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Rosemary

Rosemary has historically been used to alleviate  ailments ranging from indigestion to poor memory. The University of Maryland  Medical Center reports that at least one study proved rosemary beneficial for  relieving anxiety; However, another study found rosemary can actually increase  anxiety. If you find rosemary to be relaxing, you can take the dried herb as a  tea preparation, or added to bath water. Rosemary essential oil is used in  aromatherapy, but can have a convulsant effect on those susceptible to epileptic  seizures.

 
 

Chamomile

The variety of chamomile most popular in the United  States is German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita. Chamamelum nobile, also  known as Roman or English chamomile, is also available as a herbal supplement.   Both kinds of chamomile are used to reduce stress, anxiety and nervousness.  Chamomile is also believed helpful for relieving muscle spasms and skin  conditions.  There are few human studies regarding the calming effect of  chamomile, but research on animals show that a low dose of chamomile reduces  anxiety and promotes restful sleep.

Oatstraw

Avena sativa, or oatstraw, is the stalk part of the oat  plant which is used in cereals and other foods. As well as being part of a  staple food crop for people in many countries, oatstraw has traditional herbal  uses as a stress reliever. Oatstraw can be taken as a supplement or in a tea  infusion, and is believed effective in combating exhaustion associated with  neurological pain.  Additionally, oatstraw is commonly used as a remedy for  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and for more general  anxiety.

 

References

Herbal Stress Remedies

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7 Steps to Complete Inner Peace

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    7 Steps to Complete Inner Peace

  

     Inner peace is one of the most valuable assets that we can cultivate.  Nobody can give us inner peace, but our own thoughts can rob us of our inner peace.   We can experience inner peace right now, exactly where we are.   One does not need to travel to a sacred temple to find it.  The most important criteria is to value the importance of inner peace.   If we truly want inner peace, we will strive to make it a reality.

 These are some suggestions for bringing more peace into your mind.

  1. Limit your time reading negative material and watching the news.

     It is true, that we can try to detach from this negativity.  But, in practise, we will make our progress easier if we don’t spend several hours ruminating over the problems of the world.  Once I limited, if not completely removed myself from watching the news and reading the newspapers I found my energy levels and outlook on life became more positive.

    It has become too easy to automatically switch on the TV or surf the internet when we have a few free minutes.   Take the opportunity to be still and enjoy a relaxed state of mind free of conflict and responsibilities.  As a writer I find when I turn off the television and the internet my mind tends to become more aware and more creative.

 

 2. Control of Negative Thought Processes:

    It is our thoughts that determine our state of mind and body.   If we constantly cling to negative and destructive thoughts, inner peace will always remain at a distance.   Begin by turning these thoughts around.  If you feel you failed at something look at what you learned in that situation.  Train yourself to think,  “I did the best I could” and forgive yourself as well.  This requires practise. – We cannot attain mastery of our thoughts overnight. But, at the same time we always have to remember that we are able to decide which thoughts to follow and which to reject.  You are NOT a helpless victim to your thoughts.

 Somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”

 ―    Elizabeth Gilbert,    Eat, Pray, Love

 

3. Simplify Your Life & Home:

 

    Learn to say “No”.   We can feel that we never have enough time to fulfill all our tasks. Take time to simplify your life; there are many things that we can do without, quite often we add unnecessary responsibilities to our schedule.  Do the most significant tasks, one at a time, and enjoy doing them. To experience inner peace, it is essential to avoid cluttering our life with unnecessary activities and worries.  Organize our activities and appointments in daytimers, use a filing system to find important documents.  We also may want to purge ourselves of things, perhaps clothing and items that we no longer use.

     I have learned many ways to maximize my time, such as running a few errands together.  I balance household responsibilities and time I need to ensure I stay healthy – going for walks with the dog to prevent back pain and keep chronic pain at bay with my free-lance writing and my coursework as a student.  Yet, I am still able to spend time with loved ones and friends.

   The things I do not desire to do I do less of.  It all comes down to priorities and what really matters now.  Will it matter if the laundry gets done tonight or another day?  So what if the sink is full of dishes that will wait until tomorrow.

