Intense Relaxing: Level Up Your Relaxation Skills with Yoga

The Yoga Sutras, an ancient text of yoga, say surprisingly little about how we should go about the physical practice of yoga. They say that the poses are steadiness and comfort, which is as specific as they get. 

Anybody who’s been to a yoga class might doubt that characterization. How comfortable are you supposed to be while trying to put your feet behind your head, exactly? But here’s the thing – that level of challenge is exactly the technique yoga uses to help people increase their relaxation skills in the real world.

I often tell my students when we’re hanging out in a particularly stretchy pose (like pigeon) that if they can relax in that pose, the next time they’re stuck in a stressful meeting or a traffic jam, relaxing won’t seem so daunting. 

First you work on relaxing poses that aren’t deep stretches, like standing up straight or even lying on our backs. As you get better at that, you start to add in some challenges, like relaxing while standing on one leg, or relaxing while deeply stretching the muscles, or even relaxing while standing on one leg AND deeply stretching the muscles. And it goes on from there.

Relaxation is a skill like riding a bicycle. The more you practice it, and the more different situations you practice it in, the more natural it’s going to feel. We all face mountains of stress in our daily lives – practicing in new and unique ways helps us to perform more effectively even under those stressful situations. 

Join me for yoga on Tuesdays at 9:30am and 11:00am. 

Full yoga schedule at www.dragonfly360.net/schedule 

Creating a Personalized Supplement Program

Why take vitamins to supplement our diets? Isn’t it enough just to eat properly? We’d like to think so, but the unpleasant truth is that the nutritional value of our food supply has been seriously compromised. Reasons for this include:

  • Use of pesticides, herbicides and GMO’s
  • Inferior diets fed to livestock
  • Food processing
  • Non-sustainable farming practices which over time depletes soil nutrients

Creating a well-rounded supplement program has become imperative to maintaining optimal health.  A high quality, broad spectrum multi-vitamin can go a long way in replacing vital nutrients which likely are not being obtained from your diet.

Due to our current toxic load, it’s also a great idea to take an antioxidant.  Some of these can be obtained in a multi-vitamin such as vitamins C & E but there are many other types. For maximum effect, find a supplement which provides a combination of things. PhytoMulti, contains a broad spectrum of plant based antioxidants such as resveratrol and green tea leaf extract. Antioxidants may increase energy and help prevent aging.

Keep in mind, though, that whatever you take makes little difference if your gut health is compromised. For this reason, a broad spectrum probiotic is a must and possibly digestive enzymes.

Lastly, you should address any other deficiencies which are specific to you and your genetic make-up. A great way to access this is with Spectracell’s Micronutrient testing which tests 34 different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Navigating the huge supplement market can be confusing and high quality products can seem unnecessarily expensive. Before you run out and stock your shelves you should:

1) Read my next blog “Why All Supplements Are Not Created Equal” 
2) Make an appointment with our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Melanie and ask her about getting your Micronutrients tested so you know what to incorporate into your diet and what you really need to be taking for your supplement program.

Contact us today to start your personalized program. Phone 317-818-1800

Viniyoga: The Adaptable Yoga

I often joke that, before I started my study of yoga, I had no body.  Yoga allowed me to develop an awareness of my body and ways I could move or change to make it feel different.  My awareness deepened when I was introduced to the Viniyoga style of yoga.

There are many styles of yoga. Some styles are built on the flow of the practice or the conscious alignment of the body. Viniyoga is a style developed from an adaptable, therapeutic perspective.

Vi can be translated from Sanskrit to mean “separate awareness.” Ni can be translated from Sanskrit to mean “appropriate application.”  The focus is on increasing the practitioner’s awareness of the current experience, then providing techniques to meet a particular intention. Each Viniyoga practice can include a combination of movement, breathing, meditation, sound, or more depending on the class.

Viniyoga invites the student to develop deep personal awareness. The teacher must be alert and responsive to needs of the student, often observing and directing rather than participating. The awareness allows both student and teacher to set a clear intention and choose adaptations to meet the student’s needs.

Group practices include adaptations to meet the needs of all students.  Each individual controls the intensity of the practice allowing a self-awareness and personal yoga practice to develop. Therefore, Viniyoga is ideal for therapeutic purposes and pain therapy.

