Meditation was a gift I gave myself for my birthday four months ago. I started with a simple 10-minute, guided meditation in the mornings, and some days felt so rejuvenated that I finished the day with another, longer meditation.
I found beautiful places in my neighborhood where I could sit comfortably by the water and stare out at nature, completely unburdened by the confines of my home.
I meditated every single day, and my life was changing rapidly for the better. My relationship with myself was easier, my anxiety was more manageable, and my relationships with others were improving every day. My professional life was taking off so rapidly that I really believed I was manifesting abundance and creativity through my daily meditations.
And then I went on vacation and didn't meditate because I didn't need it because my day-to-day anxiety didn't follow me on vacation. So, I took a break.
And then I came home from vacation, and there was laundry to do and bills to pay and work to catch up on, and I convinced myself
I would meditate tomorrow. At the end of two weeks of ignoring my daily meditation practice, I felt terrible inside and out.
My body and mind were craving something as simple as the routine of sitting alone for a few minutes each day, clearing my mind, and meditating. I never would have anticipated how rapidly I would feel the absence of meditation in my life, but after two weeks, here's what happened:
1. I was exhausted.
I wasn't sleeping, and my bedtime routine fell to the wayside. Even if I managed to stay in my bed for eight hours, I was having restless sleep with anxiety dreams that would keep me up. Some nights I would be too tired to even make it to my bed and opt instead to fall asleep on the couch. I started the day tired and ended the day exhausted.
2. My creativity tanked.
I had hoped that a week in the Rocky Mountains would lead to creative breakthroughs in my writing, but returning home only returned
me to the minutiae of everyday life, leaving no room for the creative rebirth I had been anticipating.
3. I said yes too often.
Too often, I made plans on top of plans when I should have been carving out time to meditate and to reengage my self-care routine. Instead, I made plans when I was exhausted and came home only more exhausted and unable to carve out the 10 minutes
I desperately needed to meditate to reset.
4. I stopped eating well.
Takeout and delivery became the norm while I ran around in a constant state of busy. I started using "busy" as an excuse for why I wasn't meditating and watched it morph into an excuse for eating junk.
5. Everything hurt.
My head, my back, and my stomach were all in a knot after two weeks of forgoing meditation. A combination of anxiety, lack of sleep, and a poor diet contributed to the complete dismantling of my physical health in real time.
The next time I catch myself thinking meditation can wait until tomorrow, I'll try to recall how quickly I felt the effects of slipping out of the routine. The good news is, meditation is always waiting right where you left it, allowing you to hit the reset button on the damage done.
As an OB/GYN, I hear all kinds of issues from my patients—from painful intercourse to vaginal discomfort—especially when there are questions about the way the female body ages and what to expect. Having practiced as a gynecologist for over 40 years, I've heard and seen it all.
And the more open our society has become, the more comfortable my patients have become asking me personal and important questions about the changes in their bodies over time. On the other hand, I still find myself surprised by how many women feel uncomfortable talking about these topics.
Many women are ill at ease discussing the physical changes they'll undergo, specifically after menopause, for reasons we can all relate to: They're embarrassed or feel that their health care provider, or partner, or close friends may not understand.
But let me remind you how normal and important it is to discuss anything you might be struggling with. You're not alone, and there's no need to suffer in silence.
I want to shed light on some of the most common concerns and questions my postmenopausal patients have asked me and will provide recommendations for approaching your health care provider to start this seemingly tough but important conversation.
1. Is any stage of menopause related to loss of libido?
Often my patients will note that they have been experiencing a low sex drive. As I continue the conversation I often learn they are actually experiencing painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness.
Women may feel embarrassed and avoid talking with their partners about vaginal dryness, and rather than bring up the uncomfortable topic, avoid intimacy altogether. While each patient will require a unique treatment based on their medical history and symptoms, once a patient is in treatment, these uncomfortable urinary or vaginal symptoms may be relieved.
2. Is vaginal dryness a normal symptom of postmenopause?
Yes, up to 40 percent of postmenopausal women experience vaginal atrophy, and painful intercourse is a common symptom. While most women are familiar with and talk about hot flashes and night sweats, fewer women are aware of these vaginal symptoms or may not connect them to a treatable, medical condition called postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. Postmenopausal vaginal atrophy is caused by lack of estrogen, which can lead to atrophy, or thinning of tissue, of the vagina and lower urinary tract.
Symptoms may include vaginal burning, itching, and dryness. Other symptoms include urinary symptoms such as urinary urgency and painful urination. There are a number of FDA-approved treatments currently available including a ring, vaginal tablet, pill, and topical cream or gel. It's important to work with your health care provider to find a treatment option that's right for you.
3. Why doesn't my health care provider bring up menopausal symptoms during my visit?
There are a number of reasons health care providers may not bring up menopausal symptoms during your annual visit, and I can't stress enough—you are not alone. There's generally a checklist of items health care providers are interested in learning about during any average annual visit—all of which they need to address in a short amount of time—allowing important topics such as sex during and postmenopause to slip to the back burner as the checkup and medical history usually take priority. On top of that, patients may not be aware that symptoms such as painful intercourse and vaginal dryness are part of a treatable medical condition.
A recent survey of women who experienced vaginal dryness showed that only 7 percent of women had health care providers who actively inquired about postmenopausal vaginal atrophy symptoms. That is just not enough!
4. How can I initiate a conversation about postmenopausal symptoms and my sex life?
The best way to ensure you are getting what you need from your health care provider is to step up to the plate and start the conversation. Come prepared to your appointment with questions or topics that have caused a concern for you. By having your questions written down, you may feel more at ease, and if you are still nervous about discussing the symptoms or your sex life with your health care provider, bring a partner or close friend who may help you feel more comfortable during this conversation.