 

4. Spend time to cultivate inner peace.

   Most weekdays we spend 8 hours a day at a job, surely we can find time to spend 15 minutes to cultivate inner peace?  No matter how much money we have, it will never  bring us inner peace.  I am able to sneak in at least an hour a day to do things alone that allow me to maintain a state of peace in my busy life.  I enter my office ( sanctuary) and listen to music, burn incense and listen to my waterfall and the world falls away.

    One can get creative with this one, so maybe you can’t find ten minutes a day for inner peace at home.  Maybe our lunch break at work might be a place we can slip away for ten minutes to meditate.  Some friends I know take a little drive after work and sit at the park for 15 minutes to unwind and meditate while others demand 30 minutes when they get home from work to be left alone.

 If all else fails listen to some  relaxing music in your car on your way to and from work.  This can be a great stress reliever as well..

 

5. Avoid Criticizing People:

    If we want inner peace, we need to be more accepting of others.  If we are indifferent to the feelings of others, then it is impossible to have inner peace for ourselves.  What we give out comes back.  If you offer a peaceful attitude to others you will find that this will be returned
tenfold.  Not everyone will return a peaceful attitude and those people that prefer not to, let them worry about it, that is their stuff.

 

6.  Let Go of Perfectionism:

 

We are not perfect nor is the world or anyone else.  Stop being so hard on yourself.  Nobody ever died from a messy living room.  It can be quite freeing to let go of having to do everything perfectly.  When we do this we also allow others to help us if we ask.

 

7.  One final point, stop worrying.  This serves no purpose; things are going to happen as they do.  We can convince ourselves we have all this control but we often don’t.

 

Peace

 

Namaste

 

 

 

 

REPOSTED FROM 2012.

Singing Your Way to A Longer & Healthier Life

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44This past weekend my sister and I were at a local bar for their Saturday night karaoke get together.  Later that morning, when we arrived home I began researching the effects of singing and it’s relation to wellness.

This past week was Sing For Your Heart from December 8 th to the 15th in the UK.  Singing does not merely benefit our hearts but so much more as you will see in this piece.

While researching this topic I was able to locate some research studies that confirmed a few of my ideas on singing and improved health.  As a singer, I have noticed a sense of well being while I am singing and certainly stronger abdominal and back muscles but what I found out was even greater than I imagined.  I have used music to assist me in studying for exams on numerous occasions by creating lyrics with my course materials.  There is something to be said for using the part of the brain that remembers twenty year- old song lyrics.

You don’t have to be a great singer or even a rockstar to achieve the results that are contained in this blog.  What makes singing so appealing is that we can all do it and we can all benefit from doing so.

Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society and Professor of Age Related Diseases at King’s College, London,  said singing as an activity did seem to help people with dementia.

“People seem to enjoy doing something jointly with other people and there is a lot of evidence that being socially engaged is good for people with dementia.”

He said the part of the brain that worked with speech was different to the part that processed music, allowing those who had lost their speech to still enjoy their music. 

 

  

Sound therapist Jovita Wallace says “Sound vibrations massage your aura, going straight to what’s out of balance and fixing it.”
Singing the short-a sound, as in ahh, for 2-3 minutes will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in emit. It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body’s biological clock.
Singing the short-e sound, as in echo stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed which digestion and other bodily processes occur.
Making the long-o sound as in ocean stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in tool. This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells. (1)

Scientists say singing boosts immune system.
– Singing strengthens the immune system, according to research by scientists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, published in the latest edition of the US Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The scientists tested the blood of people who sang in a professional choir in the city, before and after a 60 minute rehearsal of Mozart’s Requiem.They found that concentrations of immunoglobin A – proteins in the immune system which function as antibodies – and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, increased significantly during the rehearsal. A week later, when they asked members of the choir to listen to a recording of the Requiem without singing, they found the composition of their blood did not change significantly. The researchers, who included Hans Guenther Bastian from the Institute of Musical Education at Frankfurt University, concluded singing not only strengthened the immune system but also notably improved the performer’s mood. (1)

  • Singing releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel energized and uplifted. People who sing are healthier than people who don’t.
  • Singing gives the lungs a workout,
  • Singing tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and stimulates circulation.
  • Singing makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well.” — Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, Roehampton, UK

 

