Kundalini Yoga: the Yoga of Awareness

What is Kundalini Yoga?

When I read “The Eight Human Talents” in 2001 by renowned Kundalini Yoga teacher, Gurmukh, I had to learn more. So on a visit to Los Angeles, I stopped into a class that Gurmukh was teaching.  From that moment on, I knew I had found the yoga for me.

Kundalini yoga is known as the “Yoga of Awareness.” It was introduced to the West by the Indian master Yogi Bhajan when he arrived from India in 1969.  Yogi believes that everyone has the right to be “Healthy, Happy, and Holy.” 

Kundalini’s purpose is to expand your awareness and tap into the vitality that already exists inside you. It does this by awakening the energy that resides at the base of your spine (kundalini) by means of postures, intensive breath practices, chanting, and meditation  The latent energy ascends through the chakras (energy centers along the spine) to the crown, enabling you to connect to the Infinite and realize Samadhi (enlightenment). 

Chakras

How is it different to other forms of yoga?

Like other yogas, it links movement with breath.  The way it differs is its direct focus on moving energy through the chakra system, stimulating the energy in the lower chakras and moving it to the higher chakras. 

The chakras are energy centers, seven in total, located beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head. An eighth chakra exists in Kundalini Yoga, which is the electromagnetic field, sometimes called “aura.” The aura is thought to be strengthened through the practice of Kundalini Yoga.  

As Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa describes in her book, Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power:

“We practice Kundalini Yoga in order to balance and coordinate the functions of the lower chakras and to experience the realms of the higher chakras. After the kundalini energy rises and becomes accustomed to flowing freely through all the chakras, there is a definite change of consciousness, a noticeable transformation in the character of an individual. The person looks at life differently, feels different and therefore acts differently. The real “proof” that someone’s kundalini has risen lies in the upgrading of that person’s attitude toward life, his relationships with other people and with himself.”

New Chakras 

How has the practice of Kundalini Yoga benefited me?

My own practice of Kundalini Yoga has awakened talents and energy that have long been dormant. I have rid myself of habits that were acting as barriers to my fulfillment and to go on to create new habits and choices that are allowing me to experience my own infinite potential.  

For example, I had a habit of napping after work for an hour or even longer because I would be so exhausted at the end of a work day.  The gift of Kundalini Yoga for me has been the gift of sustained energy throughout my day.  It has also improved my spiritual life due to the meditative aspect of the practice. 

I continue to be amazed by the on-going benefits of my practice of Kundalini Yoga. With Kundalini Yoga, you have a method of achieving your goals.     

Karla Becker teaches a community Kundalini class on Wednesdays from 5:30 – 6:45 pm.  
Karla

Naturopathic Medicine Explained

I always strive to help myDr Melanie clients balance mind and body with yoga and Naturopathic services.  But you may be wondering just what Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) do and how they differ from Medical Doctors (MD’s).  

The main difference is that MD’s focus on individual organs or body parts to relieve immediate symptoms.  Naturopaths instead focus on entire systems and the relationships between them in order to correct underlying causes of disease. 

Another major difference is that MD’s rely heavily on pharmaceutical medications, while ND’s prefer natural methods such as dietary changes and herbal supplementation.  Additionally, ND’s take a holistic approach, also addressing emotional well-being, lifestyle, sleep, and stress issues.  Treatments are highly individualized and draw from many medical traditions including Homeopathic, Ayurvedic and Chinese practices.

In the state of Indiana, ND’s are not authorized to write prescriptions but have access to  pharmaceutical grade supplements that cannot be purchased in retail stores. The advantage here is that these products generally are less expensive than prescriptions and come with fewer, less serious side affects.  In this way, Naturopathic methods can actually afford a bigger bang for your medical buck.

Note that Naturopathic Doctors often do not accept insurance and are not recognized by insurance companies. An exception would be that they can order blood work, which may be covered by insurance. Many also accept Health Savings Accounts (HSA).  The upside to this is that Naturopaths are free to spend more time with their patients and are not forced to utilize one-size-fits-all protocols. 

Finally, remember that though it often affords relief where traditional Western medicine has failed,  Naturopathic Medicine is considered complimentary to allopathic methods and is not intended as primary medical care. 

Just For Fun Yoga

When I started yoga classes, I thought a lot about the phrase “just for fun”.   