As the conversation progresses, if your health care provider seems a bit distracted or if there is not enough time to discuss everything you'd like, feel empowered to make a separate appointment to specifically discuss the menopausal changes you may be going through. You can find additional resources to help guide your conversation by visiting talkchange.com.
Of course, it's important to note that not every patient–health care provider relationship is perfect. If you feel that your health care provider may not be the right fit for you, I encourage you to find a menopause specialist at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS)'s official website, where you can search for a NAMS-Certified Menopause Practitioner (NCMP) in your area. When you find a health care provider that is right for you, phrases such as "painful intercourse" and "vaginal discomfort" should be open, comfortable topics. And that's something to celebrate!
photo - Pinterest
by Dana Claudat October 31, 2016
We love costumes, candy, and pumpkin-carving as much as ever. But we also know there’s a whole other side to Halloween—a world of spiritual significance to tap into. So, for the past week, we’ve been sharing content aimed at helping you connect with your transcendent potential and more effectively creating the life you want, from the inside out. In other words, to manifest magic.
Today, we’re exploring how to use feng shui principles to cleanse your life of negative, ghostly energy and welcome great vibes.
Everything—from the ground under your feet to the electronic device you're reading this on—is energy.
At the core of all feng shui and Eastern (and now, most Western) traditions of healing, energy is everything. Stagnant, stuck energy contributes to blockage and illness while open, flowing energy is the basis of great moods and every kind of abundance.
If you've ever been to a chiropractor or a healer who practices kinesiology, you've likely experienced "muscle testing"—a diagnostic technique where you hold out one arm parallel to the ground and attempt to keep it strong while a practitioner applies light pressure to it. If you're holding an object with energy that your body likes, maybe your favorite fruit, in one hand, your arm will likely stay strong when that pressure is applied. But if you were to hold, say, a bowl of sugar or something you're allergic to in place of that piece of fruit, your arm might get very, unexplainably weak when pressure is applied.
When you clear the negativity and stress from your space, you free up stagnant energy and open up the flow of strong, affirmative, creative greatness.
While I don't make major medical decisions using this method, it's a great physical demonstration of how our energy is affected by the energy of everything around us. To paraphrase Dr. Bruce Lipton, the pioneering cellular biologist whose studies of cells revealed that our lifestyle and beliefs affect our thriving well-being: "Good vibes make you strong, and bad vibes make you weak."
It makes sense, then, that when you clear the negativity and stress from your space, you free up stagnant energy and open up the flow of strong, affirmative, creative greatness. Here's how to get started:
Sunshine invites massive doses of happiness, and the more time you can spend connected to nature and out in the sunlight, the better you'll feel. Even if it's overcast, you can connect to this light with a sun-simulating light box and lots of houseplants.
If your desk feels drab, a package of rainbow colored pens or Sharpies can be enough to brighten it up. Pops of colors that you love help to add more energy that's in sync with your body and life.
It's so important to open your windows daily—even if just for a few minutes. Fresh air will revitalize your space and get the flow going.
Saying affirmations out loud is always helpful, but taking action is what really creates radical energy shifts. You can remind yourself that you are a talented, ingenious artist throughout the day, but it's the practice of making art that is really going to rocket your life higher. Making a gratitude list is a great start, but actually sending thank you notes or expressing gratitude directly to people takes it to the next level.
When you're feeling brighter and lighter, it's easier to look at bad-memory objects (think clothes that lower your self-esteem or trinkets from a relationship that's past) with an objective eye—and let them go. All the stuff you keep close to you that makes you feel bad is actually making you weaker in many ways, and you definitely don't need to be held down by anything in your home.
The most effective way to clear your energy is to keep your life free of anyone and anything that drains you, squashes your spirit, or is in any way harmful. If you're feeling roller coasters of turmoil, take the time you need to declutter these toxic ties. It will benefit you in every way imaginable to take responsibility and clear this space in your life.
Grudges and resentments keep you stuck and stagnant while love transforms life in expansive ways. So tell people you love them. Find things to love in even the more mundane tasks. Look for love for the people who've wronged you. Love is open and flowing and light.
Good vibes are your superpower. Surround yourself with the sights, sounds, scents, people, pets, art, and actions that light you, and you'll have endless inspiration to create a life filled with ease and positivity.
photos - pinterest
October 28, 2016
Almost everyone has heard of detoxifying, but most of us don't really know how it works. Contrary to popular belief, detoxing your body isn't complicated and doesn't require you to go on an expensive raw juice retreat—it happens naturally in your body, every day.
According to circadian circles, morning time is the perfect moment to help your body get rid of toxins. These few steps we've gathered for you will help you have energy all day and go back to a state of well-being and bliss.
1. Tongue scraping
Tongue scraping is a practice from ancient Ayurvedic rituals that consists of removing (literally scraping) bacteria and toxins from the surface of the tongue. It is usually performed in the morning since our digestive system spends the night removing toxins by moving them to the tongue.
Removing these toxins first thing in the morning helps us avoid swallowing them back into our system, which in turn prevents digestive issues. Tongue scraping is said to be more efficient than brushing your teeth since most of the toxins in our mouth are located on our tongue.
Scraping your tongue, albeit unusual, is easy and quick making it a great way to ensure that you start the day with a detoxified digestive system and increased immunity.
2. Oil pulling
This practice, which also comes from Ayurveda, has gotten attention in the media for its numerous benefits. Swishing coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning on an empty stomach improves not only oral health but also overall health. It is said to help draw toxins out of the whole body.
You can add a drop of tea tree essential oil in the oil you use to further benefits. Once you are done, make sure to spit the oil—don't swallow any! (Pro tip: Spit it into the trash can, as it can clog drains.)
3. Warm water
The morning is all about replenishing your body with liquids. Did you know that drinking warm water on an empty stomach is said to increase metabolism? Drinking water in the morning stimulates your digestive-colic reflex, which will help you eliminate what is sitting in your intestines from the day before.
