Yoga

To BE or not to BE…

To_Be_Or_Not_To_Be____by_lateatnine

BE.

DO.

HAVE.

Three words that pack a lot of power and can transform your life.

What do you want more of in your life?  We are all pretty clear on the “HAVES”.  I want to have better relationships, I want to have more time, patience, adventure, excitement, fulfillment at work … fill in the blank.  I know I am pretty clear on what I want to have.  One of my big “haves” is that I want to have a peaceful home.  I want it to be a place where my family feels safe, nurtured and supported.  A place that they want to bring their friends, filled with joy, laughter and love.  I can see exactly what that looks like.  The issue is that I’ve skipped all the way to the “HAVE”.  I must start with the “BE”.

If I want a peaceful home with all the qualities I just listed, I need to “be” that first.  We think we have to wait for the right time, environment and circumstance to have all that we want.  That isn’t true and that time is not coming!  The good news is when I start with how I am showing up in the situation, I can see exactly why I do or don’t have what I want.

When I hold this “want” so tightly, I am controlling, perfectionistic and uptight about everything from homework being done to the perfect dinner, clean house, chores done.  This is usually anything but peaceful in my own body/mind and how I am interacting with my family.  I am looking to all the wrong things for my own peace and a peaceful, joyful home.  ‘

I really just keep checking back when I hear that inner voice say… I wish I had…blah blah.  That is my want, loud and clear.  Now I ask, “How am I being?”  If I want more time, how am I showing up in this moment?  If I want more affection, am I being affectionate?  If I want more ease, am I at ease?  If I want more respect, am I being respectful?

Be.

Do.

Have.

That is a powerful equation for me!  As soon as I back up to the BE, the DO is clear, and the HAVE will begin to show up!  Try it!

Thank you for reading and may you BE all that you desire!

Love Carlene

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By |January 18th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

My latest adventure ~ Yin Yoga!

 

As most of you know, I practice and teach Power Vinyasa Yoga based on Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga.  I love, love, love this practice!  It is dynamic, sweaty (around 92 degrees), empowering and transformative.  It works on your strength, balance and flexibility.  One of the best parts is that it is accessible to all!  It truly meets you where you are, no matter size, shape, age, experience or flexibility.  You can practice this yoga every day and find something new each time within it.  It takes you to your edge and shows you that there is more!

Yoga has truly sparked the learner back up in me.  I am constantly looking for more to read, learn and experience.  Recently, I took a little “yoga field trip” to take a Yin Yoga class in Boston.  The romantic weekend away with my husband was really a ploy to practice Baptiste and Yin Yoga at studios in Cambridge.  Yes, the guy who bought me Bruins tickets for our first Christmas together, is going on some yoga field trips…no questions asked!

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

I was excited to try Yin as a contrast to my regular Power Vinyasa Practice.  Of course, once I tried it, I knew I wanted to train in and teach it.  Wow!  I was not disappointed!  Yin Yoga is the perfect balance to a more dynamic, muscular yoga practice.  While dynamic forms of yoga use muscle, yin primarily targets the connective tissues.  It is a deep stretch!   When our range of motion is limited by soft tissue resistance, 41% of that comes from muscle tissue and 47% comes from denser connective tissues.  If we are working muscle and not targeting the connective tissue, we are only getting the job half done.  I definitely feel that Power Yoga works both but it primarily works muscle.

Yin Yoga focuses on stressing the connective tissues.  Connective tissue is the environment your cells live in.  It is everywhere.  Healthy connective tissue means increased flexibility, prevents joint degeneration and increases hydration, which will detox your joints.  The benefits of Yin Yoga go on and on.  Take a class and see how you feel, mind and body.  You will instinctively know that you did something wonderful for yourself.

What can you expect in a Yin Class?  Class can range from 60-90 minutes.  Most of the class is held in seated or reclined positions.  You will be holding poses anywhere from 2-5 minutes.  The teacher will guide you to a pose; encourage you to stay at the edge of first resistance and let time and gravity work on the tissues.  I hope I sparked a little interest in you as well.  Come try a class at http://seacoastpoweryoga.com or book a private, semi-private or small group class with me.  I can be reached at carlenebenelli@gmail.com .

