|Have you ever met someone who seems perfect – polished, attractive, kind, generous, maybe even successful – yet the more you get to know them, the more you realize that they’re actually self-centered, manipulative and deceitful? Their perfection is simply a façade put on so the world holds them in high esteem.
If you or someone you know is an empath or highly sensitive person, you may easily be pulled in by people like this. I call them energy vampires. They appeal to your generosity, your compassion and your innate problem-solving nature. But, as psychologist Sandra L. Brown, M.A. says, these are “relationships of inevitable harm.”
In my second free video, I delve deeply into the mechanics of energy vampires – how they can zero in on you in a crowd based on your empathic traits and get their hooks in you if you aren’t careful. I will also give you some pointers on how you can protect yourself, and skillfully tiptoe out of their clutches before you fall prey.
|Watch Wellness Video 2:
Protect Yourself from Energy Predators with These Techniques
|After you watch my video, I am confident you will have a clearer idea of who and what an energy vampire is, as well as what you can do to avoid them for good. If you missed my first video, which will help you know if you’re an empath, you can still catch it here for a little while longer:|
|Watch Wellness Video 1:
How Empathy Can Protect You
|Once you watch these videos, head to the comment section and share your thoughts about these first two lessons so far on this journey. I’d love to hear about your experiences with energy vampires and as an empath.
I have two more free videos coming your way over the next few days. In the next one, I will show you exactly how you can begin to protect yourself and recover your life force after interacting with an energy vampire.
And, if you know an empath who may be vulnerable to the energy vampires in their midst, make sure to share this video with them so that they, too, can get some benefit from this invaluable series.
Christiane Northrup, M.D.
|If you’ve ever been told you’re “too sensitive” it’s likely you are part of a group of highly sensitive people called empaths.
Empaths interact with the world differently than even an extremely compassionate person. We can sense the true energy of a person, seeing their deep, frequently unseen pain often before they do. We sense it because it shifts our own energy, affecting us on multiple levels.
There’s also another group of people that I call energy vampires. Energy vampires can be exquisitely appealing to everyone. They’re charming, fun, successful, and yet their impact is insidious for those who get caught in their grip. More often than not, those getting caught are empaths who are not in touch with their own light and intuition.
If you are an empath in a relationship with an energy vampire, you may not feel it now, but eventually you will be worn down—both physically and emotionally. As someone who’s been on the frontlines of women’s healthcare for decades, I believe this is actually one of the most under-identified causes of ill health. And that’s why I’ve put together this free wellness workshop.
By signing up to receive my four free videos, you’ll learn simple ways to identify, cast out, and heal from energy vampires. In my first video, I share personal stories and stories of others to help explain what it’s like to be an empath—and then help you understand what an energy vampire is and what happens when you get entangled with them.
|Watch Wellness Video 1:
How Empathy Can Protect You
|If you don’t know you’re an empath and you don’t know how energy vampires work, you are apt to be preyed upon.
Please be sure to leave me a comment on the video page to share your own experience as an empath or with energy vampires. Also, if you think anyone else would benefit from this video, please share it with them. And stay tuned for my next three videos in this wellness workshop.
Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Would you take a daily pill if it was scientifically proven to benefit your brain by increasing focus; reducing stress, anxiety, and depression; and improving memory, emotional awareness, and overall happiness? What if it wasn’t through taking a pill, but simply the act of sitting still, for even just one minute a day?
This week’s guest on The Doctor’s Farmacy is here to share that it is, in fact, possible to reap huge benefits in a short amount of time. Journalist and ABC news anchor Dan Harris turned his life around using the power of mindfulness and meditation; he was able to stop self-medicating with drugs, end his struggle with panic attacks, and focus on building a successful, balanced life instead.
Initially, Dan was a skeptic of the power of meditation. He didn't think science could back up the benefits… until he saw the research for himself.
Studies show that meditation works, in part due to its role in growing the beneficial grey matter in the brain, and Dan witnessed the effects himself once he gave it an honest try. His experience led him to write two New York Times best-selling books on the topic in an effort to help other fidgety skeptics embrace the medicinal properties of meditation.
Throughout our talk, Dan explains the proven impacts of meditation with a down-to-earth perspective and provides realistic steps for how to incorporate it into your own life, one minute at a time.