5 Reasons Singing Is Good for Your Health

April 17, 2011 12:00 AM  by Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD

The YOU Docs love good music (one of us, Mehmet, cranks up Springsteen in the operating room; the other, Mike, is a huge fan of both classical piano and Frankie Valli). But when it comes to singing, we don’t care whether you’re first soprano in the church choir or you just belt out off-key oldies in the shower with the door locked. Bursting into song lifts your health in ways that surprise even us (and might make the cast of Glee America’s healthiest people). The benefits should get you singing out even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

1. Lowers your blood pressure. You may have heard the heartwarming news story about a woman in Boston whose blood pressure shot up just before knee-replacement surgery. When drugs alone weren’t enough, she began singing her favorite hymns, softly at first, then with more passion. Her blood pressure dropped enough for the procedure, which went off without a hitch. Now, we’re not suggesting you trade blood pressure treatments for a few verses of “Amazing Grace.” But try adding singing to your routine. It releases pent-up emotions, boosts relaxation, and reminds you of happy times, all of which help when stress and blood pressure spike.

2. Boosts your “cuddle” hormone. Yep, oxytocin, the same hormone that bonds moms and new babies and that makes you and your partner feel extra close after a romp in the hay, also surges after you croon a tune with your peeps

3. Allows you to breathe easier. If you or someone you know is coping with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), singing just twice a week could make breathing feel easier and life feel better. In fact, in England there are “singing for breathing” workshops. The benefits, said one person with the lung disease, “It makes me feel on top of the world . . . and it makes COPD a lot easier to live with.” Why wait for a workshop? Try crooning a tune or two on your own.

4. Helps you find serenity after cancer. Surviving cancer is a major milestone, but afterward, you still have to cope with the memories (tests, diagnosis, treatments) and quiet will-it-come-back worries. Vocalizing can help you blow off steam and stress. Turns out that singing actually calms the sympathetic nervous system (which tenses up when you do) and boosts activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (which makes you relax).

5. Rewires the brain after a stroke. Plenty of people who’ve survived a stroke but lost the ability to speak learn to communicate again by singing their thoughts. Singing activates areas on the right side of the brain, helping stroke survivors  to take over the job of speaking when areas on the left side no longer function. Called melodic intonation therapy (MIT), it’s used in some stroke rehab programs, and insurance may cover it. Ask about it if someone you love has speech difficulties from a stroke.

That’s not all singing can do. It also helps everyday health, increasing immunity, reducing stress for new moms, quieting snoring, easing anxiety in ways that may also ease irritable bowel syndrome, and simply making you feel happier. That’s a great return on something you can do in a choir, in your car, with your kids, in the shower, or even (you knew we were heading here) in a glee club. Here’s how to put the “glee factor” to work for you.  (2)

 

  Helen Astrid leading vocal coach and singer, confirms that regular exercising of the vocal cords can even prolong life, according to research done by The Helen Astrid Singing Academy in London. “It’s a great way to  keep in shape because you are exercising your lungs and heart. Not only  that, your body produces ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins, which  rush around your body when you sing. It’s exactly the same when you eat a  bar of chocolate. The good news with singing is that you don’t gain any  calories! Not only can it increase lung capacity, it improves posture,  clears respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness  through greater oxygenation. It even tones the muscles of your stomach  and back, that is if you’re singing correctly.”

After consulting some therapists and my psychology textbooks from university I also was able to confirm the following:

Singing can help boost confidence, cure depression, process negative feelings and improve relationships.  There is something to be said for the feeling one gets when people clap for you after you sing as well, 

When you’re happy, you’re likely healthier. It’s hard to be sad when you’re singing.