Wishing you Health, Happiness and some Yin Yoga!

 

Suggested websites for more info:

http://yinyoga.com

http://joshsummers.net

http://baronbaptiste.com

 

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By |January 17th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Juicing and Blending ~ 101

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The sun is shining and the veggies are fresh!!!  Now is a great time to dust off that blender or juicer and finally experiment.  I am definitely not a nutritionist and not particularly proud of the damage I can do to a bag of Lays potato chips.  What I do know is that when I eat whole, clean foods and stay as close to Mother Nature as possible, I feel so much better physically and mentally!

Here is a quick 101 on the differences and benefits of Juicing v. Blending.  I will also share my two favorite recipes.

Juicing removes the fiber from fruits and vegetables, leaving behind nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body.  Juicing is good for digestive health, curbs your appetite and increases your veggie diversity.  Your body is constantly moving on a scale from alkaline to acidic.  A glass of green juice in the am brings you right to alkaline.  A more alkaline system promotes healthy weight, skin, reduces sugar cravings and enhances overall health.  Juicing will boost your immune system, help your body resist and fight infections, reduce high blood pressure and high levels of bad cholesterol.  I use a Breville juicer.

Don’t pollute the juice!… The best time of day to have a green juice is in the am.  You have been fasting all night and your system is empty and ready to absorb all the nutrients.  It’s best to have an empty stomach and not to introduce food, coffee, tea, etc for at least 30-60 minutes so your body gets the max benefit from all that green goodness.

Blending smoothies leaves all the fiber and nutrients in your drink.  Smoothies are nutrient dense, hydrating, easy to make, and can work as a meal replacement.  Blending smoothies with the proper ingredients can give all the same benefits that juicing does to varying degrees.  Blending is definitely more filling and will deliver more calories.  The consistency when blending is a thick, frozen drink while juicing gives you a thin liquid.  I use a Vitamix blender for smoothies.

Here are my two go to recipes;

GREEN MORNING JUICE (makes one large glass)green-juice

  • 5-8 leaves KALE
  • 1 CUCUMBER (peel if not organic, otherwise leave the peel on)
  • 1 head of ROMAINE (cut bottom off)
  • 2-4 stalks of CELERY
  • 1 GREEN APPLE (cored)
  • 1 LEMON (peeled)
  • Send all ingredients thru the juicer and drink immediately.  Ideally, fruits and veggies are organic.  Peel non-organic produce.  Enjoy the liquid sunshine!

 

GREEN SMOOTHIE (I love this smoothie as a light lunch or an afternoon snack)glowinggreensmoothiemainjpg

  • 8 leaves KALE
  • 1 frozen BANANA (I keep a bag of peeled, frozen bananas in my freezer)
  • 2-4 pieces frozen PINEAPPLE (cut and freeze fresh pineapple in large chunks)
  • handful RAW WALNUTS OR CASHEWS
  • coconut water
  • ice
  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth consistency.  Delicious!

Here are some more resources online;

http://kriscarr.com/

http://healthandwellnessjunkie.com/

Just think of all the crazy foods you’ve tried!  Fried Oreos?  Worm in the tequila?  Foods with a shelf life of years instead of days?  Give this a try.  You will be amazed at how you feel, how your cravings change and all the options you have for juicing and blending!

Wishing you health, happiness, yoga and a big green juice every morning!

Love, Carlene

 

 

 

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By |January 16th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Did she say Yoga or Yogurt??

She looked at me from her mat and said, “If we can do this wheel for 20 seconds, I can handle that test tomorrow, NO PROBLEM!”  We both popped up into wheel and began counting together with the class.  Honestly, I could have held it forever after my daughter looked at me from her mat.  Now, don’t get any romantic notions that she and I practice yoga together regularly or talk for hours on end about the power of yoga. She basically asked me “how much longer?” most of the class.  She is 14.  I’m not sure why, on that day, she agreed to come to yoga with me.  I ask all the time.  My invitation is usually met with an eye roll and a definite “NO”.  This particular night a few things came perfectly clear to me.  Keep trying.  Intentions are powerful stuff, when you set your intention for something greater than yourself, you can move mountains!  You can take what you do on your mat and empower your entire life!