For bonus points, you can also add a few slices of lemon in your water, or even lemon and honey, especially if you can get them from a local farmers market.
4. Morning smoothie
A smoothie is one of our all-time favorite recipes to start the day. It's a great way to ensure you get everything you need, from healthy fats to greens.
Starting your day with a liquid meal is also a good way to avoid the "food coma" feeling and bloating. Less energy will go toward digestion than with a heavier meal, leaving you feeling lighter and more energetic throughout the day.
These four steps will help you start feeling better quickly, especially if you've had bloating or digestive issues. Even if you try a different step four days of the week, taking time to nourish your body is an essential step to be able to be present and energized throughout your day.
I still remember the day in medical school when I first understood the duality of the immune system. The same immune system that heals a wound from a car accident (or historically from an animal bite) is the same immune system that goes to the coronary artery of the heart and causes a heart attack. How can something be so good and then so bad?
It is now that I understand that the immune system has the power to do both—inflammation for good and inflammation that causes disease. So you might be wondering: Do you have inflammation in your body right now?
The answer is an unequivocal yes. The real question is: Do you have inflammation that chronic, low level, causing harm to your blood vessels, your muscles, or causing you to gain weight, for example?
If you have symptoms like headaches, bloating, joint pain, rashes, fatigue, weight gain, allergies, asthma, or mood issues—you are most likely inflamed. Sometimes inflammation can be "silent" or difficult to detect. The reason it is such a huge problem and why I'm telling you about it today is because it's the root cause of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and cancer.
Patients ask me all the time how to detect and calm their (bad) inflammation. My protocol is to first measure it with either a blood test, symptom store, or both. Then we go on to a host of solutions. Although it has to be personalized there are a few solutions that I have found immensely helpful in this arena. Here are just a handful!
Food is the best lever for change in your inflammatory state. Eating more antioxidant- and polyphenol-rich foods can fight free radicals, which can calm inflammation. My favorite recommendations are green tea, and six to nine servings of green leafy vegetables like bok choy and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Also omega-3-rich seeds, nuts, and oils. Lastly, other superfoods for inflammation include garlic, ginger, turmeric, pepper, and blueberries.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates spark inflammation by deregulating glucose and insulin, leading to oxidative stress. In short, insulin resistance triggers the inflammation cascade. My recommendation to patients when starting out: Use stevia for sweetness and sprouted grains for an occasional bread fix.
In the past I was a glutton for punishment when it came to exercise. No pain, no gain, right? Actually, not right. Pushing yourself to the limit every day plus living a stressful life outside of that lead to chronic inflammation. For patients who do participate in heavy exercise we make sure to build in long and deep rest days.
Adaptogen refers to a plant's ability to adapt to its environment, to survive, and to adapt to exterior stress.
Adaptogenic herbs—such as rhodiola, ashwaganda, ginseng, phosphytidyl serine, and maca—help strengthen and stabilize the body, thereby mollifying the impact of stress. Adaptogens also improve the entire body's resistance to stress (not just a particular organ or system) and create balance and harmony in the body, helping to reduce chronic inflammation.
Stress is one of the top aggravators of inflammation. Making time in your schedule to include exercise, meditation, yoga, and moments of mindfulness really do make a difference.
Lack of sleep makes the body ripe for infection, while getting adequate sleep has an anti-inflammatory effect. A study from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta found that short sleep durations and poor sleep quality are associated with higher levels of inflammation markers. In fact, individuals who reported six or fewer hours of sleep a night had the highest levels of inflammatory hormones and changes in blood vessel function.
Mindfulness is the newest component of an anti-inflammatory plan (yet, ironically, it is ancient). We are now finding out through brand-new studies that the immune system is directly connected to the brain—therefore lowering inflammation can treat diseases like depression and anxiety. This also gives more credence to the fact that daily mindfulness/meditation is anti-inflammatory.
This is not exhaustive—I have many more things that I would recommend for you—this is just a place for you to start on your journey!
photo from Pinterest
A 10 week programme held every Wednesday starting 19 October 2016
at Suma on The Strand
6.30 - 8.30pm
Stage 1 (week 1-5)
energy protection & grounding
vibrations & how to 'tune in'
how to bless & charge
dismantling fears & using intuition
how to tell between messages & imagination
Stage 2 (week 6-10)
pendulums & tarot cards
crystal balls & psychometry
open night (your choosing of topic)
contact Skylar White 021 222 6574
As a professional intuitive or psychic, people come to me for insight into their subconscious blocks, to make sense of their past and present, and for help navigating their future. Even though my clients aren't as psychic as I am, every human possesses a sixth sense that becomes stronger the more we pay attention to it and act on its advice.
Unfortunately, many people ignore their intuition. The following are some signs that you're discounting yours—plus tips for connecting with your inner Jedi.
1. You often wish you'd followed your instincts.
Did a little voice tell you to bring your umbrella to work even though the weather forecast called for sunny skies? You might have ignored your intuition and ended up soaked when an unexpected afternoon shower rolled in. This is a relatively "small" thing, unlike ignoring an intuitive nudge to change careers, towns, or romantic partners. But the small intuitive hits are a great place to practice honoring your intuition and creating new habits. Then when the big intuitive insights come, you're more likely to take notice.
2. You don't have any downtime.
Are you rushing from assignment to assignment, event to event, diaper changing to play-date drop-off? Make time every day, even if it's only 15 minutes, to sit down with your journal, let your mind go blank over a cup of tea, or take a walk in nature by yourself to quietly reflect upon your day and any intuitive insights you experienced, like synchronicities, ah-ha ideas, inspired advice from friends that resonated deeply, symbolic dreams, or gut instincts. Busy people want to get the most out of life, but if you aren't in touch with your intuition, you can't live at your highest potential.