Kim has been a student of yoga since 1993 and is a 500-hour yoga teacher and 500-hour yoga therapist certified through the American Viniyoga Institute. She aims to create experiences to meet the immediate needs and long-term goals of everyone she teaches. Read Kim’s full bio. Kim teaches Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:00am and Saturdays at 8:30am. See our full Yoga Schedule and sign up for classes.

Stress Relief and Better Sleep – 6 Tips

The American Institute of Stress estimates that 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. Many times this chronic stress leads to insomnia. Here are some tips to help you manage your stress and enjoy a better nights sleep.

1) No TV or other electronics for 1 hour before bed- instead read positive books

2) Make sure bedroom is dark to help your body make melatonin (sleep hormone). Don’t use bright clocks.

3) Lay on your right side- this makes the left nostril more dominant for breathing and supports your calming nervous system. If you are cold first lay on your left side as that supports more right-side nostril breathing and brings heat to the body.

4) Extended exhale breathing-focus on making your exhales longer than your inhales. This supports our parasympathetic nervous system (calming).

5) Body scan-Bring your awareness to your body starting at your feet and work your way up. Imagine your breath is moving in and out of this part sensing any tension and releasing the tension.

6) Lavender essential oil- apply lavender essential oil to the bottom of your feet or spritz on your pillow.

Dragonfly 360 Yoga & Wellness has many offerings to help you manage your stress including yoga, infrared sauna, aromatherapy, massage and meditation. Give us a call to find out more, 317-344-9840.

Treating Allergies May Aid Insomnia

When most people think of allergies they think of itchy eyes or sinus congestion. But did you know that allergies can also cause your brain to be overstimulated leading to insomnia, anxiety or stress

Histamines, which are typically responsible for allergy symptoms, are also stimulatory neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). Our bodies naturally have histamine circulating but when a foreign substance such as a toxin or insect bite is introduced the body may produce large amounts of histamine. Histamine is an important neurotransmitter but when it increases other neurotransmitters may be affected. With an increase of histamine the body produces epinephrine (adrenaline) to help lower histamine. This extra epinephrine may lead to anxiety or insomnia and over time adrenal fatigue.

Classical anti-histamine medicines cause drowsiness as they are blocking the influx of histamines. Long term use of allergy medications also comes with potential side effects such as fatigue. Histamine is not only involved in immune responses, but it also helps control energy levels, motivation, and the sleep-wake cycle.

So what can you do for allergies?
Since an allergy is an inappropriate response by the immune system to a substance that normally would not be harmful, the underlying cause needs to be addressed. Possible causes may be stress (physical, mental, emotional), poor diet, digestive issues, candida, parasites, lack of sleep, imbalance in gut flora, vitamin deficiencies, or toxic exposure. Any of these may put the immune system into overdrive.

From an Oriental Medicine principle an allergy can also be caused by a blockage or imbalance in the energy flow of the body. NAET® (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) is a gentle, non-invasive allergy treatment that uses a combination of Eastern acupressure techniques and has been show to alleviate allergies. A clinical trial using this gentle, acupressure treatment was shown to help insomnia. Read the abstract.

Read more about allergy relief or contact us at (317) 344-9840 to schedule an appointment.

Skin Nutrition: Beauty Inside and Out

The skin is the body’s largest organ. Besides being a protective shell it has many functions such as regulating our body temperature, making and storing Vitamin D, and eliminating toxins. In fact, it is responsible for releasing one third of the body’s toxins. Similar to other organs in our body the skin needs proper nutrition for optimal health.

Here are some skin nutrition and supplement tips.

Water: For most individuals drinking about 1/2 body weight in ounces of water a day is ideal. 

Essential Fatty Acids: Flaxseed oil, cold water fish, nuts, omega 3’s

Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes

MSM-Sulfur: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, eggs, garlic or onions.

Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach

Beta Carotene: Broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, asparagus, peaches, mangoes, cantaloupe

Vitamin B6: Liver, whole grains, egg yolk, walnuts, avocados.

Zinc: Nuts: brazil nuts and pecans highest. Also in pumkin seeds, lentils, garbanzo beans. May help in collagen formation and the oil glands of your skin

Did you know that exercise does more for your skin than any skin care program?