The next morning we sat in the parking lot, my daughter was headed in for a 3+ hour test.  Right on cue,   “I can’t do this!  Lets just go home and reschedule the test.  Please, I can’t do this.”  The panic in her face was real and now typically translates into my own silent panic in my gut and the center of my chest.  There is what we call a “nervous Nellie” gene in our family and I seem to have passed it on to my daughter in full force.  I reassured her, and then remembered what she said to me the night before from her mat.  I looked at her and said, “You held a wheel for 20 seconds!  We never hold it for that long!  This is your wheel!”  No lie, it still required some poking, prodding and a lot of reassurance to get her into the test but she did it.  It was my wheel too.  I could have stayed there all night, for no reason other than it was for her.  She needed to see that we could do this pose that may be out of our comfort zone, breathe through that moment of panic and accomplish something that our first instinct may have been to say no to.

Here is my simple yoga recipe for today.  Try it out next time you step on your mat, open the door to your office, begin cooking the same dinner you have made 1,000 times… you get the picture, it works everywhere.

  • Set your intention.  Decide that you are doing this for something or someone greater than yourself.  We’ve all had those moments of “WOW, I don’t know how I did that!”  It’s because we were doing it for a greater purpose.
  • Keep coming back to that intention.  Stop, breathe, let your mind be quiet and clear, reaffirm that intention.
  • Dream big.  Dreams don’t need to be small, safe or judged.  Reach for it!

wheel

Wow… one Friday night hour of power and I am completely reinvigorated in my teaching and practice!  Truth … I did have to take her out for frozen yogurt after yoga.  That was part of the deal.  I agreed as long as she didn’t tell anyone… she did, she told everyone.

Wishing you health, happiness and whatever it takes for a little yoga…maybe even a frozen yogurt!

Love, Carlene

By |January 14th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

What’s your story?

I’ve had this conversation so many times this past week, I figured why not…

What’s your story?  We all walk around with this jumble of stories floating around us… (see Pigpen with the big cloud of dust:) ) pig-pen-lrg

These are stories that, while possibly based out of fact, are nothing but a made up interpretation.  Your stories are the ideas you have about who you are, why you are that way and why certain things happen or don’t happen for you.  If you took the time to write out this story, you could extract very few FACTS!  You really have to be perfectly honest with yourself for this to work.  Each moment, we judge ourselves and others based on that story.  Here’s a little tidbit of mine… I’m not athletic.  I’ve believed that about myself forever.  I tried softball when I was about eight but the tall, lanky girl couldn’t catch the ball.  One day… smack!… right in the face!  “Honey, maybe softball isn’t for you.”  Whammo!… I’m not athletic.  I was eight, got hit in the face with the softball and decided that I would believe for the rest of my life, I am not athletic.  I know what you’re thinking,  the happy, healthy, yogi thinks she’s not athletic?…really??  Well it wasn’t until my beliefs were tested, right there on my mat.  My mat is my mirror.  It’s also a testing ground for all the stories I believe about myself.  My mat is where I learned that I am athletic and a whole lot more.

These stories can layer onto just about any belief we have.  Someone changes plans last-minute and all of a sudden you are back in high school when you didn’t get asked to the party.  A husband or wife makes a comment and you are transported to back to the child that didn’t this he/she was good enough for the love or attention of a parent.  Where are your facts?  Come through the cloud of dust to find that it’s a simple as a change of plans or a poorly thought out comment.  The meaning comes from our story.

Try it out.  You can write your own new story.  All those things you belive about yourself…I’m not athletic, smart, loveable, worthy, as good as, blah, blah, blah.  Choose something different for yourself.  When the stories start brewing, just stop and ask, “Is this true, fact, absolute, or am I making it mean something, writing a little story?”

Wishing you health, happiness and yoga!