3. You think intuition is a bunch of nonsense.
We all naturally fall at different spots on the intuition spectrum. Professional psychics like myself hear voices, see images in the mind's eye, have feeling sensations and strong intuitive knowings that can tell us the name of a client's first pet as well as bigger insights like which unexamined traumas are holding a client back and what opportunities are in a client's future. Skeptical? Educate yourself about intuition. Read a book on intuition, listen to a podcast, or schedule an appointment with a professional intuitive like me. Once you understand the power of intuition, you can start tapping into, and growing, your own.
4. You avoid taking healthy risks.
Our sixth sense will tell us when it's time to take a healthy risk—and this is usually a bit before our ego feels ready. If you've repeatedly felt the nudge to try something new—like ask someone out, take a class, investigate a different career, begin an ambitious project—but don't act on that hunch, you're not just ignoring your intuition but you're playing small. Maybe this new venture or idea or person won't work out the way you hope. But if your intuition is telling you to go for something then it knows you will benefit somehow from the experience.
5. You feel ungrounded.
It's normal to feel lost or scared during certain periods of life. Times of transition, significant relationships starting or ending, and career or spiritual growth spurts are great examples. But when you're in touch with your intuition, you're grounded in your soul—something eternal and infinitely more stable than changing life circumstances. Your intuition can also provide you with practical next steps or help you put a situation into perspective so you understand how it fits into the larger picture of your life. When you make time to meditate, consult oracle cards, watch for signs from the universe, and journal, you can feel grounded even when the future seems particularly uncertain.
6. You seem to be cut off from grace.
Do you feel like nothing has worked out lately? Like you never catch a break? It might be that you aren't paying attention to intuitive guidance that signals grace opportunities. Grace is when things just come together as if by magic. Grace is when your intuition whispers, "That elimination diet you heard about could help your headaches," or "that book your friend recommended will give you a new perspective on your childhood." Grace opportunities are available to everyone but only if you tune into your intuition and follow its guidance.
What the Merging of Spirituality and Science means for you.
“In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Biochemist and Nobel Prize Winner.
For centuries the ancient wisdom keepers and healers in several traditions had a keen understanding of the energetic body. The healing traditions from China, India, Japan and Tibet, as well as other countries all spoke of energy channels, meridians or nadis along which the vital energy flowed.
Life was considered to be a bio-electrical and vibrational energy phenomenon and so health revolved around balancing energy through various means. Life existed because of life force and energy running through and animating the body, ensuring we can move, breathe, digest food, think and even feel.
Healing traditions all spoke of energy channels, sen, meridians or nadis.
This vital life force or chi, is composed of two kinds of forces, yin and yang, and flows along a sophisticated network of energy pathways, or highways, circuiting the body. Over 2000 years ago ancient cultures knew of the existence of these energy channels. They were called ‘sen’ in Thailand, ‘nadis’ in India, ‘meridians’, ‘channels’ or ‘vessels’ in China and Japan, and ‘channels’ in Tibet. In India, where many eastern healing arts developed, there were said to be 72 000 nadis or energy pathways. Disease is believed to be a blockage in the energy flow of these channels. A range of healing traditions, including acupuncture, acupressure, massage and yoga, are founded on the principle of the existence of energy channels or pathways, known as meridians, or nadis, running around the body in an expansive network.
While it may seem a little airy fairy to some to consider the energy body while we have flesh and bone, at source we are an energy field, embedded into another energy field. Our bodies are electromagnetic in nature and science has measured these frequencies with advanced machines, like EKG’s and MRI scanning, for many years. Numerous studies demonstrate these energy pathways and points conduct electricity even when needles aren’t used. And the massage technique of Shiatsu have been found to stimulate the same energetic effects. Similarly, Qigong,Tai Chi and the postures of yoga, have been found to increase electrical conductance at acupoints, yet science never believed in the existence of meridians until now.
A range of healing traditions are founded on the principle of the meridians.
Recently scientists at Seoul National University confirmed the existence of meridians, which they refer to as the “primo-vascular system.” They say that this system is a crucial part of the cardiovascular system.
Previously, North Korean scientist Kim Bong-Han proposed that he had found meridians in the early 1960’s. Dr Kim Bong-Han showed over 50 years ago that new tubular structures exist inside and outside of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, as well as on the surface of internal organs and under the dermis. He believed they were the traditional meridian lines. The meridians were called Bonghan ducts or channels, after his research, but now the existence of this system in various organs has been corroborated by further research.
The current Korean researchers now believe the primo-vascular system is in fact the physical component of the Acupuncture Meridian System. And it has also been suggested that this system is involved in channelling the flow of energy and information relayed by biophotons (electromagnetic waves of light) and DNA.
There may be a link between the meridians and energy and information relayed by DNA.
The Korean scientists studying oriental medicine with biophysical methods injected a special staining dye which coloured the meridians. By injecting the dye onto acupuncture points, they were able to see thin lines. These did not show up at non-acupuncture point sites where there are no meridians. The researchers discovered that the meridian lines are not confined to the skin, but are in fact a concrete duct system through which liquid flows, and that this liquid aggregates to form stem cells.
Previously, scientists used a combination of imaging techniques and CT scans to observe concentrated points of microvascular structures that clearly correspond to the map of acupuncture points created by Chinese energy practitioners in ancient times. In a study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, researchers used contrast CT imaging with radiation on both non-acupuncture points and acupuncture points. The CT scans revealed clear distinctions between the non-acupuncture point and acupuncture point anatomical structures.
Scientists injected a special staining dye which coloured the meridians.
There are 12 primary paired meridians and two single mid meridians, six yang and six yin. The yang meridians run down the body and the yin meridians flow up the body. Each meridian is also related to an element. Each meridian is most active at a certain time of the day or night and each meridian is influenced by an element or season.