Dan shares his personal journey, from experiencing a panic attack on-air in front of millions to becoming a calmer, more mindful person, on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’ve ever wondered if meditation really works and just what the science says, this episode is for you.
I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
In Part 1, we looked at how a consistent sleep routine enhances the quality of rest and rejuvenation. In Part 2, we focused on synchronising our sleep routine with nature’s doshic rhythm and in Part 3, we looked at practices that help you relax in the evening. Now we look at some more evening routines for better sleep.
Avoid backlit screens
Turn of all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. Backlit screens interfere with your biological clock and fool your body into thinking its daytime, straining your eyes and stimulating your mind. Spend this time with yourself. Indulge in soothing meditation or self-reflection, listen to relaxing music, or read an uplifting book (although not in bed!).
Avoid reading in bed
Reading in the bed can confuse the body by signalling for sleep and alertness at the same time. Designate a place to sit down and read. Avoid reading excessively emotional or distressing content. If you struggle with sleeping, try giving up bedtime reading.
Keep a journal
Spend a few minutes writing about your day to clear your mind and remove any residual emotions associated with the day’s events.
A soothing glass of milk
If your system allows it, drink a glass of warm milk, with a pinch of cardamom and honey, to promote deep sleep.
Relax your body
Once in bed, consciously relax your entire body. Bring your awareness to each part of the body and will it to relax itself. Then focus on your breathing and gently drift into sleep.
Sleep according to your dosha
Vata types may suffer from irregular sleep routines and have to take extra effort to establish a daily sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every day, even if you don’t feel sleepy. Sleep on your left side to encourage breathing through your right nostril, to promote heat.
Pitta types tend to easily get disturbed from their sleep. Keep your bedroom quiet and fragrant. Sleep on your right side to encourage breathing through your left nostril, for cooling.
Kapha types have a tendency to oversleep and this causes imbalance. Ensure you wake up before 6 am. Sleep on your left side to promote heating.
Incorporating all these practices into your daily life may sound daunting. Choose a few of these that appeal to you most and commit to doing them every day. As you become comfortable, you can gradually add more practices into your routine. Observe how your body feels and celebrate the small improvements—these are your body’s way of thanking you.
EVENING DINACHARYA, PART 3: RELAXING ROUTINES
By Shyam Kumar for Yogibeings
In Part 1, we looked at how Ayurveda considers sleep to be essential for good health and how establishing a consistent sleep routine goes a long way in enhancing the quality of rest and rejuvenation. Part 2 explained how the night is governed by different doshas at different times and how to synchronise your sleep routine with nature’s rhythm. Now, let’s look at establishing a soothing evening routine to help you wind down and prepare for a night of restful sleep.
Following a regular routine reassures your body that everything is well, providing a tremendous sense of comfort. Establishing a daily evening routine ensures that, with time, the body learns that these are signals that the day is ending and to prepare for a good night’s rest. It’s important to be consistent with the routine. Here are some things that you can incorporate into your evening routine:
Avoid that evening cup of coffee
Drinking coffee or any other stimulant prevents your brain from responding to fatigue, instead making you feel fresh and energetic. This causes problems in trying to sleep early. If you are suffering from sleep-related problems, cutting down on caffeine may go a long way in helping you sleep better.
Turn down the lights
Our biological clocks are highly sensitive to light. For most living beings, sunset is a signal that the day is winding down and it’s time to rest. In today’s modern life, there is so much artificial lighting that it severely interferes with the natural biological response to sleep. One of the best things you can do is to dim the lights at home as the sun goes down. This sends the signal to your body that the day is ending.
It’s best to reduce strenuous physical and mental activity at least two hours before bedtime.
Have an early dinner
Have an early dinner to ensure that the food is completely digested before you sleep. This prevents the accumulation of toxic waste (ama) in your body, which could make you feel dull and lethargic. It’s ideal to leave a gap of three hours between dinner and sleep time. To get used to eating early, you can begin by eating a lighter dinner than usual.
Wash your face
Wash your face with lukewarm water, preferably using an Ayurvedic cleanser. This cleanses the dirt accumulated through the day, removes oil from the pores and helps your skin breathe at night.
Massage your feet and scalp
Take a few drops of oil and do a slow, relaxing massage of your scalp. Wash and dry your feet and apply a few drops of oil slowly from heel to toe in slow, circular movements of your palm. This removes excess heat and relaxes the entire body.
