all corn, wheat, canola, soy and many other foods that aren’t organic are genetically modified. GMO foods have been linked to cancer and other diseases, so be very aware of where your food comes from. Read labels. Buy organic whenever possible. Grow your own food as much as you can and support local producers.

5.) Connect with gratitude. Food carries energy, so when you’re preparing foods and eating them you’re connecting with the elements of earth, sun, water, and air. If you’re aware of this, you’ll
find you’re more grateful for the food.

And when you take a moment to bless your food before you eat, it literally makes the meal more wholesome and enjoyable, as well as helping your body be in a state where digestion can happen more easily because you are calm, mindful, and focused on the food rather than something else.

Remember, when you’re eating you’re not just bringing food into your body, but energy as well. If you’re stressed or angry, that energy is ingested more deeply or cooked into the food.

So take the time to breathe, let go, be grateful, and bring the best of yourself to the art of cooking and the sweetness of eating.

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle by Casey | No Comments

Six Months From Now . . . Some Inspiration For You

You know how good it feels when you’ve done something you’re really proud of, and you look back to where you started to see how far you’ve come?

That feeling of accomplishment, of inner joy that just radiates from you when you’ve worked hard and long at making something happen that was once just a dream… that’s one of the best things in life!

It’s amazing to look back and see how everything you’ve done has brought you to this point in your life right now.

But the other side of the coin is to think about where you can go if you start something right now.

Yoga tells us that with consistent practice, making something so meaningful that it brings you a new level of dedication, you transform on every level: body, mind, and spirit.

So what is it that you want to accomplish next?

Do you have a vision for yourself that includes all aspects of who you are: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual?

I found this photo on Facebook, and think it’s pretty darn effective at demonstrating this idea:

Wow! She sure has a consistent, dedicated physical practice.

Maybe she even does yoga. 😉

The point isn’t to look like this woman, or even work out like her.

The point is that in order to go anywhere, you have to start sometime.

So how about now?

If your goals include getting in better shape, finding more strength, stamina, energy, flexibility, health, and a sense of inner peace, then consider joining our fantastic group of women at Yoga Boot Camp.

A new session of Peaceful Warrior Training starts soon, and we’d love to have you there!

To you, your vision, and your dreams,

Katrina

P.S. You can do it! I believe in you.

POWER and BEAUTY WORKOUT

This workout is designed to get your metabolism up and help you feel beautifully empowered, Kamloops Yoga Boot Camp style!

I did this one this morning. Woke up feeling sluggish, so I knew I needed to get moving. It worked! I feel amazing.

As always, modify and adapt for your body, as it’s your responsibility to know what is safe and appropriate. If you don’t know what an exercise is, choose something else that works for you.

Peaceful Warrior Training – Yoga Fitness Practice

– Center in and set your intention. Take a few deep breaths.

– Warm up with Movement Prep or light stretching.

CARDIO: (30 sec. per exercise)
– Jog in place (arms punch forward for more action)
– Jumping jacks or steam engines
– Butt kicks
– High knees (arms alternate up for more action)
– Cross country skiiers
– Mummy kicks
(REPEAT)

STABILITY:
– Forearm plank (lift opposite arm/leg 30 sec)
– Twisting lunges with bent back knee (10 each side)
– Punches (high, mid, upper cut – super strong core – 30 sec)
– Squat kicks (20)
– Super slow push-ups hold at bottom (3 – 10, as many as you can do in alignment)

POWER: (10 each)
– Bent over rows
– Burpees with weights (no push-up. Modify with squat jumps or squats)
– High knees with weights (arms bent 90* to work biceps)
– Punches across body with weights ( 8 each side – pelvis and CORE SUPER STABLE – modify with seated mason twists)

REPEAT the whole thing (Cardio, Stability, and Power) once more.

YOGA COOL DOWN:
– Breathe with arms
– Forward bend with hands clasped behind to open shoulders
– Lunge lifting up to stretch thighs and hip flexors
– Runner’s lunge to stretch hamstrings and calves
– Down dog to plank and cobra, back to down dog
– Warrior II to Goddess Warrior to Triangle
– Pigeon
– Thigh stretch of your choice
– Hamstring hug and twist on back
– Savasana

Yeah! Print ‘er out and get ‘er done. You’ll feel so good!

Posted in Fitness by Casey | No Comments

A Story About Arthritis, Yoga, and Fitness

Many people live with arthritis, which can come in many forms and cause varying degrees of discomfort.

Sometimes it brings minor pain, and sometimes it creates such pain that it can disrupt even the most basic things in life.