 

Sing To Your Heart’s Content

  Singing even helps you live longer according to the findings of a joint Harvard and Yale study which showed that choral singing increased the life expectancy of the population of New Haven, Connecticut. The report concluded that this was because singing promoted both a healthy heart and an enhanced mental state. Another study at the University of California has reported higher levels of immune system proteins in the saliva of choristers after performing a complex Beethoven masterwork. (3)

According to The perceived benefits of singing findings from preliminary surveys of a university college choral society :

Women were significantly more likely to experience benefits for well-being and relaxation, younger people were more likely to report social benefits, and those professing religious beliefs were more likely to experience spiritual benefits.  (4)

 

Researchers from McGill University in Montreal said it was the first time that the chemical – called dopamine – had been tested in response to music.  Dopamine increases in response to other stimuli such as food and money.  It is known to produce a feel-good state in response to certain tangible stimulants – from eating sweets to taking cocaine.  Dopamine is also associated with less tangible stimuli – such as being in love.  (6)

The Arts – Music and Singing – Music as a therapeutic medium has demonstrated to be efficacious for pain management (Trauger-Querry & Haghighi, 1999), in facilitating the resolution of grief (Bright, 1999), as a means of finding a personal identity (Smeijsters & van den Hurk, 1999), to improve the lives of people with communications problems related to cognitive impairment (O’Callaghan, 1999), and to enhance the quality of life for Alzheimers patients (Hanser, 1999). Recent longitudinal analysis of music-therapy related articles in the ‘Etude’ music magazine for the period 1883 to 1957 has also indicated consistent and adamant support for the (physical and psychological) health benefits of singing (Hunter, 1999) (1)

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Barbershop Harmony Society 2012.

2. 5 Reasons Singing Is Good for Your Health  April 17, 2011 12:00 AM  by Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD

3. Heart Research UK, Suite 12D, Joseph’s Well, Leeds LS3 1AB

4. The perceived benefits of singing findings from preliminary surveys of a university college choral society 2012. 

  1. S.M. Clift Centre for Health Education and Research, Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU, England
  1. G. Hancox  Department of Music, Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU, England

5.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4448634.stm

How singing unlocks the brain

                        By Jane Elliott                                            BBC News Health reporter
 
6.   January 2011 Last updated at 13:04 ET  Music ‘releases mood-enhancing chemical in the brain’By Sonya McGilchrist Health reporter, BBC News
 
 
 

Secrets to the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

You definately are what you think.  Your thoughts and actions will influence your future.  We live in times in which uncertainty has become the norm but does it have to be?

The 20th-century sociologist Robert K. Merton who is credited with coining the expression “self-fulfilling prophecy” and formalizing its structure and consequences. In his book Social Theory and Social Structure, Merton defines self-fulfilling prophecy in the following terms: e.g. when Roxanna falsely believes her marriage will fail, her fears of such failure actually cause the marriage to fail.

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come ‘true’. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.  (1)

If you think it, so it shall be.

From Shakespeare to The Secret, the idea that our thoughts and  perceptions shape our reality is recognized as a powerful truth.   As the Bard  wrote, “[T]here is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Many of us grew up in dysfunctional homes in which we might have been told we weren’t going to amount to anything.  That we were “stupid”. “useless”, etc.  Some of us grew up surrounded by family members that were abusing alcohol or drugs.  Lacking a healthy level of confidence or self worth, we believed what others said about us.  Does this have to be a belief we allow to control us or influence our future?  No, it does not serve any purpose other than to oppress us and keep us frozen in the same spot.  To risk or try for many becomes too difficult.  I choose not to be the person that they predict that I will be.  One can defy the odds and all the negative comments.  I could expound on research studies that have been conducted on this topic but I prefer to tell you of my own experience and of others that have overcome adversity.

Self fulfilling prophecy applies equally to our own expectations of ourselves. If we believe that the situation will lead to failure we might not try hard enough and fulfill that prediction. On the other hand, if we expect ourselves to do well in certain tasks, we will often rise to the occasion.

This concept once again shows us the importance of self awareness. Being aware of our thoughts and attitudes towards certain people or situations allows us to examine the validity of those thoughts, and to adjust them appropriately to get the desired results. Mindfulness brings this unconscious mental habit into conscious awareness, thus providing an opportunity to change it.

In 2009, I embarked on an adventure which meant leaving my home and family to move to Vancouver Island.  My intention was to solidify a career utilizing my psychology degree and extensive work experience.   After several years trying to attain full-time employment in the helping professions and many interviews where I was told that I would be their 2nd choice, I knew I needed to change direction.  I wanted to try a new place; create an opportunity to succeed.   I kept my mind open to all the possibilities.  What I had in my favour was a place to stay and one job interview.  I did not see the obstacles, I saw the possibilities only. I did not allow any negative thoughts to enter my mind.  I did get the job I was interviewed for although part-time and on a casual basis I did succeed at what I set out to do.  I came home several months later as work began to slow down there but I still succeeded!  I did not fail at all.  Sometimes one has to move outside the box to succeed.