The nature of meridians, in their elemental structure, and as vessels for the life force, show the intricacy and profound connection of our body at a cellular level, to the universe. We are intimately connected by the elements, energetic structure and flow of energy, to all life, at a cellular, physical level. Our earth is also said to have energetic pathways or ley lines, akin to meridians.
The map was created by Chinese healing practitioners nearly 2000 years ago.
How are meridians related to health?
A balanced flow or energy, not too much or too little, is conducive to good health. This is the same in the way we live our lives. Balance is paramount. Just enough food, water and a healthy balanced lifestyle. As the Buddha said: “middle way” or moderation in all things.
We can see this harmony and balance in life, as the balance between the energies of yin and yang – or more simplistically, masculine and feminine – the two opposing and catalyzing energies of the universe.
In our bodies we need balance, not too much or too little.
Our health is vibrant if there is harmony and balance between these two forces in the body. If the balance is disturbed, and the flow of one of these forces becomes greater than the other then illness arises. These forces or energies flow through very definite channels in the body, or meridians, and these are the body’s healing energy pathways.
In traditional Indian medicine, the meridians are expanded upon.There are nadis found within the physical body and these nadis make up the nervous system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system, the lymphatic systems, etc. Any blockages in these nadis can result in physical health conditions. Nadis can also be found in the subtle body where they carry thoughts, feelings, and nerve impulses. When these nadis are blocked, we lose our ability to feel, and connect deeply with others, the environment and ourselves. In the same way that veins and arteries are important for the body to function, nadis weave through our physical nerves and the matrix of consciousness that circuits the mind and self, supporting our physical expression from the otherworldly dimensions of existence.
YinYangChi is made up of two kinds of forces, yin and yang.
When the flow of energy is blocked, it causes low energy and illness. Practices like yoga and meditation work on these subtle energy channels, supporting the flow of energy through the body. According to some ancient indian texts there are 350 000 nadis or energy pathways in the body. In traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the physical body, the subtle body and the causal body are said to flow through the nadis. Within this framework, the nadis are said to connect at special points of intensity called nadichakras.
The three most important nadis are those running along the spine: ida, pingala and sushumna. The Sushumna is the central channel of energy in the human body and it runs from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and carries kundalini energy, which is the primal evolutionary force. Kundalini is awakened through yoga and meditation and is said to lie dormant at the base of the spine. Activation of the kundalini leads to higher consciousness states. The aim of yoga is to broaden the sushumna and to unite the pathways. Purifying all three nadis leads to overall health, and wellness of body and mind, as well as spiritual growth. Various Pranayama techniques aid in helping to keep these nadi channels open.
If you are sensitive to energy and have had energy treatments, such as acupuncture, you may have felt streams of energy or a flow of cold or heat, for example, up the legs or arms. This is a freeing up of energy in the meridians and the flow of energy that is released when a blockage is removed.
There are many wonderful healing modalities based on the meridian system that support radiant health. By enhancing the flow of energy through the body, balance and health is achieved and we come in touch with our true selves. Acupuncture is a therapeutic modality used in China as early as the late stone age. It was used to treat all ailments affecting people. Acupuncture did not enter modern Western consciousness until the 1970’s when China ended a period of isolation and resumed foreign political and cultural contacts.
The range of applications for acupuncture has grown slowly in the West, possibly because of the belief that it has no scientific basis. Perhaps now with the scientific proof of meridians, acupuncture will become more widespread for all ailments, along with other great healing modalities based on the energetics of the body, supporting more people to have vibrant health and wellbeing.
Journalist, Writer, & Yoga Teacher
For the full article with diagrams, click on the link below.
31 August 2016
Even if you've never heard the term "text neck" before, you're likely experiencing it. The term came about because people were getting neck pain—as well as actually causing damage to their cervical spine, supporting ligaments, tendons, and muscles—from looking down at their cellphones, tablets, or other wireless devices too often and for way too long.
Welcome to the 21st century, where technology has possibly become more important than our health. Today when you people-watch, all you'll notice is that everyone's heads are buried in their mobile devices. Kids at schools are being taught on iPads, 9-year-olds have smartphones, and even toddlers are given tablets at dinnertime to keep them quiet. Technology is the new pacifier.
The future is here, and the sooner kids start learning about technology the better off they will be once they get into the workplace. But what's going to happen to our health? Not only have our attention spans come down to three-minute blocks, but we are also literally changing the physical structure of our bodies.
How text neck affects your well-being:
A head typically weighs 10 to 12 pounds, and some say that for every inch your head moves forward, backward, or side-to-side, it gains an extra 10 pounds. So imagine you move your head 4 inches down to look at you smartphone, your spine now has to hold an extra 40 pounds up on top of the 10 to 12 pounds that your head already weighs.
Can you imagine what that will do to the bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves over time? At this point, you may start to form some bone spurs because that will help create more stability in the spine. Ligaments and muscles are constantly being stretched, which means that they are under constant pressure to hold the head up (and remember the head is heavier and heavier now), so the ligaments become thicker and the muscles become tighter. Voilà … now you have neck pain, and you may start to see more headaches, possibly some TMJ tension, and even lower-back problems.
If text neck is left untreated, chronic issues could start to develop such as spinal degeneration, arthritis, disc herniation/compression, nerve damage, and more.
A natural technique to heal:
Acupuncture can decrease the inflammation in the neck muscles and ligaments. This will take some of the stress off and allow everything to start healing. Because acupuncture increases circulation, it will also increase the rate of healing to any acute or chronic damage created over time from the repetitive motion of holding one's head up.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we talk a lot about treating the root or the branch or both at the same time if needed. The root is the origin of the problem, and the branches are the manifestation of that problem. Since text neck can cause more than just neck pain, we will consider all symptoms the patient presents and decide then what is most important to treat. In this case we will always treat the neck (the root) because unless that becomes healthy again, none of the other symptoms will disappear. But let's say that a patient is suffering from a lot of headaches and the headache pain is more severe than the neck pain; we may for the first few sessions focus on the headache and treat the neck as a secondary issue.
