- RT @theNCC: Exciting News! Our event was such a tremendous success that we have been asked to create an encore event. Join… https://t.co/kYfI1BdKAs, Jan 18
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- RT @TheFirstDogs: Our other friends at @delawarehumane animal friends still need homes. Can you help? 🐾 https://t.co/6Sufb5Ct7c, Jan 17
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- How to manage your mental health after a week of sadness and chaos https://t.co/VyGQDwX10f, Jan 10
So many of us suffer from “slouch-asana” because of poor posture, carrying heavy bags, too much time hunched over the computer, or texting, or driving. Whatever the reason, this repeated hunched posture creates tension in our chests leading to shallow breathing, painful shoulders / back and stress, and even more shallow breathing, and even more pain & stress. It’s a horrible cycle. Break that cycle by simply creating more space in the muscles in your chest.
When I was in middle or high school, my mother introduced me to the writing of Louise Hay. It was the first time I had been exposed to affirmations and the link between the emotional and physical world. I wasn’t sure if I completely believed it but I did find it interesting! Through every move I’ve made over the years, those books went with me but I would go months or even years without looking at them.
Around age 19, I started meditating using Edgar Cayce tapes. Every day, for a few years I meditated. Any time I felt overwhelmed I immediately added an extra little meditation that day.
I don’t know why, but at some point I drifted away from affirmations and meditation. Ironically, it was around the same time that my physical yoga practice deepened.
Maybe I thought that I only needed one “spiritual” practice?
If that was the case, it turns out I was wrong. Life is a spiritual practice and the more ways you approach it, the better equipped you are to cope with difficulties.
Perhaps more importantly though, the more “tools in your toolbox”(i.e., affirmations, meditation, yoga, self-care, etc…) you have, the more life doesn’t become difficult.
I don’t mean you start pooping unicorn rainbows (that only happens when you use the squatty potty! 😜) but that you see the world differently and therefore interact with it differently. Because of that, people approach you differently and many problems simply disappear. The difficulties that remain don’t impact you in the same way.
I’ve reignited my meditation and affirmation practice and my yoga practice has changed. It’s become more welcoming. I have nothing to prove on the mat. It’s about finding what I need that day.
Maybe I’m listening to myself without the distraction of other voices? (and by other voices I mean the ones inside my own head – people really aren’t thinking about us as much as we think they are!)
It seems that each of my “tools” fuel the others. I meditate and I view myself as worthy of only the most wonderful fuel for my body. I feed my body glorious foods* and my body responds by giving me a beautiful and loving yoga practice. That yoga practice leaves me with yoga bliss! Yoga bliss gives me a glow and allows me to give kindness to everyone (ok, not everyone but definitely most people and it allows me to let the mean folk roll right off my back).
*Disclaimer: If you know me well, you know I have an intense sweet tooth. I love my green juices but I also love a little bit of chocolate. I’m incredibly picky though and it better be hella good if I’m going to indulge! I’m not jeopardizing my machine for some gas station chocolate bar!!
You get the point. It’s a beautiful upward spiral*.
Second Disclaimer: I don’t beat myself up if I’m not 24/7 perfect. This isn’t a competition, folks.
The best part is you can start anywhere with anything. Start seeing beauty in yourself. If you can’t see it yet, talk to me because I can see it in you.
You are alive and by virtue of being a human and being alive, you are worthy of being loved by others and by yourself!
I guess what I’m saying is Spiral Up, my friend!
5 Reasons to Stand Up Straight*: Surprising Reasons to Stop Slouching-
1. Less back pain. Sitting in front of your computer or in the car all day — especially in a hunched or slouched position — increases pressure on disks in the spine, which can cause its supporting muscles and ligaments to degenerate sooner, says Esther Yaniv, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in Austin, TX. This can lead to back pain and may worsen herniated disks or pinched nerves.