My adventure taught me many things about myself and life.  I was capable of working and living on my own, I enjoyed working at the company I was employed at and I felt strong, empowered and hopeful.  I could have gone the other way after so many job rejections and said they were right!  I won’t amount to anything or I will be a drunk like my Dad or whatever they said.  Frankly, I have learned to forget much of what they said..  And who are they to me anyway?  A friend of mine told me once ” Look at the character of the one who judges you, often they would benefit more by looking at themselves in a mirror.”

Another example is using positive thinking to control pain.  If I am angry or frustrated pain will manifest itself in my body in my most vulnerable spots.  My stomach will tighten and swell (IBS), my neck,shoulders and back will start to tense up and cause me discomfort.  Negative emotions/thoughts can be harmful to our bodies and minds.

Just because you were raised in a war zone does not mean one has to keep the war alive today.   I have a few friends that have seen some horrific things in their lives growing up in Africa or in war torn countries such as Bosnia and they are the most uplifting, kind and positive people I know.

Victor is better than victim!

Some tips to stay positive and focused in your life:

1.Let go of the old thinking patterns.  If you find you are doubting yourself immediately stop!  Tell yourself ” you can and will do it.”  Keep a notebook with some of the negative thoughts you are thinking and analyze where these thoughts originated.  This will allow you to review their origins and let them go once and for all.

2. Find seven or eight affirmations that you can repeat several times daily to keep you motivated.

3.  Associate with people that support your goals and dreams.

4. Eliminate exposure to people that have ridiculed you in the past.  One may have family or friends that are instilling those old negative patterns that will only make it harder for you to be the success you were meant to be.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Merton, Robert K (1968). Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press. pp. 477. ISBN 978-0-02-921130-4. OCLC 253949.

About me:  I have two degrees: one in Psychology and the other in Journalism. I am a free-lance writer, animal lover, poet, blogger and a part-time herbalist student who lives in Alberta, Canada.

 

Modern Herbology Part 2 of 4

The Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) Theory

 

With a history of 2000 to 3000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has formed a unique system to diagnose and cure illness. The TCM approach is fundamentally different from that of Western medicine. In TCM, the understanding of the human body is based on the holistic understanding of the universe as described in Daoism, and the treatment of illness is based primarily on the diagnosis and differentiation of syndromes. (1)  TCM is still one of the most prominent medical systems on the earth.  This theory has survived serious scientific scrutiny.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory aka TCM, is the basis of chinese medicine which involves the flow of energy called “Qi” that is pronounced as “Chee”.  It is believed that this nutrient energy is the basic substance of the universe.  We are born with a certain amount of Qi ( prenatal Qi) and we acquire more Qi (postnatal) from food, medicines and air.  The qi flows in the body via streams and rivers known as acupuncture meridians.  Disease is a direct result of blockages, imbalances along with excesses that influence these meridians. Qi is divided into both ying and yang, such as: day/night, & cold/hot.

The body is symbolized by five elements in classical Chinese medicine which are : wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

The job of the practitioner is to match the positive Qi patterns with the problem Qi of the person and to always maintain balance.

Treating disease

Acupuncture

The use of acupuncture is utilized by stimulating certain points of the body surface reached by meridians through needling or moxibustion, the flow of qi and blood can be regulated and diseases are thus treated. These stimulation points are called acupuncture points, or acupoints. (1)

Herbal Therapy

 The Chinese pharmacopoeia lists over 6,000 different medicinal substances in terms of their properties and the disharmonies that they were helpful with. There are about 600 different herbs in common use today. (1)

In other forms of herbal medicine, especially western herbal medicine, herbs are often delivered singly or combined into very small formulas of herbs with the same function. In contrast, Chinese herbalists rarely prescribe a single herb to treat a condition. They create specific formulas that contain as little as four herbs, up to twenty herbs or more.