How to avoid text neck in the future:
Acupuncture is very effective at treating the symptoms of text neck and can rid the body of most of the pain and discomfort you feel from it. But what are you supposed to do about technology? How do we fix the causes of text neck? It does not seem to be going away anytime soon, so we need to learn to coexist in a way that is not harmful to our bodies.
The best way to reduce the risk or occurrence of text neck is to restore proper function and posture to the head, neck, and body. Some easy ideas are simply altering your daily routine, such as setting a timer and getting up every hour to stretch the neck, walk around, get a drink of water, or wearing a posture-support shirt or posture reminder to minimize the slouching and forward shift of your head.
Other ideas such as using a standing workstation, elevating your computer screen to eye level (or getting an external keyboard and elevating your laptop to eye level), and turning up the brightness of your monitor can help to keep you from leaning in, thus minimizing the stress on your head and neck.
Technology is changing the world almost daily—we just have to make sure we are helping our bodies and routines to change as well.
Thursday 25th August, 7-9.30pm, Tauranga Boys College, Tauranga.
Post from BePure website:
Gut Health and Immunity
May 17, 2016
We often think of being sick as the result of running noses, nasty coughs or sore chests. But what if these were just symptoms of a depressed immune system. What if the reason we get sick - especially in the colder months - is actually because of gut health?
If we eat foods and nutrients that support our gut health, would we be less susceptible to illness this winter?
Yes. Absolutely. The notion that gut health is connected to our total health - including immunity - dates back as far as ancient Greece. Hippocrates once said “All disease begins in the gut.” He was a clever man!
In this week’s blog I’m going to explain what leaky gut is and its link to immunity. I will also give you some pointers for improving your gut health in the lead up to winter.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut is when half digested food particles can pass through the intestinal lumen into the bloodstream, resulting in an immune response.
80 percent of the humeral immune system is located in our guts. What this means is the single biggest demand on our immune system isn’t from environmental factors like germs or bugs. It’s actually from our food.
If we are eating a food we are intolerant to - or simply eating certain foods, particularly proteins, too much - our body tags that protein as an invader and alerts our immune system which issues a response.
This immune response in the intestinal system has a lot of collateral damage. The biggest problem is that it loosens the junctures in our gut and the villi in our small intestine. This allows the proteins to get directly into your bloodstream and you get another immune response.
What are some common indicators of leaky gut?
It’s important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to leaky gut. Having one or more of them doesn’t necessarily mean you have leaky gut. It’s always a good idea to discuss your health concerns with a trained practitioner. Nevertheless, these symptoms are common in people with leaky gut.
You have elevated immune issues such as an autoimmune condition, asthma, hayfever or eczema. I have never seen a client with a thyroid disorder at the BePure clinic who hasn’t had an issue with the proteins in gluten.
Gut dysbiosis or irritable bowel symptoms including bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, gas and discomfort.
Food intolerances or sensitivities. This is usually a symptom and a cause of leaky gut. Sometimes we become sensitive to a food if we are eating a lot of it and our systems need a break.
Testing for leaky gut.
Gut health and immunity.
Poor gut health means your immune system is overactive and it becomes weakened. This is problematic in the lead up to winter as there are simply a greater number of colds and flu we are exposed to. We are just much more susceptible to catching these bugs if our gut health is compromised.
What can we do?
Eat a diet rich in probiotic foods including sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and fermented vegetables
Drink bone broth. The gelatine in bone broth helps to line the gut to repair the damage caused by leaky gut. I am posting an extensive look into the benefits of bone broth later this week
Take a probiotic supplement. I recommend the bio-kult range as it is a multistrain probiotic
Eat a nutrient dense diet that is right for your genetics which ensures you feel full for the longest period of time. Eating in a way that promotes blood sugar balance will help relieve some of the stress your body is under, meaning it is better able to fight colds.
Sleep. Adequate rest helps our body restore itself.
Antibiotics and gut health
Antibiotics are undoubtedly necessary in some circumstances. I don’t have an issue with them when used correctly. They do however have huge implications on gut health. Doctor Natasha Campbell-McBride is a gut health specialist and founder/author of the GAPS diet. She says it can take up to four years to restore and rebuild the gut biome following a course of antibiotics.
If you do require antibiotics ensure you drink bone broth to seal your gut lining and consume a diet rich in probiotic foods including kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.
Traditional approaches to gut health in winter.
I’ve spent a long time researching ancestral societies. Interestingly in winter months traditional communities increased their intake of probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut and fermented vegetables significantly. My research shows that traditional communities consumed 12 serves of probiotic foods per day.
The reason for this is a lack of refrigeration and modern agriculture. In winter, less vegetables were available and they couldn’t keep autumn produce in a fridge so they preserved their summer and autumn crops with fermentation methods.
I find this so interesting. Because of following nature’s seasonal patterns, they automatically followed their own need for immunity-building tools to keep them healthy throughout winter.
If you found this information useful and would like to learn more, be sure to join me at my new event - Your Gut, Where Health Starts.
21 July 2016
Terry Wahls, M.D., is a functional medicine doctor, clinical professor, and a survivor of progressive multiple sclerosis who used her own protocol to heal. This week, we're sharing her expertise in a new series on adrenal fatigue and natural techniques to restore energy. To learn more, check out her new mindbodygreen class, How to Heal Adrenal Fatigue: The Food & Habits You Need for Optimal Health & Energy.