2. More energy. Good circulation is crucial to keeping your mind alert and body energized. But slumping tightens your chest and compresses your lungs — which means less oxygen makes its way into your bloodstream, leaving you tired, stressed, and mentally foggy. And strain in any part of your body saps energy, says Yaniv: “Tense postures have the same fatiguing effect as holding a biceps curl for two hours.”
3. Fewer headaches. Headaches are a common by-product of our constant use of computers and other electronic gadgets — notice how gravity draws your head forward when you’re staring at a screen. Trouble is, that position pulls on neck muscles and sensitive nerves in the back of your head and cuts blood flow to the brain. The result: a throbbing noggin. Sit straighter and you’ll prevent the pain.
4. Fewer bone and joint aches. Poor posture can be a slowly occurring injury that can lead to the shortening of muscles over time. For example, slouching when you’re sitting causes hip flexors to become shorter and less flexible than they should be, leading to joint pain. And if you sit with rounded shoulders, you may get rotator-cuff pain. Over time, this wear and tear can lead to arthritis.
5. Better digestion. Slouching on the sofa after eating causes your tummy muscles to tighten, which can push stomach acid into your esophagus and cause heartburn. Standing or sitting up straight allows your digestive system to work more efficiently, so you won’t experience that or other gastro problems, like gas.
I teach a weekly class where one client is always negative. She complains about most everything. The class is in a residential building and other residents know this about her and try to keep their distance. When I see her, I try to keep my energy calm and lead by example.
I wonder about people like this.
She doesn’t deal with chronic pain (always my first thought since I know how difficult it is to deal with pain on a regular basis). She’s been this way for years from what I’ve heard.
Why are some people unhappy? Does she have love in her life? Does she have “people”? Is there any touch in her day?
It makes me grateful to return every evening to my loving home, to connect with my wonderful community, and to practice self-care through out the day.
With every act of self-care you practice, you subconsciously tell yourself that you love yourself and you realize that you’re worth loving. The more that happens, the more you believe it. It becomes part of your being, your very fiber. You exude it and most people pick up on that. You may find that people are nicer to you. It builds on itself.
You may tell the guy with the hat how much you love it. You may tell the cashier at the grocery store how fabulous her haircut is. You may tell the child how great his/her glasses are. You may just smile at people. Notice they smile back. You made their day.
Your Self-Care practice made their day! How magical is that?! Being happy is contagious.
(Not sure how to practice Self-Care? Try some of these. Connection is important too. We’re social creatures, even us introverts. We need touch. We need love.)
So getting back to my negative Nelly (and no, her name isn’t Nelly), what to do regarding her? I’ll keep practicing Self-Care, being grateful and leading by example. I offer her kindness and let her make her own choices. … and probably bulk up on kindness to me when I get home! 😉
Try it for a day and let me know how it goes! I want to hear if (more likely, how) your happiness changed your world.
Stress got you down, your back tight, and your shoulders way up? Grab a ball and roll out your tension.
You probably don’t even realize how tight your upper back is. Hours of hunching over your computer, carrying heavy purses/computer bags, and poor posture leaves your trapezius muscles carrying a heavy load (literally!). Be careful and go slowly because it is incredibly tight!
This Back Pack Strap Self-Massage can be intense but only because it needs lots more love from us! Get rollin’ and let me know your thoughts.
Top Holistic Treatments for Inflammation
The easiest tips to incorporate are to drink more water and rest. I have to be careful with rest though. If it’s discomfort due to my fibromyalgia, I need to move – slowly and gently at first but staying still isn’t helpful.
I’m a big fan of dry brushing – again going very gently but oh my gosh, this feel so good! It increases circulation and helps to bring me back to life. Anything that increases circulation will be helpful – massage and self-massage. I love my massage therapy balls. Plus the jokes are really helpful for breaking the pain cycle!
Epsom salt baths are a staple in my life too. I probably take at least one a week and sometimes every day.
If you know me, you know I’m borderline obsessed with food and spices/herbs. I’ve long realized there’s a direct connection between what I ingest and how I feel. Everyone is slightly different but below are some great guidelines. Again, though, everyone is different – broccoli and kale are super nutritious but there are conditions making it a no no for some people.