It is second only to diet in maintaining healthy skin. Exercise gives the body a surge of oxygen and increases circulation.

Essentials oils can be used to support skin nutrition. Below are some tips for various oils.

Bay Laurel: all skin types.  Stimulating and cleansing effect
Geranium: all skin types.  Antiseptic and balancing properties
Lavender: all skin types.  May help restore elasticity. 
Lemon: all skin types.  May help with clogged pores.
Rosemary: all skin types. May help skin regenerate.
Thyme: good for balancing oily skin
Tea Tree: good for balancing oily skin. May help clogged pores.

I am happy to help with the nutrition, supplement or essential oils for your skin. I do recommend you work with a health care practitioner before starting a supplement program. Contact me for assistance.

Healthy Digestive System = Healthy Immune System

Digestion is an important process in our overall health due to the absorption of nutrients which our cells, tissues and organs depend on to function fully. And if we do not have proper elimination of waste we could develop toxic build up in our intestines which can stress the immune system and create health problems.  The intestinal tract is the largest organ in the immune system.

The stomach, small intestine and large intestine, liver, pancreas and gallbladder (with other accessory organs) all play a vital role in digestion. These organs function in both chemical and mechanical processes. Enzymes are utilized to break down and assimilate food and the muscles are used to churn food and to move it along our digestive tract. The term probiotic refers to the good bacteria that are similar to those normally found in the colon. 70% of our immune system comes from these beneficial bacteria. Probiotics also help us manufacture vitamins and prevent harmful organisms from making a home in your digestive system.

Typically there are three issues that effect the digestion. Slow transit time, lack of enzymes, or lack of probiotics. Ideally you want to be having a bowel movement after each meal. The lack of enzymes or probiotics may be the cause for slow transit time or it may be dehydration, poor diet (which leads to low fiber), or a need to detoxify.

 

Please work with your health practitioner before adding supplements. If you would like help with improving your digestion please call Dr. Melanie at (317) 344-9840.

Tips for the Upcoming Cold and Flu Season

Here are some easy tips to stay healthy and what to do if you do get sick this cold and flu season. Please work with your health practitioner before starting new vitamin or exercise programs. We are happy to help with this!

Maintain a Healthy Immune System

  • Take a fully buffered Vitamin C (2000-3000mg) daily
  • Vitamin D3 (2000-5000IUs) daily
  • Oil of Oregano or Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Rub on bottom of feet at night
  • Take a probiotic at bedtime
  • NAET treatment for viruses and bacteria including the influenza vial (Call to schedule this gentle acupressure treatment-  (317) 818-1800)
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic when possible) and avoid sugar, alcohol, and overeating
  • Exercise and meditate daily

If You Get Sick

  • ImmuCore – 2 tablets 3 times a day or Viracid 1 capsules every 2 hours while awake until blister pack is gone
  • If taking vitamin D3 increase to 10,000IUs twice a day for 3 days
  • If on probiotic take 1 twice a day for 3 days
  • Drink plenty of pure water to maintain urination every 3-4 hours, eat only when hungry, and get plenty of rest
  • Drink ginger tea made with 4-5 slices of fresh ginger

Paleo Diet: Day 2

What is the Paleo Diet? You can read more about it on Dr. Cordain’s website: www.thepaleodiet.com but the basic premise is grass fed meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and oils such as olive and coconut oil. So no dairy, legumes, or grains and no processed foods.
I decided to do a 30 day Paleo Diet for 3 reasons:
1) I recommend this diet to some patients and see the benefits
2) I have a few minor health issues that will not resolve no matter what I do and wanted to see if the Paleo would help.
3) I am in a rut with cooking the same old recipes and this will force me to try new ones.
Continue reading

The Layers of Holistic Healing

Looking back at my own healing process I am able to understand the koshas or layers of yoga. The koshas of yoga give us a structure to understand ourselves and others, and provide a map to follow deeply and safely into our true nature. The 5 koshas are annamaya (physical), pranamaya (energetic), manomaya (mental), vijnanamaya (intellectual), and anandamaya (bliss). We are multi-layered, multi-dimensional beings encompassing body, mind, thoughts, emotions, wisdom, and bliss.

When patients come to me I see them as multi-layered beings. Continue reading