You make an appointment with your primary care doctor because you're concerned about your fatigue and wonder if it may be related to your adrenals. There, you receive some basic lab tests to check on your cortisol levels but no clear answer. And you learn little about how your adrenals are connected to your energy levels or how your diet and lifestyle choices affect how the adrenals function.
Unfortunately, this experience is all too common. Most primary care health practitioners receive very little training on the diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors that contribute to the health of our adrenal glands and the balance of our stress hormones.
Here are a few key concepts about the health of your adrenals that your doctor probably hasn't told you:
1. Caffeine slows down the processing of the hormones secreted by our adrenal glands.
If you need caffeine to get through your days, it's an indication that your adrenals are getting less effective at managing your adrenal stress hormones.
2. Chronic stress levels lead to a depletion of magnesium.
Since a majority of Americans eat a diet that does not meet the recommended daily allowance for magnesium, the loss of magnesium due to chronic stress is a big problem. Lower magnesium levels increase the risk of insomnia and poor sleep quality, which in turn raises stress levels. This leads to further loss of magnesium and poorer sleep and higher stress levels.
3. The adrenal hormones are made from cholesterol.
The push to drive cholesterol levels lower and lower can lead to cholesterol levels so low that the adrenal glands can't make sufficient adrenal hormones. Because the adrenal hormones help manage the mineral levels, inadequate adrenal hormones can lead to increased loss of minerals.
4. We need an abundant supply of B vitamins, cholesterol, and minerals to make the adrenal hormones.
Many Americans eat fewer than one and a half servings of vegetables a day, instead they are consuming 4 to 10 servings of sugar- and white-flour-based products. This poor diet increases the strain on the adrenals and makes it difficult to produce all of our hormones, including the adrenal hormones.
5. Lack of sleep increases the production of adrenal stress hormones.
Americans are now sleeping one and a half fewer hours each night than they did 50 years ago. The result is higher levels of stress hormones, which in turn is associated with higher rates of obesity and mental health problems.
6. Diets high in sugar lead to increased production of the adrenal stress hormones.
Eating a diet high in sugar and white flour leads to more insulin, a drop in blood sugar, and a spike in adrenal stress hormones. Keep a stable blood sugar level by avoiding sugar- and flour-based products to reduce the strain on your adrenals.
7. Adding a stress-reducing practice can lessen the strain on your adrenals.
This could be a daily meditative practice, exercise, mindfulness, or some other stress-reduction technique that fits into your life.
This man knows how to breath ... & when not to breath, breaking his own world record today, New Zealander William Trubridge.
Yoga, breath work & meditation are all part of his preparation in pushing all his own boundaries for success. We congratulate you!
His mantra - All is Now
Thanks to Pinterest for the photos
I've always been a night owl and craved the alone time it gave me. All through my 20s, I followed the cycle of begrudgingly waking up early for work on weekdays and then sleeping in until noon on weekends.
But upon discovering Ayurveda, I began tinkering with a lot of its teachings. I was especially intrigued by its concept of Dinacharya, or a suggested routine of morning and nighttime practices, which includes waking up early. Really early.
Last year, I finally mustered the courage to admit to myself that I wanted to do this. It took months and months of trying different things, and my determination to wake up early would often fall by the wayside by the fourth day. But I also began to notice that sleeping in was not doing me any favors; it was the reason I felt sluggish and heavy all day despite sleeping eight hours.
After a lot of trial and error, I finally developed a sweet repertoire of activities that help me wake up at 5:30 a.m. every day. Today is the 60th day of my journey. Here are a few tips that helped me along the way:
1. Wake up before 6 a.m. to feel energised.
Ayurveda is all about timing. It is not about whether you're clocking eight hours of sleep per night—but rather what time you're going to sleep and waking up.
The last phase of our 24-hour body clock is from 2 to 6 a.m. This is the period of Vata, or movement. If you're asleep, it’s during this period that you tend to dream a lot. To stay in sync with nature, Ayurveda recommends that it's best to wake up before sunrise, when there is natural movement in the atmosphere. To give you a surfing analogy, waking up before sunrise is like catching a wave. That wave will ensure that you ride through rest of the day effortlessly.
In comparison, the period between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is Kapha time. Kapha energy is heavy, slow, and steady. By getting up before this Kapha period, you'll avoid that feeling of heaviness you can get even after a good night's sleep.
2. Finish dinner early.
I always thought that by eating at 8 p.m. and sleeping at 11 p.m., I was turning in early, because in the modern context, this is what we have come to define as early right? Turns out, in Ayurveda, early is a lot earlier.
I now have my dinner by 6:30 p.m. or before sunset and am in bed by 9:30 p.m. with the lights out by 10 p.m. To make this happen, I had to move a few things around and resist the temptation of Netflix. However, this has been the single biggest enabler for Project Wake-Up Early.
3. Create a wind-down routine.
Unlike my husband, who can go to sleep immediately, I need at least an hour to myself just to wind down. This really helps me fall asleep once my head hits the pillow.
I'd highly recommend incorporating a few rituals of your own that you find relaxing. A simple one is to massage your feet before sleeping. According to Ayurvedic physician Dr. Vasant Lad, ayurvedic foot massage can be traced back 5,000 years and offers myriad benefits: It nourishes the skin, helps reduce fungal and bacterial infections, and soothes an agitated mind. "The doors to the body's inner pharmacy are under the bottoms of your feet," he says.
You can also try having Golden Milk before you fall asleep. Milk contains the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, and having warm milk at bedtime is a good way to help lull your body into sleeping.
4. Set an intention rather than an alarm.
I hate alarms. And I'm quite sure you do too. No matter how sweet sounding your alarm might be, it's a rude and unnatural way of waking up your body. Our ancestors woke naturally and gently before or with the rising of the sun.
What I do now is I set an intention to wake up early each day and then go to sleep before 10 p.m. When I do this, along with eating and sleeping on time, the natural energy in the universe always wakes me up between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. I kid you not!