Decoction is the traditional method of preparing herbal medicine. A decoction is a concentrated form of tea. The practitioner weighs out a day’s dosage of each herb and combines them in a bag. A patient is given a bag for each day the herbal formula will be taken. The herbs are then boiled in water by the patient at home. The boiling process takes from 30-60 minutes and the resulting decoction will be consumed several times during the day. (1)

 

The Unani Theory

  Unani medicine as the name suggests, originated in greece or unan. It was the greek philosopher-physician Hippocrates (460-377BC) who freed medicine from the realm of superstition and magic and gave the status of science. The theorectical frame work of unani medicine is based on the teachings of Hippocrates. He believed that whenever and where ever possible medicine should be gentle and safe. This is the main objective of unani medicine. After Hippocrates, a number of Greek scholars enriched the system and it imbibed the best from contemporary system of medicine in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, china and other Middle east and far East countries. Thats why the system is known in different parts of the world by different names, like Greco-Arab medicine, Ionian medicine, Arab or Islamic medicine, Oriental medicine and so on. (2)

Unani is used by the Arabic, Persian and Muslim cultures.  Treatment includes evaluation of symptom groups to determine temperaments ( mizaj).  Imbalances in these temperaments are caused by work stresses, interpersonal relationships, along with rest and activity patterns.

The practitioner (Hakim) a “wise man” or “physician”, or in general, a practitioner of herbal medicine especially of unani medicine. The Hakim matches the person’s imbalances to certain herbs which in turn aids the temperament back to a more centred state.

Each of the four elements has its own special qualities: earth is cold and dry; water is cold and moist; fire is hot and dry; air is hot and moist. The
resultant quality of the uniform body is called its mizaj. The temperament of a substance may be a mizaj-e-mutadil (balanced one) or a mizaj-e-ghair-mutadil (imbalanced one). (2)

The regimental therapy includes procedures that include: cupping, Turkish bath, massage, and exercise. These therapies involves working on specific body reflexes, most commonly by massage. In situations where arthrities and back pain are present, the application of cold, heat or suction cups is also done.  Dietotherapy involves administration of specific diets or regulation of quantity and quality of food. The  Unani system, single drugs or their combinations in raw form are preferred over compound formulations.

Generally, the Hakim will not prescribe the strongest drug at the beginning of the treatment.  A drug is selected according to the degree of variation from the normal healthy condition and observes the effect produced by the treatment.

 

Photos: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

References:

1. http://www.tcmpage.com/

2. http://www.unanidoctors.com/unanimedicine.htm

 

 

Health, Home & Heart

Health, Home and Heart

I am hoping to start discussions of my blogs on wordpress so that I can read your comments, ideas, thoughts and suggestions.

These three words came to mind as I was enjoying a long soak in the bathtub one  evening about a month ago.   The  mind was pondering the question, What matters to you right now at this very moment in your life?   Why was I thinking about this in particular?  My body has been sending me signals for almost two weeks in the form of insomnia, stomach aches, & fatigue.  The body knows more than you might think it does.   These are all warning signs that I am expecting more from myself than I can do.   If I am not kind to myself then who am I to be dispensing advice to people via my blog.

Without my health there is no home and there is a tired soul and heart.

I decided I needed a week to regroup and rethink my situation.  I attended an art therapy session, treated myself to a massage I desperately needed.  I napped for a few hours one day, I wrote whatever I wanted, prepared comforting and nutritious foods and slept 8 or more hour per night.  And then as if by magic i felt really good and the cuddly sessions with my fur babies helped ME more than you will ever know.  Hot baths with Japanese Mint Oil soothed my achy body and in particular my knee.

 

What do you do when things get to be too much?

 

Yoga Benefits

Increased energy. Do you feel completely drained out by the end of the day? Shuttling between multiple tasks through the day can sometimes be quite exhausting. A few minutes of yoga everyday provides the secret to feeling fresh and energetic even after a long day. A 10-minute online guided meditation benefits you immensely, leaving you refreshed and recharged in the middle of a hectic day.

All-round fitness. You are truly healthy when you are not just physically fit but also mentally and emotionally balanced. As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts it, “Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life – in terms of how joyful, loving and enthusiastic you are.” This is where yoga helps: postures, pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation are a holistic package.

