The Purposeful Pause Experiment

April 22, 2019 | Yoga

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson What if we looked at yoga not as a way to arrange our bodies into specific shapes, but as an experiment in the sensations we feel and how movement, breath and stillness change our energy? With that shift in perspective, yoga becomes much more accessible. Tight hamstrings and inflexibility are no longer “limitations,” only variables in our experiment. Other variables can be added like a strap, a block, a blanket, or adding purposeful pauses to allow us to experiment again. The Purposeful Pause Experiment In our culture, movement is prized over stillness. We are expected to keep moving: faster, forward, onward, upward. Yet living without pauses does not allow us to fully live in the present moment. Yoga is such an important practice for our mental and physical health because it allows us time to pause. … Continued

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The Warrior Poses | Finding Strength To Battle Anxiety

April 2, 2019 | Yoga

My late 20s have felt like a decade of suffering and depression.  Two (beautiful) babies, one soul-crushing marriage and a two-and-half year long divorce took every bit of strength and courage I had to keep moving forward.  When life is that hard, moving is painful.  Thoughts are jagged and exhausting.  I was so overwhelmed by anxiety and trauma that I was basically handicapped and homebound for about six months.   My mind, emotions, spirit and body were sick.   I started doing yoga in 2017 at Dragonfly 360 Yoga & Wellness.  At 27, my right leg was so weak that I couldn’t lift it to put on my pants.  My yoga teacher, Mike Camp, was able to work with that limitation while increasing my range of motion and strength.  A weekly yoga practice over the next year toned me up, physically and emotionally.  But my divorce was still dragging out.  I felt like … Continued

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When I Say Yoga, I Mean…

March 21, 2019 | Yoga

Yoga is commonly known in the US as a form of exercise that includes some relaxing side effects. There are yoga studios everywhere with different hooks for pulling in students – hot yoga, goat yoga, even rage yoga (yes that’s a thing now). Some yoga classes might be very physical (like ashtanga yoga) or physically form specific (like Iyengar yoga).  Other classes may focus on physical restoration or work with a specific group, like prenatal yoga. While the physical exercises of yoga (or asana) are a part of the yoga tradition, there is much more to the practice. Traditional yoga is based on changing the mind more than the body. In this way, reducing suffering and increasing one’s capacity for joy is the fundamental goal of yoga practice. Traditional Yoga Traditional yoga philosophy from Patajali’s Yoga Sutra describes yoga as the process of eliminating the mind’s habit patterns (samskara) and connecting … Continued

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Yoga for Hip Mobility

October 17, 2018 | Yoga Movement Therapy

Maintaining a balance between strength and flexibility in the hips is essential for general movement throughout the day, decreasing your risk of injury, and/or reducing pain. If you are an athlete, avid runner or naturally tight in this area of the body, practicing hip opening poses on a regular basis can be helpful in maintaining healthy mobility. Check out one of my favorite yoga flows to improve your hip mobility!

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A Meditation Practice for Creating Conscious Habits

January 8, 2018 | Yoga Philosophy

 At the start of each new year, many of us dust off our good intentions – resolutions to eat better, exercise more, or let go of long time bad habits. Unfortunately, these old habits are strong. We’ve all got unconscious habit patterns that guide our actions rather than our conscious intention. This is nothing new. Thousands of years ago Patajali described unconscious habit patterns of the mind in the Yoga Sutras. Patajali identified the subtle impressions of our past actions, or unconscious thought patterns, as samskara. The word samskara translates from Sanskrit sam means joined together and kara means action or cause. One way to understand samskara is as neural pathways that form deep connections in our brains through repetition. The concept that “neurons that fire together wire together” reflects this idea.Some habitual thinking is useful. Often when the thought pattern is first employed, the purpose is to reduce effort or suffering. The problem comes when … Continued

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Detoxing with Yoga

October 24, 2017 | Naturopathic Medicine

I’m addicted to yoga.  As a naturopathic doctor, business owner, wife, mother, and friend, my life can be very full of both happiness and pain.  When life gets hectic, stress can cause anxiety and weaken the immune system, and if we aren’t careful, toxins from the environment, our food and stress can overwhelm our bodies.  Yoga is a great way for me to reconnect to my body and slow down.  If you are interested in regular detoxing, a consistent yoga practice is a great way to keep up.What is a toxin and how do they affect you? A toxin is any substance or thought that has harmful effects on the body.  Toxins can come from the environment, lifestyle choices, or from emotional baggage such as chronic stress and negative thought patterns.  Overtime, build up can result in:Digestive IssuesElevated CholesterolWeight GainAllergiesSkin DisordersFatigueMuscle, Joint PainAnger, DepressionDark CirclesHormonal ImbalancesPoor Immune SystemInsomniaand Chemical SensitivitiesBreathing is an often … Continued

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Intense Relaxing: Level Up Your Relaxation Skills with Yoga

April 17, 2017 | 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 … Continued

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Viniyoga: The Adaptable Yoga

March 6, 2017 | Stress Relief

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 … Continued

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The Layers of Holistic Healing

March 6, 2013 |

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.

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Supporting your brain health

September 13, 2012 |

Hearing the neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, speak last night at the Athenaeum is my inspiration for this blog. I love hearing her talk about the brain. The brain is part of our nervous system which also consists of the spinal column and the peripheral nerves. The nervous system is probably the most nutritionally sensitive system in the body. Therefore, food sensitivities and nutritional deficiencies have a large impact on our nervous system. Long before you feel physical conditions, you’ll notice mental and emotional condition such as fuzzy thinking (brain fog) or nervousness.

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