Love, Carlene

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By |January 14th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Welcome to Health ~ Happiness ~ Yoga

just looking

“Like” the facebook page and subcribe to the website to recieve regular updates.

Thank you for reading!  Love Carlene

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By |January 10th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

I’ve been everywhere but HERE!

This past week was filled with milestones.  My two children ended their 6th and 7th grade school years, we watched as friends moved up from 8th grade to high school, and we have a ringside seat to graduation, senior prom and college prep festivities for a very special friend.  These are all wonderful accomplishments and moments to cherish.

So why am I so sad?

I have been on the verge of or full-fledged sobbing at any given moment over the past few weeks.  What is wrong with me?  I even took a pregnancy test (God, NO!) the other day thinking I must be a mess for some hormonal reason!

The truth is, I’ve been living everywhere but in the PRESENT.

I’ve relived every moment I can remember of babies, chubby cheeked toddlers, each grade, each milestone, wondering if I did everything I could to prepare them for this next stage of their lives.  I’ve wondered if I rushed us through all those magical moments trying to be the perfect mom and wife.  I’ve wished I could go back and snuggle, read a book for the hundredth time over, clean a dirty face full of melted ice cream or step on a random Lego while comforting a midnight bad dream.

I’ve worried about everything from drugs, alcohol, and pregnancy, to heartbreak, schoolwork, college, driving, friendships, economy, and jobs!  Don’t judge the list, I’ve read some of your Facebook posts; I’m not the only one!  I’ve crossed over to a new stage of parenting and I’m kicking and screaming on the inside.  We all know, based on my previous posts, I do like to have control.  I’m working on this but WOW, did I just get a big dose of “practice what you preach”!

Funny, the advice you give others is usually the most important advice you can give to yourself.

My daughter and I were having a conversation about moving into 8th grade.  She has some amazing opportunities in front of her and we’ve really been pushing her to dive in.  Her attitude has been less than enthusiastic about anything and finally she confided in me that she just doesn’t want to move on.  “ I don’t want anything to change, I like how things are right now in 7th grade.” she said. These are big changes for her too.  She was also reliving the past and fearful about her future.  My advice to her was, when you get there, you will be ready.  There is no need to worry about 8th grade and miss the summer fun.  Enjoy what is right in front of you!  … Ok, hammer over the head… Enjoy what is right in front of you!  I’m not doing that either!  I am so resistant to these big changes and so fearful of all the unknowns I am not enjoying what is right in front of me.

I’m not 100% sure of how I will accomplish this but I know it’s pretty important.  These are the moments.  Just take them one by one.  Stay present to the beauty, challenge, messiness, love, and emotion that are happening right NOW.be-here-now

Wishing you health, happiness, yoga and PEACE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT! Love, Carlene

By the way, I’m not pregnant!

 

By |January 10th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

I choose LOVE. Everytime.

When I decided to share my passion for health, happiness and yoga, I wanted to make sure I was pretty clear on my motives.  Certainly, the ability to write that first post about the bombings at the Boston Marathon was a powerful catalyst for me.  It felt so reassuring to see in black and white how my yoga practice has nurtured a new peace within me.  The thing is, I can write to make it all look beautiful and perfect on the outside or I can write straight from my experience and heart.  Its like either struggling on my mat to muscle into a yoga pose so it looks good on the outside or letting the yoga pose meet me right where I am on that day and have it work its magic on the inside.

 

Yoga certainly has worked its magic on my inside.

 

“What’s up with you and that yoga?” my father said to me during his last visit.  (If you know him, you can hear it right?…heavy, snarky accent on the “yoga”) He’s the most loving, sweet, caring, nurturing, but at times, old school man you’ll meet.  Not always a filter between brain and mouth and, sarcasm was the native language in my house growing up.  But, I always felt loved, protected, and encouraged!  Here’s the thing Dad, yoga has let me find myself.  It showed me that the story I’ve been dragging around with me about who I am, who I am supposed to be and who I am not is total made up bullshit. (sorry for the swear, Dad, but its important)

 