Carrie Few, co-teacher for Kamloops Yoga Boot Camp, has experienced the full range of pain from Arthritis, even to the point of making it difficult to walk and dress herself, as she shares in this touching video. She also shares how changing her lifestyle and incorporating yoga helped her come back!

Arthritis is a real concern, because if you’re dealing with the pain you don’t want to make it worse. You want relief!

Yoga, and appropriate movement in the way of exercise, can be incredibly helpful if applied in self-honouring, respectful ways.

For some people, starting slow is a very good idea. A private yoga therapy lesson or gentle/restorative yoga classes are ways to ease into a lifestyle change that can bring about more freedom.

One of the reasons yoga and mindful movement can be so helpful for Arthritis relief is because you’re bringing a great deal of circulation into the areas of blockage. This circulation helps to clear tension and pain, and can even lessen the physical calcification in the joints to reverse the Arthritis.

Another reason yoga and mindful practices help is because you find yourself letting go of stress, boosting your immune system, and bringing great benefit to your nervous system so you feel calm and your body has more flow on a physical and energetic level.

Many people with Arthritis can participate in more vigorous practices, such as we do at Kamloops Yoga Boot Camp.

There are always modifications to any exercise or yoga pose, so it’s a matter of being sure you have an instructor who can help you with appropriate options for your body, and listening to your body to know when you need a change.

Whatever your choices are, just be sure that you’re honouring yourself.

In our women’s only program, we remind each other that “100% is always enough,” and that this “100%” changes from day to day, and even moment to moment. You keep checking in with yourself, and practicing discernment so you can give all you’re able without depleting yourself—instead, you are recharged with vitality and a sense of accomplishment that is enormous!

 

Love Your Body ~ This is What We Do in Kamloops Yoga Fitness Boot Camp

First of all, I invite you to sit up tall and take a nice, deep breath as you read this. Feels good doesn’t it?

The theme for the next session of Yoga Boot Camp is “Love Your Body.”

Here are some of the reasons HOW this applies so well to our “Peaceful Warrior Training” program, and WHY it can make all the difference for your health and happiness.

You Want to Love Your Body Because:

1. When you get out of your own way amazing things happen. What I mean by this is, when you can come from a place of not judging yourself and allowing your own unique experience to be fully accepted, the things you want flow much more freely!

2. You get to do it from the inside out. By using your breath, intention, and inner wisdom to initiate all action and change, you not only feel better during the “doing” and “transforming,” but you will be so much more effective at creating what you want. You’ll also get to know yourself better, which is a life skill for sure.

3. Strength is a very good thing! When you love your body and play in a way that creates strength, you’ll feel more capable, have a higher metabolism, support healthy bones and joints, create more stability and happiness in your back and spine, have more energy, and find an inner strength as well!

4. Yoga benefits every single part of your body and life. From the physical systems (circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, musculo-skeletal, reproductive, immune and nervous systems) to the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects, yoga brings balance, harmony, health and happiness to every aspect of your being. Incorporating yoga into your life on a consistent basis is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

5. You get to do it YOUR WAY. Every time you practice yoga, meditation, exercise, or any other mode of self-care, it’s a chance to see where you’re at that day. You re-center yourself, honour your mental and emotional state, find your physical edge and dance there with respect and a joyful feeling of accomplishment!

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100% of what you’ve got each day is always enough.

And when you realize that this changes all the time, you can practice in whatever way is most appropriate in each moment. We have all ages and abilities in our classes, which adds to the dynamic of the group and helps everyone reach for their own personal potential.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All of these aspects add up to a whole lot of lovin’!

And when you’re bringing love into your body, heart, and mind, it ripples out to touch your entire life. You feel more alive, more fulfilled, more able to naturally and effortlessly help those around you.

Just the simple energy of you being YOU brings more beauty and happiness to the world, because you are mindful of the beauty and happiness you’re creating in your own life.

You are invited to join us for the next session of Yoga Boot Camp, focusing on loving your body and bringing more lovin’ goodness into every aspect of your life!

How ________ Can Boost Your Health in a Big Way

Have you ever read “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Christiane Northrup M.D., or any number of other studies on how the way you feel about yourself directly correlates to the health of your body?

Even if you haven’t read or heard much about this subject, you’ve likely noticed the effects personally.

When you have _______, your physical body simply functions in a more effective and positive manner.

So what is this ________?