Stress relief. A few minutes of yoga during the day can be a great way to get rid of stress that accumulates daily – in both the body and mind. Yoga postures, pranayama and meditation are effective techniques to release stress. You can also experience how yoga helps de-tox the body and de-stress the mind at a Sri Sri Yoga Level 2 Course.

Inner peace. We all love to visit peaceful, serene spots, rich in natural beauty. Little do we realize that peace can be found right within us and we can take a mini-vacation to experience this any time of the day! Benefit from a small holiday every day with yoga and meditation. Yoga is also one of the best ways to calm a disturbed mind.

Yoga and Creativity: Catch the wave!

Start the day with yoga

Dawn marks a new day’s creation. Morning is a great time to start the day with a quiet hour of yoga and meditation. An effective morning yoga routine can end with a yoga breathing technique called the Sudarshan Kriya, taught by The Art of Living Foundation. Practicing Sudarshan Kriya has shown to reduce stress and calm anxiety over time, helping the mind relax naturally into creativity. After morning yoga practice, the day ahead is like a fresh canvas to paint on. At the end of your yoga session, take a journal with you and write down any creative ideas that come up.

Make your own creative yoga space

Yoga and creativity can meld together for an inspiring environment at work and home. To make your space for yoga ready, gather some recorded guided meditations, a favorite chair to sit on, a yoga mat, and some pillows. Now, to add creativity, place some art supplies or musical instruments near your yoga space. Allow yourself at least 15 minutes a day to write, draw or play music in your own “creative yoga corner”.

Forming friendships with creativity and meditation

To catch the biggest waves, a surfer has to learn how to dive into deep waters. When you are ready for more than surfing on the waves, dive into your creativity. Take the challenge to learn more about an interesting sport, or an old love of art. Join a workshop. Couple this with a meditation practice, and you can find yourself picking up new skills and possibly uncovering hidden talents you didn’t know you had. Here’s a tip: Sit for meditation just before your creative class, then start your creative work for best results.

Be inspired by nature

Sometimes in the afternoon, I find my creative well starts running dry. That means it’s time for a nature walk. There’s a walking path nearby that meanders into fields of dense brush – great for taking in deep breaths of air and creative ideas. When I get there, I find a favorite place to sit and watch nature. What flowers are growing there? What birds’ songs do I hear? At least ten to 15 minutes of observing nature revives up my mind with a fresh new creative start.

Meditate through the day

A surf rider’s day isn’t complete without a few memorable moments on the waves. In between each new wave is the silent, quiet wait. The surfer has a chance to gather energy and notice the surrounding scenery. In the middle of the day, a meditation works like the ebbing ocean wave. Your chattering mind gently drops back into its quiet source. When your mind feels overwhelmed and no creative thoughts are materializing, a 10-20 minute meditation can calm the mind so new ideas can naturally surface. Before lunch, or at the end of the day, meditation can help you feel rejuvenated and ready for your next creative task.

Finding your flow with yoga

The surfer grabs the ultimate wave. A tunnel of water spirals forward, almost threatening to circle around him. No problem – the surfer has found the flow and sails right through to the other side. A good flow of ideas is effortless like breathing. Here is one yoga breath exercise to help you find your flow. Sit quietly with eyes closed. Slowly, take a deep breath in. Breathe out slowly. As you breathe, notice the flow of your breath. Does it seem to shake, or is it slow and steady? Do you find that you stop in between to take a bigger gulp of air to complete the breath? Continue breathing slowly and deeply for ten breaths.

Now, take out your journal. On the page, write down a central theme and circle it. For the next few minutes, keep writing down any thoughts that come to you relating to your central theme. Circle each new word and draw a connecting line to the main word. When your mind comes to a natural stop, you have completed the exercise.

Yoga helps you do what you love

Practicing yoga, we gradually build more awareness about our own creativity. We can move toward doing more of what we love. Yoga and meditation help focus the mind. With a more focused, calm mind, we can move more directly toward what we really want, toward the deep yearning of the soul, kind of like the tunnel opening at the end of the ultimate wave.

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References:

http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/excel-with-yoga/yoga-and-creativity

http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/benefits-yoga-asanas