I am not a medical professional. Please work with your doctor to find what works best for you.
Here’s the list. Did I miss anything? Which are your favorites?
1. Drink more water
3. Heat and Ice Therapy
Ice for trauma with in 48 hours
Heat to increase blood circulation
Improves blood circulation
Stimulates nerve condition
Facilitates lymphatic drainage
5. Essential Oils
Arnica, Calendula, St John’s Wort or Peppermint relaxes tense muscles and improve circulation
Stimulates white blood cells and disperses trapped, disorganized fluids from bruised joints, tissues, and muscles
7. Vitamin supplementation
Vitamin D reduces inflammation and vitamin E reduces inflammation as well as cleansing the body of free radicals
8. Dry Brushing
9. Magnesium – Muscle relaxer
Epsom salt baths at temp ~ 80* for 20 minutes
Magnesium oil spray for 20 minutes or on feet before bed
10. Spices and Herbs
Turmeric (works best when used with Black Pepper), Ginger, Cayenne, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Basil, Cardamom, Chives, Cilantro, Cloves, Garlic & Parsley all have strong anti-inflammatory properties
recipe here (I use flax milk – anti-inflammatory – instead of the suggested coconut milk)
11. Food Choices
Corn syrup, Agave, Fructose, Maltose, Sorghum, Sucrose, Hidden places
Try – stevia, honey, molasses, fruit without added sugar
Common Cooking Oils
Vegetable, Grapeseed, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Safflower, Corn
Try – Macadamia oil, Extra Virgin Olive oil (not at high heats), Coconut oil (my personal favorite)
Try – foods containing no trans fats, cook
Try – Kefir and unsweetened yogurt in moderation are fine for some. Almond milks, Coconut milk, Flax Milk (my personal favorite) – make sure your milk does not include carrageenan
Feedlot raised meat
Fed grains like soy, beans and corn which are high in inflammatory omega 6 & low in anti-inflammatory omega 3. Also have hormones and antibiotics
Try – organic, free-range meat
Red Meat and Processed Meat
UCSD School of Medicine study – Neu5Gc -> triggers anti-Neu5Gc antibodies -> chronic inflammation
Try – red meat in moderation but cut out processed meat
Try – anti-inflammatory green tea
Whites – rice, flour, bread, noodles, pasta, pastries. Often include other inflammatory ingredients – sugar, trans fats, dairy…
Try – minimally processed foods if you can handle gluten. Don’t trust 100% whole on the box – no guidelines
Artificial Food additives
Try – again, cooking
Everyone has their own foods that just don’t work for them.
Common foods include nightshades, yeast, soy.
Contains fucoidan – anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-oxidative
but not seaweed snack – lots of salt and veg oil
Wild Caught Salmon – not as easily converted inside the body. Also Anchovy (European, raw), Mackerel (salted), Flax seeds, Walnuts
EPA, DHA – 2 potent omega-3s that help with anti-inflammation
but not deep fried mushrooms
flavonoids – anti-inflammation
Papaya – pineapple
Papain (protein-digesting enzyme)
Vitamins C & E – reduce inflammation & improve digestion
Blueberry – Blackberry, Cranberry, Strawberry, Raspberry
High in phytonutrients anti-inflammatory protection against disease such as cancer and dementia
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Polyphenols – protects heart and blood vessels from inflammation
Broccoli (other greats – cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts)
Phytonutrients such as sulforaphane – anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer
Beta-Carotene, Manganese, Vitamins B6 & C, & Fiber rich -> heal inflammation
but not processed potatoes
Have you ever wondered what your yoga teacher was saying when she/he spouted those strange sounding words? Have you ever wondered what those pose names mean?
Here are some of the more common Sanskrit words translated. Do the poses make a little more sense now? Knowing a few root words make it much easier to understand your yoga practice.