In Part 4, we shall look at a few more things you can do before bedtime and how to incorporate these into our daily lives.
In Part 1, we looked the vital role of sleep in maintaining overall health, improving immunity and enhancing cognitive function. Establishing a consistent sleep and wake time goes a long way in enhancing the quality of rest and rejuvenation. Now, let’s see how different parts of the night are governed by different doshas, and how to synchronise our sleep routine with nature’s rhythm.
Ayurveda divides each day into two cycles:
1) The solar cycle which begins at 6 am and ends at 6 pm.
2) The lunar cycle which begins at 6 pm and ends at 6 am.
The lunar cycle plays an important role in establishing sleep rhythm. This twelve-hour period is divided into three intervals of four hours each. The first interval from 6 pm to 10 pm is dominated by Kapha, the second interval from 10 pm to 2 am is dominated by Pitta, and the third interval from 2 am to 6 am is dominated by Vata. This fundamental understanding, along with knowledge of the current season and your doshic constitution helps establish a proper evening routine that is in harmony with the doshic influences.
Ayurveda recommends going to sleep before 10 pm. During this time our bodies are dominated by Kapha’s earthy, stable and grounding properties—ideal for a deep, soothing sleep. The period from 10 pm to 2 am is dominated by Pitta, whose qualities are intense, hot, sharp and acidic. This might make you feel energetic, impatient to be active, and prevent you from falling asleep. Staying awake at this time causes a phenomenon called second wind, where you stop feeling drowsy even when you are exhausted. Moreover, Pitta increases the digestive fire and leaves you craving that midnight snack!
The time dominated by Pitta is used by the body to repair its tissues, clean out toxins, enhance your immune system and perform daily maintenance tasks. This is also when the mind processes the undigested thoughts and emotions caused during the day and comes to terms with them.
Pitta gives way to Vata dominance at around 2 am and the atmosphere is dominated by qualities of lightness, mobility and coolness. The body begins the process of waking up around this time. Ayurveda advises getting up an hour and a half before sunrise when Vata dominates, so you can begin the day feeling light and refreshed.
Sleeping fewer hours in harmony with these cycles can leave you feeling more relaxed and energetic than sleeping longer hours going to bed late. However, falling asleep early is not easy for many of us. In Part 3, we look at establishing a simple evening routine that helps us to wind down and get ready for a night of soothing sleep.
Do you wake up in the middle of the night, fully awake and unable to go back to sleep? Do you start your mornings in a state of exhaustion? Do you find yourself unable to fall asleep at night even though you are tired? Most of these stem from our irregular work schedules which have made food and sleep patterns and our lifestyle in general increasingly erratic. These irregularities affect our metabolic rhythm and lead to tiredness, heartburn, loss of appetite and other health complications.
Ayurveda highly recommends establishing a daily rhythm, “Dinacharya", taking into account your constitution and the cycles of nature. Adhering to Dinacharya ensures tri-doshic balance and provides a deep sense of relaxation, enhancing overall wellness. In this series, we will be looking at establishing a daily evening rhythm that leads to restful sleep.
Sleep is of fundamental importance in Ayurveda. It allows the body and mind to relax deeply, detoxify and rejuvenate. This is the time the body needs for tissue repair, muscle growth, removal of metabolic wastes, and enhancing immune function. Quality of sleep has a direct impact on our cognitive functions including level of attention and our ability to learn. Therefore it’s vital to get a good night of sleep.
Ayurveda gives no universal recommendation for the ideal duration of sleep. Based on your constitution, this may vary between 6-8 hours. Kapha predominant body types need little sleep and Vata types need the most. Too much sleep can imbalance doshas and causes dullness and lethargy. More than eight hours of sleep are recommended only for pregnant women, the aged and the sick.
Merely sleeping the right number of hours isn’t enough to ensure good sleep quality. It’s important to establish a consistent sleep routine with predictable sleep and wake times. This helps the body settle into a daily rhythm. Once you have understood the duration of sleep required for you, fix a wake up time, preferably early in the morning. Then work backwards to decide on your sleep time. Regularly adhering to these times creates a deep rhythm in the body and leads to a night of relaxing and refreshing sleep.
In Part 2, we shall explore the doshic nature of each part of the night and how it affects our sleep rhythm. Adjusting our sleep routine according to these greatly enhances the quality of rest.