5. Wake up the Ayurvedic way.
According to ancient Indian wisdom, before you get up in the morning, you must rub your hands together and place your palms upon your eyes. That's because there's a heavy concentration of nerve endings in your hands. So when you rub your palms together, these nerve endings get activated and the system awakens right away.
Once you get out of bed, immediately make yourself comfortable. If it’s winter, I keep myself as warm as possible with a sweater, socks, and sometimes even a hat so that the bed doesn't look as tempting anymore. In the summer, I take a quick shower to completely jilt any remnants of drowsiness. Splashing your face with water works well too.
6. Find your reason for waking up early.
One frequently mentioned benefit of waking up early is increased productivity. But I could never connect with this reason. Instead, what I love about waking up early are the spiritual and health benefits. Early rising for me is a spiritual journey that also happens to make me more productive—not the other way round.
For instance, one of my long-term personal goals has been to wake up early and carry out my Buddhist practice of mantra chanting to my heart’s content before I begin my day. Waking up early helped me achieve this. I could roll with the punches for the rest of the day knowing that I had done my most important task for the day first thing in the morning. (Note that I say important, not urgent. There is a difference.)
So, find your own reason. Schedule your favorite things for the morning. This could be going for a jog, journaling, practicing yoga, or simply sitting in silence. You will feel like a million bucks.
I know this is easier said than done. But I can confidently say that developing this one keystone habit will lead to many other positive changes in your life. Start by trying this for 21 days—and you'll never want to go back to hurrying your way out the door again.
I knew the practice was healing me from the inside out, and I trusted all the stories of changed lives I’d heard. But even my husband asked a very emotionally volatile me if trying this esoteric practice was a good idea.
Thank goodness I kept it up. A few years later, meditation has become the single most influential spiritual practice in my life. It's helped me heal a lifetime of repressed emotions, tune in to my heart, and finally find peace.
Here's what I wish I'd realized from the beginning, though: You don't need to stop thinking in order to meditate.
The truth is, meditation isn't about stopping your thoughts. It's about becoming aware of your thoughts. Trying to squash your thoughts is resistance, and resistance causes suffering, not healing. Resistance makes you fear yourself and emphasizes that dreadful feeling that you're flawed and doing something wrong.
You're not meditating wrong. You just haven't sat for long enough. It's my mission to help you learn how to accept every part of yourself, even the thoughts you'd rather not think. Here are some lessons I've learned along the way:
Consider this: All day long, you're thinking—but you're not really acknowledging your thoughts. When you sit down to meditate, however, the frenzy of this nonstop chatter finally annoys you.
That's actually progress. Because before, you weren't aware enough of this chatter to feel annoyed by it. This awareness is the thing you're cultivating just by showing up every day to practice.
Technically, meditation is a boundary-less state of being in which your body, mind, and heart merge with the present moment. Everything else—focusing on the breath or chanting mantras, for instance—is a tool to glide you into that state of being. Using the tools is the practice.
Focusing on your breath helps peel your attention away from your thoughts. Your thoughts will continue to attract your attention; that's where you've been focusing your entire life. Your thoughts and attention are stuck together like one of those annoying pieces of protective plastic, but keep showing up and you'll weaken this attachment.
While seated, you will repeatedly notice that your attention has wandered back to your thoughts. Simply return your awareness to your chosen point of focus. Back and forth, back and forth—that's meditation practice.
Not glamorous, and it feels like nothing is happening. Summon a little blind faith and keep showing up. Your whole life will change.
At the beginning of your meditation journey, it's easy to cling to thoughts and feelings. Your attention will focus on one or the other. Focus is constriction, and the idea of meditation is to create expansion.
During practice, experiment with expanding your awareness to include not only your thoughts and feelings but also your breath or heart center. As you expand your awareness to include everything, you'll release your grip on any one thing and begin to relax into the stillness.
As you relax, suddenly, you feel peace.
The body is ripe with bacteria—most of which lives in our gut and has a huge impact on our overall health. Your microbiome regulates inflammation and immunity throughout your entire body.
That's why I think that tending to your gut is the number one thing you can do to boost your overall health and immunity. Here are five simple ways to boost your gut health today:
1. Remove the possible offenders
In order to rebuild a healthy gut, you have to remove what could potentially be causing the damage. This includes refined sugar, gluten, dairy, and most processed foods. Refined sugar is the worst offender because it feeds the negative gut bacteria and depletes the positive bacteria that support a healthy microbiome.
2. Focus on food
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, easy-to-digest grains (gluten-free oats, quinoa, millet and amaranth), and healthy fats like avocado, flax, hemp, pumpkin seeds, almonds, raw coconut and walnuts. These foods reduce inflammation and support gut health. For alternative sources of sweetness, try pure stevia, yacon syrup, coconut nectar or raw honey.
3. Bring back the good bacteria
Bring in good bacteria to combat the bad stuff that's wreaking havoc on your gut. Fermented foods like kefir, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh are all full of good bacteria, as are prebiotics. I especially love raw asparagus, garlic, onion, leek, bananas and dandelion greens.
4. Count your zzz’s
Sleep has a major impact on the digestive system, as deep sleep allows the digestive organs to rest, repair and replenish. During this time, the body detoxifies itself and gets rid of wastes from the day. Each person requires a different amount of sleep, but aim to get 7 to 8 hours a night to ensure a restorative sleep cycle.
5. Practice stress management
The stress of modern life often triggers the sympathetic nervous system, creating a fight-or-flight response in the body. This response may help you become more alert and focused, but it inhibits your digestion in the process.
Digesting food requires a parasympathetic nervous system response. Balancing the parasympathetic system decreases stress levels, so you can rest, repair, and heal your gut. Engaging in calming exercises such as walking, deep breathing, restorative yoga and meditation can help you do it.