Adho-mukha — Face downward
Ardha — Half
Asana — Posture – third stage of yoga
Astavakra — Broken boy
Aum — All, conveys concepts of “omniscience”, “omnipresence”, & “omnipotence”
Baddha — Bound, caught, restrained, firm
Baka — Crane
Bandha — Bondage or fetter, a posture where certain organs or parts of the body are contracted and controlled
Bheka — Frog
Bhuja — Arm or shoulder
Bhuja-pida — Pressure on the arm or shoulder
Bhujanga — Serpent or snake
Chandra — Moon
Chataur — 4
Danda — Staff
Dhanu — Bow
Dharana — Concentration or complete attention, sixth stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali
Dhyana — Meditation, seventh stage of Yoga mentioned by Patanjali
Dwi — 2, both
Dwi-hasta — 2 hands
Dwi-pada — 2 feet or legs
Eka — 1, single, alone, only
Eka-pada –1 leg
Garbha-pinda — Embryo in the womb
Garuda — Eagle
Go — Cow
Gomukha — Face resembling a cow
Hala — Plough
Hasta — Hand
Karma — Action
Karna — Ear
Karna-pida — Pressure around the ear
Kona — Eagle
Krauncha — Bird like a heron
Kriya — Cleaning process
Kukkuta — Cock
Kundalini — Divine cosmic energy
Kurma — Tortoise
Mala — Garland, wreath
Manduka — Frog
Mantra — Sacred thought or prayer
Marichi — Name of one of the sons of Brahma
Matsya — Fish
Mayura — Peacock
Mudra — Seal, sealing posture
Mukha — Face
Mukta — Liberated
Mula — Root, base
Nauli — Process in which the abdominal muscles and organs are made to move vertically and laterally in a surging motion
Nava — Boat
Pada — Foot or leg
Padangustha — Big toe
Padma — Lotus
Parivartana — Turning around, revolved
Parivrtta — Turned around, revolved
Parivrttaika-pada — With one leg turned around
Parsva — Side, flank, lateral
Parsvaika-pada — With one leg turned sideways
Paschima — West, the back side of the body
Paschimottana — Intense stretch of the back side of the body from the nape to the heels
Patanjali — Propounder of Yoga philosophy, author of the Yoga Sturas
Pida — Pain, suffering, pressure
Pincha — Chin, feather
Pinda — Fetus or embryo, the body
Prana — Breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy, strength, also connotes the soul
Prasarita — Spread out, stretched out
Pratyahara — Withdrawl and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and sensual objects, fifth stage of yoga
Purva — East, front of the body
Purvottana — Intense stretch of the front side of the body
Raja — King, ruler
Raja-kapota — King pigeon
Salabha — Locust
Salamba — With support
Sama — Same, equal, even, upright
Sama-sthiti — Standing still and straight
Sarva — All, whole
Sarvanga — Whole body
Sava — Corpse, dead body
Setu — Bridge
Setu-bandha — Construction of a bridge
Sirsa — Head
Supta — Sleeping
Surya — Sun
Sva — One’s own, innate, vial force, soul, self
Svana — Dog
Tada — Mountain
Tap — Burn, blaze, shine, suffer pain, be consumed by heat
Tapas — Burning effort which involves purification, self-discipline and austerity
Tittibha — Firefly
Tola — Balance
Tri — 3
Trianga — 3 limbs
Trikona – Triangle
Uddiyana — Fetter or bondage, diaphragm is lifted high up the thorax and the abdominal organs are pulled back towards the spine
Ujjayi — Type of pranayama in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out
Upavistha — Seated
Urdhva — Raised, elevated, tending upwards
Urdhva-mukha — Face upwards
Ustra — Camel
Utkata — Powerful, fierce
Uttana — Intense stretch
Utthita — Raised up, extended, stretched
Vakra — Crooked
Viparita — Inverted, reversed
Vira — Hero, brave
Virabhadra — Powerful hero
Vrksa — Tree
Vrschika — Scorpion
Yoga — Union, communion, union of our will to the will of the Supreme Spirit