I spent a good part of my young adult life just being sad and mad.  Sad because my mother died and there I was, a teenage girl without a mother.  Mad because it made it easier to not feel sad.  What was my story here?  Fear!  Big time fear.  Fear, that the next bad thing would happen.  My father would be taken from me, something would happen to my little brother, or that I would feel and be stuck in this sad/mad place for the rest of my life.  As I got older and had my own family, the fear overtook all of it.  Fear for my children, fear for my husband, fear for my own health.  Totally exhausting!

fear-is-a-iiar-copy

One yoga class, a teacher of mine, Philip Urso said, “fear is not real”.  What??  I’ve based most of my life on fear!  It’s the cornerstone of my existence!   Who would I be without fear?  Philip went on to say that, “love is the opposite of fear”. “ You cannot have love if you have fear” he said.  Ok, this guy must not know me.  That’s how I love…in total fear of losing!  I let all that simmer for a looooong time.  How do I let go of all that fear?  It’s a habit, comfort, an old friend I’ve been using to protect myself since I was a little girl.  But, it lied to me, it can’t protect me.  It can only rob me of the present moment.  Rob me of the blessings I have right before me.  After a lot of time thinking, digesting, reading and practicing…I get it.  If the opposite of fear is love, I choose love.  Do I still have fear?  You bet!  I do, however, recognize that fear is a lie.  It’s a made up story of what ifs designed to keep me small, anxious and, closed.  Not me, I may still feel the fear but I choose LOVE.  Everytime.

Thank you for reading!

Wishing you Health, Happiness and Yoga

Love Carlene

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By |January 4th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Thank you Mother Nature!

I named this site Happiness ~ Health ~ Yoga for a reason.  I have always felt that without health and happiness it can be a pretty big struggle.  I am immensely grateful for both.  Yoga has added a totally new dimension to this for me.  When I practice yoga, I feel fabulous… I want to keep coming back to my mat and feeling great.  This is what started a shift in how I eat and how I take care of myself.  Just because I practice yoga doesn’t mean I’m going to turn vegan and drive a prius!  I love yoga, I love practicing yoga but I still drive my kids and their friends around in my SUV, color my gray hair and cook a big juicy burger on the grill (just not for me anymore).  One major change occurred right before my fortieth birthday.  For our fortieth birthdays  (well not quite her’s, but I like to pretend we are exactly the same age) my best friend, Aimee (healthandwellnessjunkie.com to you), and I each, 4 months apart, got some pretty scary news.

Mine came first.  What I thought would be a little pre 40th birthday perk up (aka breast reduction/lift…shhh, we still aren’t telling Matt it was a reduction) turned into some of the scariest news of my life.  Upon returning to my doctor’s office for my post op unveiling, she greeted me with a card and an appointment that same day to see an oncologist/breast specialist at the Cancer Center at MGH.  Who knew that during any procedure, its routine to send out tissue for testing?  Rarely does it ever show anything, she said… Yeah, that’s reassuring, as I sit in a puddle of tears in her office.  She said the fact that it did show something for me, was something I wouldn’t have known about for a long time.  I felt like I had just been punched in the gut.  Ultimately, it gave us a heads up and an opportunity to take the bull by the horns.  Without boring you with all the initials and names and fast forward 4 years,  I am followed every 6 months with MRI/mammogram. I’m healthy, I cross my fingers every six months and move on.  Every morning I drink my green juice, I try to make the best choices I can and I thank my lucky stars for my health and happiness, and truly the ability to “let food be thy medicine”!

Aimee wasn’t as lucky.  Her news came a few months later, after feeling a lump in her breast.  It happened all at once, both in slow motion and like a lightning bolt…diagnosis, surgery, bilateral mastectomy, 4 months of chemo, radiation and reconstruction.  She was amazingly strong, smart and driven.  When the dust settled, hair growing back, energy coming back, daily life setting back in, Aimee was left with a plan to see her oncologist every few months and go about her life as normal.  Normal!?  How do you go back to normal after months and months of chemo, medicine, radiation all aimed at truly fighting for you life?  It just felt like letting her guard down… fight, fight, fight…now, just go about your business.  That wasnt good enough for Aimee and slowly we learned together how important what we put in our bodies is.  How empowering to make simple changes that fight cancer instead of feed it.