Self-acceptance
Self-love
Self-kindness
Self-respect
Self-honouring


Here’s a quote from the Dalai Lama:

“The ultimate source of a happy life is warm-heartedness. This means extending to others the kind of concern we have for ourselves. On a simple level we find that if we have a compassionate heart we naturally have more friends. And scientists today are discovering that while anger and hatred eat into our immune system, warm-heartedness and compassion are good for our health.”


Personally, I’ve found yoga and meditation a game changer in the way I relate to myself.

I used to be really hard on myself – downright mean! And I had very little self-respect.

But slowly, one day at a time, I’ve been able to completely change my self-talk to be kind, loving, supportive… sweet even. And it’s not only made a difference in my ability to feel happy and find inner-peace, but I have noticed a definite improvement in my overall health and immune response.

When you give yourself the time to care for your body with a self-honouring intention, your body responds with GRATITUDE.

When you offer your heart and spirit love and kindness in a conscious way, your life reflects this by bringing more LOVE and KINDNESS into your experience.

And when you can be an example of self-acceptance, self-respect, and positive self-worth, you INSPIRE others to cultivate these qualities within themselves.

This, dear friend, is how we change the world and bring more harmony to teach other.

It starts with you. One sweet thought at a time.

With love,

Katrina

P.S. Smiling at yourself in the mirror is a great way to practice this.

P.P.S. Just extending a smile or kind word to someone else can also boost your own happiness level. Share the love and it grows!

Weekend Warrior Yoga Practice (Also good for weekdays.)

What do you do on the weekends to be active? And during the week for that matter?

Whatever kind of activities you enjoy, it’s important to get a good stretch in to bring balance and stay healthy. Your muscles and joints will thank you, and so will every other system in your body.

Here’s a whole body yoga practice that helps you stretch major muscle groups, bring harmony to your hormones, and replenish your body’s energy.

As always, it is your responsibility to decide what is appropriate for your body. Listen to your own inner wisdom, and modify as necessary. If in doubt, consult your health practitioner and/or yoga instructor for support.

Whole Body Yoga Practice

Center In: Start by taking a few minutes to center in. Sit beautifully, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Allow any tension or stress to melt away with your exhales. Open to receive the vital life energy (prana) in each inhale. You may like to sound three Om’s to start your practice.

Child’s Pose: If you’re tired, it’s always a kindness to start in child’s pose. Give yourself a few breaths here, and invite your body to awaken slowly, easing into your yoga practice.

Vinyasa: The flowing nature of this series of poses helps you feel energized. It also stretches many muscle groups that need to warm up before going into deeper poses. Be sure to move with your breath. As you continue the practice, feel free to insert a Vinyasa at any point that feels good.

Anjaneyasana: This lunge stretches your hip flexors and thighs. Stay strong in your legs and integrated in your pelvis, while also stretching fully out through your feet. Lift your heart and hands brightly. Breathe. Stay for 3-5 breaths, or longer if you like. Do both sides.

Parsvottanasana Variation: A wonderful stretch for your hamstrings, calves, and hips! Be sure to use blocks under your hands if necessary. There should be no strain on your lower back. Use your breath to move and release any tension you find.

Uttanasana: A standing forward bend can feel wonderful, just be sure not to strain your lower back. If you have tight hamstrings, bend your knees and/or use blocks. Keep your legs strong, and extend from your pelvis through your feet, as well as from your pelvis through the crown of your head. You can pulse with your breath, inhaling to lift your chest and belly, and exhaling to fold forward. No force is necessary. Let it be a gift.

Tadasana: Inhale up to standing, and take a couple of breaths there.

Garudasana: Eagle pose helps to stretch your shoulders and hips, while cultivating core stability and balance. If you have knee injuries, you can just do the upper portion of this pose. To figure out which side goes where, here’s some help: if your right arm is under the left, then the right leg goes OVER the left. Or vice versa.

Uttanasana with Shoulder Stretch: Clasp your hands behind you, or use a strap to connect your hands if your shoulders are tight. Inhale to grow very tall, shoulders back, and then fold forward over strong legs. Keep your shoulder blades moving toward your heart and down toward your hips. Let your breath guide you to the place that is best for you today.

Virabhadrasana II to Goddess Warrior: The warrior poses help you feel strong and empowered, while creating an inner sense of grace and a nice stretch for your inner thighs and hips. Use your breath to deepen the poses. Keep your front knee right over your ankle, pointed towards your second and third toes.

Trikonasana: Triangle pose is one of the most essential yoga poses. It stretches many areas, especially in the hips. It helps to open the energy channels in your body, supporting ease and flow as well as healthy internal organs. Use a block if your hand doesn’t touch the floor. Legs are strong, knees pointing the same direction as the feet. Expand from your pelvis through your feet, stretching out through your hands and crown fully!

Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Dog is a lovely way to create symmetry in your body in between asymmetrical poses. It also comes with many health benefits, and can be a calming, soothing place to breathe.

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana Prep: I know, the Sanskrit is a mouthful, but this pose is commonly known as Pigeon. You can modify it by doing a Figure Four with your legs on your back. This is one of the best hip openers! Align yourself as best you know how, balancing integration and strength with extension as you stretch out through both feet and your torso. Breathe deeply to release any tension you find in your hips and hamstrings.

Thigh Stretch: Pick any thigh stretch that works for you. It can be on your belly or side, in Pigeon as shown here, or in a lunge. Be sure to keep your hips square, awareness and alignment. As much as you draw your legs into the pelvis, also stretch out through your feet! That part is important. As you stretch, reach your tail bone forward to lift your lower belly, and extend out through your torso as well. Transition through Downward Dog.

Dhanurasana: (Optional Backbend) This is a good place to insert a backbend. I’ve shown Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) here, but Ustrasana (Camel) and Setu Bandha Sarvanghasana (Bridge Pose) are also a great. These backbends stretch the fronts of the shoulders beautifully, open the chest and thighs, and bring a whole lot of goodness to your internal organs and endocrine system. In Bow Pose (as shown) keep your knees and feet close together, and scoop your tail bone into the earth to lengthen your lower back. Try doing this pose twice, just lying on your belly in between, and then doing child’s pose afterwards.

Uttanasana or Down Dog: Finish the standing portion of the practice in a symmetrical forward bend to create clarity in your back and body. Enjoy your breath here.

Janu Sirsasana: This seated twist opens the lower back and hips. This is an important stretch if you’ve been doing lots of walking, hiking, biking, running, skiing… just about anything really. Keep your pelvis and thighs very rooted into the floor, while lifting your lower back upwards. Twist from your lower belly, taking the opposite hand to your calf, thigh, or foot. Inhale to come out of the pose after a few breaths there.

Baddha Konasana: You may like to do this pose sitting tall and simply opening the inner thighs and hips in an upright position. If there is no tension on your back, you may also fold forward. Breathe, and turn your awareness inwards, letting your mind calm and your heart float on your breath.

Viparita Kanari: (Optional) Legs Up the Wall pose is an incredibly relaxing and healing place to be. It does wonders for your legs, especially if they’ve been working hard! It’s also excellent for your immune system (although most yoga poses are). This is a great one if you have the time for it, as you want to stay in the pose for about 5 minutes or even longer! You can lift your hips up on pillows or blankets to make it more of an inversion if you choose, but don’t lift the hips if you are menstruating or have high blood pressure – just do the pose with your back and hips on your mat and legs up the wall. While in this pose, feel the waves of your breath and let your body rest. Come out of the pose slowly, rolling to your side and giving yourself a minute or two there.

Hamstring Hug: This pose helps to clear tension in your lower back and hips by moving your femurs (thigh bones) back. Inhale to lift your leg, clasp your hands behind, and then press your thigh into your hands AWAY from your body. The thigh on the floor also tries to root back into your mat. Stretch out through your feet. After a few breaths, exhale to float your leg to the floor. Take a deep breath, and then do the other side.

Finishing Twist: You can do a twist with both knees or one leg at a time. I’ve shown both here. Inhale to lengthen your spine, exhale to twist. Breathe there for a few breaths, and then inhale to center, exhale to the other side. Inhale back to center when you are ready. Hug your legs in with your arms, and rock side to side in a soothing gesture to your body.

Savasana: Arrange your body so you’re comfortable and cover up with a blanket. Take a deep breath and let your body melt all tension on the exhale. Spend at least 5 minutes here, giving your breath full freedom and riding the waves of your breath with your mind. This pose helps you integrate all of the physical, mental, emotional, and energetic benefits of the practice. It is very important to give yourself this time to rest, heal, and recalibrate your systems. Just release and receive the nurturing of your breath.

When you’re ready to come out, do so slowly, and sit quietly for a minute or so, perhaps closing with an Om.

Yoga Brings You So Many Benefits

Doing yoga on a regular basis brings immense benefits that are very rewarding on a physical level, but which also help you on every other level.

Yoga benefits every single system in your body. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety, and bring a feeling of overall wellbeing. You may notice that your yoga practice gives you a sense of inner peace that helps in other areas of life.

I hope you enjoy this practice, and make it a part of your life. May it bring you great joy!

 

 

 



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