Clemens Arvay, MSc
19 February 2018
New research, like the Journal of Adolescent Health study that found that teens who have more access to green space tend to be happier, continues to reinforce the idea that humans are intricately connected to the natural environment. Our entire body is constantly communicating and acting in tandem with our surroundings. But how can something as simple as spending time outside possibly make us healthier? Let's dive into the science.
The real reason being outside is so healing.
The Japanese tradition of Shinrin-yoku, "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing," is proof of concept. In this case, the term "bathing" does not mean swimming in some sort of wooded lake. Instead, it's about diving into a forest with all of our senses. In 1982, the National Forest Authorities of Japan suggested advertising Shinrin-yoku to the public and promoting its immune-boosting powers. And today, taking in the forest atmosphere is officially a recognized method of preventing disease and supplementing treatment in the country. The National Institute of Public Health of Japan promotes Shinrin-yoku, universities study it, and hospitals use it as an Rx.
When you breathe in the woods, you are inhaling a cocktail of bioactive substances released by plants. One of these groups of substances is called terpenes. They're usually emitted from leaves, pine needles, tree trunks, and the thick bark of some trees. We absorb these gaseous terpenes partially through our skin, but especially through the lungs. Terpenes also flow out of bushes, herbs, and shrubs among the understory, along with mushrooms, mosses, and ferns, too. Even thin layers of foliage on the forest floor emit them. So, safe to say, if you're outside and can see any sort of tree material, you're getting a dose of terpenes.
While forest medicine is under no circumstances a replacement for conventional medical check-ups, scientific studies have discovered the forest air is like an old friend to our bodies. Some of these terpenes have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, and neuroprotective activities, making forest air like a healing elixir we inhale. Even though terpenes come from trees, mushrooms, and herbs that are communicating with one another, our immune system can also decode them. Like other plants, we respond to terpenes by strengthening our body's defenses. Doctors of forest medicine know that anti-cancer terpenes have a direct impact on the immune system as well as an indirect impact on the endocrine system. For example, they help us deal with stress by lowering our cortisol levels.
Forest bathing has also been found to enhance something called natural killer cells, another defense against diseases like cancer. Those who spend merely one day in the forest will have more natural killer cells in their blood for seven days thereafter. Those who are in the woods for two or three days have elevated levels for another 30 days. It's incredible to think that we get these long-lasting health benefits simply by existing in the woods. We don't have to go on a trail run or rigorous hike (though those things are great too); just breathing and being in communion with trees is enough.
This knowledge totally changed the way I look at nature. Now, when I walk through the woods, I feel like I’m diving into an enormous living organism. I'm becoming a part of it, and we're breathing and communicating together.
Practical ways to make your next trip into the forest even more fulfilling:
1. The content of the anti-cancer terpenes in the forest air changes over the seasons. The highest concentration is in summer, and the lowest is in winter. They increase rapidly in April and May and reach their peak in June and August. Try to go out during these months if you can!
2. You can find the highest concentration of terpenes in the middle of the forest since tree population is the densest there. This dense canopy prevents gaseous terpenes from escaping too. Try to go farther into the woods instead of lingering on the edges when you can.
3. When the air is moist—after rain or during fog, for example—a particularly large amount of healthy terpenes will be swirling around the atmosphere. So if you've ever felt especially great during a walk in the woods after a rain shower, you're not alone!
Breathing is an extraordinary event. Not only does it bring oxygen to your cells, but also gives your organs, endocrine system & inner connective tissue a massage from the inside out with every breath.
YogaAlign's breathing exercises are designed to help you fully awaken, supercharge & recode your breath & posture at the nervous system level.
When you breathe in, try moving the ribs out in all directions as though you are inflating a balloon. As you inhale your outer rib muscles pull the ribs apart as your diaphragm contracts downwards, creating more space in the chest area & allowing the lungs to expand & fill with air.
As you exhale, notice the internal intercostal muscles pulling the ribs back together, while the outer muscles of the abdomen & waist area contract & press the air out.
Take a few moments each day to ground yourself with a few deep breaths, toning, lengthening & strengthening.
"The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow & gain wisdom, first you must have the mud - the obstacles of life & its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying & death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness & more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus & open each petal one by one."
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.