So the “health” part of this website is where I hope to share lots of healthy ideas, delicious recipes and the things I learn along my journey.  So today, I planted my kale and said thank you to Mother Nature for the ability to grow an abundance of food right in my own back yard and for the saggy, post baby boobs that my vanity may have just saved my life.  If you take anything from this, know that you don’t have to wait for a scare to make great changes that will leave you with more energy, feeling uplifted (no pun intended) and healthy.  Start small, add in some good, it will crowd out the bad!  Each choice means something.  Take it one choice, one moment at a time.  Each choice will either feed your health, or steal from it!

Wishing you Health, Happiness, Yoga and some perky green kale!

Love, Carlene

P.S. If you like my posts, please sign up for email updates or “like” my facebook page.  I promise to share all kinds of good stuff:)

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By |January 2nd, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

SeacoastPowerYoga 10 Day Green Drink Challenge Recipes

greenjuice_istock

Why wait for Jan 1st to begin feeling healthier and taking the steps you need to incorporate some healthy new habits into your life.  We are holding a 10 day green drink challenge at the yoga studio where I teach.  I am using this post as a place to keep all our recipes for easy access.  Feel free to join by adding one green drink into your day.  Follow the link below to join the group and continue to get recipes and tips for the 10 days.  Smoothies require a blender and juices require a juicer.

https://www.facebook.com/events/252632508227540/

 

JUICE

GREEN MORNING JUICE ~ juicer needed (makes one large glass) (see video on FB page)

5-8 leaves KALE (remove thickest part of the stalk/down low)

1 CUCUMBER (peel if not organic, otherwise leave the peel on)

1 head of ROMAINE (cut bottom off)

2-4 stalks of CELERY

1 GREEN APPLE (cored/not peeled)

1 LEMON (peeled)

1/2 inch piece of GINGER (optional)

Send all ingredients thru the juicer and drink immediately. Ideally, fruits and veggies are organic. Peel non-organic produce. Enjoy the liquid sunshine!

 

MAKE JUICE NOT WAR GREEN JUICE (juicer)
 from kriscarr.com

2 large cucumbers (peeled, if not organic)

A big fistful of kale and romaine
(or spinach, chard, etc.)

4 – 5 stalks celery

1 – 2 big broccoli stems (adds sweetness)

1 – 2 pears or green apples (optional)

 

KIWI JUICE (juicer)

6 kiwis peeled

6 celery stalks

1 pear
(kids might like this simple sweet juice)

 

IMMUNITY BOOSTER JUICE

2 stalks celery

2 carrots

1 clove garlic

1 green apple

1/2 piece ginger

1/2 lemon

 

GREEN GODDESS JUICE  from Crazy Sexy Kitchen, Kris Carr

2 stems broccoli

1 cucumber

1 green pepper

2 sprigs fresh parsley  (parsley should be avoided during pregnancy and in cases of kidney inflamation)

 

SMOOTHIE RECIPES

GREEN SMOOTHIE ~ Blender (I love this smoothie as a light lunch or an afternoon snack)

8 leaves KALE

2 handfuls of BABY SPINACH

1 frozen BANANA (I keep a bag of peeled, frozen bananas in my freeze

2-4 pieces frozen PINEAPPLE (cut and freeze fresh pineapple in large chunks)

handful RAW WALNUTS OR CASHEWS

coconut water and ice

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth consistency. Delicious!

 

I love this one! MANGO BASIL GREEN SMOOTHIE (blender)

8 ounces almond milk

2 – 4 leaves of kale
 (stalks removed)

½ cup frozen mango

5 – 6 basil leaves

1 slice of lemon

Prep and wash all produce.  Blend and serve.

 

 GREEN COLADA SMOOTHIE from Crazy Sexy Kitchen, Kris Carr

2 cups cashew or any kind of nut milk

1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks

1 orange peeled

1 frozen banana

1/2 baby spinach

Ice, Blend and serve

 

 

By |January 2nd, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|