The yoga-nition of “fun” seemed to be “damn near impossible”, based on what was generally demonstrated when that “f-word” was invoked in class.  I would wonder what that woman (always in mental-italics) does for fun on a Saturday night. This thought was generally accompanied by a fervent wish to never find out.  Ever.  

funny yoga picture

I could almost never do these “fun” poses. Well, not like I thought the teacher wanted me to anyway. I would fall out of the balancing poses and never quite make it into the deep stretchy ones. For a long time, I felt like I was failing to do the poses, and like many adults, I had long ago concluded that failing wasn’t any fun.

For a long time, I felt like I was failing to do the posesand like many adults, I had long ago concluded that failing wasn’t any fun.

But then I noticed something.  These “fun” poses were kind of interesting. 

I started to think that it was fun when something new crossed my path. I didn’t look like the cover of Yoga Journal when I tried them, but challenging myself was its own kind of fun. The kind of fun I remember my grade school self having when I mastered a new physical skill like riding a bike or walking on top of my neighbor’s fence.

…challenging myself was its own kind of fun.

When I first started teaching, I could barely say “just for fun” with a straight face.  Just a few years later, it took an audible groan and dramatic eye-rolling from a regular student before I caught myself saying it.

I hope it has the same effect on my students as it has had on me.  I hope it expands their definition of fun to return to the process of learning new things and mastering new physical skills. After all, that’s a part of being a kid that we can all stand to spend more time mastering. 

Lisa Meece

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

Full yoga schedule at www.dragonfly360.net/schedule 

3 Essential Oils | 12 reasons why you should be using them

essential oil

Just Plain Relief: Veriditas Just Plain Relief is an essential oil wellness blend made from helichrysum and peppermint.  Helichrysum is used to soothe, regenerate and accelerate healing and has one of the highs Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) counts in the plant kingdom.  Peppermint opens up the lungs and veins, and pairs with the Helichrysum to penetrate deep into tissues of the body and enhance superficial circulation.  

Suggested uses:

  1. Roll directly onto affected area.  Allow the oils to penetrate deeply into the skin.  Use as often as every two hours.
  2. For best results, do not dilute with massage oils or lotions.  
  3. Do not apply to broken skin.

Why you should use it:

  1. Icy/hot soothes muscles or acute injuries such as sprains, strains and bruises.*
  2. Promotes a healthy inflammation response for joints and muscles.*
  3. Pocket-sized for you to use anytime, anywhere.  

rose regenerative

 

Rose Regenerative Facial Oil:  I love this product!  It is a blend of lavender angustifolia, rose hip seed oil, helichrysum, carrot seed, Frankincense, lemon, rose absolute, Neroli, petit-grain, cysts, and rose otto.  

Suggested uses:

  1. Cleanse thoroughly with your favorite cleanser.  Prepare the skin by applying a Veriditas Organic Hydrosol to tone and replenish the pH of your skin.  Wait one minute for the Hydrosol to set.
  2. Apply 2-6 drops of Rose Regenerative Facial Oil to face, neck, and chest.
  3. Wait 2 minutes for the oil to penetrate and absorb into the skin.
  4. Follow with your favorite moisturizer, as needed.

Why you should use it:

  1. Nourishes mature skin
  2. Softens the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.
  3. Tightens and tones pore.
  4. Stimulates collagen production and cellular renewal.
  5. Improves circulation.
  6. Tones and firms skin.
  7. Use daily for a rosy glow!

stress recovery

 

Stress Recovery:  Support the body’s resistance to stress and fatigue.  Veriditas Stress Recovery is an organic blend of sweet marjoram, clary sage, sose geranium, bergamot, and lavender.

Suggested uses:

  1. Use as an inhalation to help calm the nervous system.  Rub 1-2 drops in palms of hands & rub together, cup hands near nose and slowly inhale 5 deep  long breaths.
  2. Rub excess oil on mid-back (adrenal gland area) to support the body’s resistance to stress and fatigue.
  3. Sweep over clothes and hair.
  4. Safe and soothing stress support when used in an air diffuser.  

Why you should use it:

  1. Relieves stress and mental fatigue.
  2. Great for easing symptoms associated with withdrawal/addiction. 

 

Purchase your Essential Oils at your next appointment, after a yoga class, or just stop by!

Fields of Flowers – a natural remedy for depression, anxiety, and stress relief

Bethleham FlowerStar of Bethlehem

Fields of Flowers is a homeopathic remedy made from 38 different kinds of flowers, including Star of Bethlehem (above), honeysuckle, white chestnut and willow and is used to treat stress, depression, anxiety, and a host of other negative emotions.   Homeopathic philosophy is based upon “like cures like.”  If the energy or essence matches the essence of an herb or flower, then they are able to work together to create harmony in mind, body, and spirit. 

With this in mind, Fields of Flowers was developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930s.  It is believed that Dr. Bach suffered from anxiety and Asperger’s and had become discontented with mainstream medical practices.  As someone who understood these emotional suffering, he was able to address it in a different and unique way than other doctors.

After observing similarities between people and flowers, which led him to believe that he could treat emotional pain with a similar flower. 

Impatiens

For example, he compared impatiens (above) to anger.  For him, impatiens seemed to be a very calm, quiet plant until the seedpod suddenly bursts out and spews seeds up to 20 feet away.  Human beings are the same.  If you bottle up your emotions, and keep stuffing them down, eventually anger will explode.  Thus, impatiens are used in Fields of Flowers to treat anger issues.

How it’s made

Dr. Bach’s method for making Fields of Flowers is similar to the traditional method for creating essential oils.  In this method, the plant is put into water and succussed (shaked).  One drop of that water is taken and succussed into clean water.  This process is repeated over and over. The more the plant is succussed, the more potent it becomes.  For flowers, a partially bloomed bud is put into a glass bowl filed with water and left until the flower wilts.  

Uses

Fields of Flowers is used for a host of negative symptoms such as fear, despair, anxiety, depression, compulsiveness, worry, despondency, intolerance, withdrawal, irritability, aggressiveness, impatience, obsessiveness, and apathy.  Each flower is used to treat a different emotional pain. For example, Gentian (below) is used to treat depression and discouragement; 

“Those who are easily discouraged.  They may be progressing well in illness or in the affairs of their daily life, but any small delay or hindrance to progress causes doubt and soon disheartens them.” 

– Dr. Edward Bach

Gentian Medical

Dr. Scott Graves ND MA, a Naturopath and Intuitive, used Fields of Flowers to treat a woman who was “hysterical, crying and almost hyperventilating.”  He gave her 10 drops and within seconds she had calmed and in minutes couldn’t remember why she had been hysterical.  He now recommends it to all his patients and uses it every day.  

Since there are no side effects, Fields of Flowers can be used as much as desired by everyone, even children, pregnant women, the elderly, and even pets and plants.

 

If you suffer from emotional turmoil, give us a call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Melanie.  We’d love to work with you to achieve mind, body, and spiritual harmony.  

For more information regarding the flowers used in Fields of Flowers:

http://www.bachflower.com/original-bach-flower-remedies/

More great articles about Fields of Flowers:

Dr. Scott Graves, “Bach Flowers And Their Powerful Effects On Our Emotions”: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2013/05/bach-flowers-and-their-powerful-effects.html

Dr. Patti Bartsch, Ph.D, “A Basic Introduction to Flower Essences”:

http://naturallyunbridled.com/blog/a-basic-introduction-to-flower-essences/

All Supplements Are NOT Created Equal

Recently, I wrote an blog about creating an effective supplements regimen. In light of that information, decisions must still be made such as how much to take, which brands to trust, and where to buy them. Store shelves contain hundreds of products, all containing different ingredients and dosages. Prices can vary widely, and all this information can be confusing. Additionally, the Supplements Industry is largely unregulated, so it can be nearly impossible to determine which are of the highest quality.

Here are a few facts you should know. NEARLY ALL retail supplements are made with inferior ingredients to increase profits. Often, they contain lower doses than what is stated on the label. To make matters worse, they contain agents that are difficult to digest, reducing what is absorbed by the body. This means most of its nutritional value is literally ending up in the toilet leaving you with little or no real benefit.

This is not to say there are absolutely no high quality retail supplements to be found. But, unless you are willing to do the research and navigate the marketing trickery which makes every product appear outstanding, it is very difficult to know which ones they are. The safest thing is buy pharmaceutical grade supplements from a reliable source. Because these items can only be purchased through qualified practitioners, this means finding a Naturopath, Functional Doctor, or Chiropractor near you who carries them. This may seem inconvenient, but think of it as an opportunity to get professional guidance regarding which forms of a supplement may be best for you as well as the dosage.

And be prepared for the fact that these products often are comparatively pricy…on the surface, that is. What you must consider, however, is that pharmaceutical grade supplements are so much more easily absorbed and utilized that it can sometimes take over 100 times the amount of a store bought brand to achieve the same affect. So, ounce for ounce, ingredient for ingredient, pharmaceutical brands can actually be the less expensive option.  Choose wisely, and your body will thank you.

Call us to schedule a consultation for guidance at 317-344-9840 or visit our online store.

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.