Relaxing the body calms the mind. Calming the mind harmonizes bodily function, feels comfortable, and enables us to breathe more freely and easily.
I am a big believer in the healing and balancing effects that meditation has on the body's nervous system. Many of us are completely unaware of the healing that can take place in the body by the simple act of decoupling the conscious mind for just a little bit everyday. It has been my experience that different types of meditation work differently for certain people. For example some people absolutely cannot stand guided meditations while other people would be lost in their own thoughts without the stable guiding hand of a meditation facilitator. Different strokes for different folks definitely seems to apply when it comes to meditation which makes sense as we are all biochemically uniquely different in our own way.
In this issue of the Soul Nurturing 101 we will be examining the benefits of crystal bowl meditation. This type of meditation is based on a principle referred to as sound healing or "vibrational medicine". Resonant vibration, rhythms and tones can balance brain hemispheres, stress levels, and even tension in body. Music and chanting have been used for thousands of years to heal and energize the body, mind and emotions. A sense of well-being and an increase in energy are often the result of crystal bowl sessions. I can speak after experiencing several of these sessions in person that it truly is a healing experience that I now make part of my regular meditation routine. I find that I am actually able to get to the meditative space quicker than any other type of practice.
I have included a couple of examples of this type of meditation practice for you to enjoy along with a meditation aromatherapy diffusion recipe. Introspective frankincense and elevating lemon contribute in this diffusion blend, specifically designed for meditation practice. Check the directions with your particular diffuser for specific use and dilution recommendations to adjust your amount of oils accordingly. Enjoy!
Frankincense & Lemon Meditation Diffusion
9 drops frankincense essential oil
9 drops lemon essential oil
1. Into diffuser measure essential oils
2. Operate diffuser according to directions
3. Refresh with additional oils whenever needed
The issue of soul nurturing 101 has to deal with scenting your environment. By utilizing the sense of smell , essential oils can shift emotions and moods. In this way and many others essential oils are powerful agents that can contribute to a happy and balanced life.
Have you ever had a craving for fresh baked cookies? Don't you just love the smell when they are cooking at home....so warm and comforting! Bergamot and cinnamon leaf essential oils can create an aroma that's reminiscent of fresh baked cookies that you can whip out any time any where with this calming air freshener. Supplies for this recipe are easy to find in your local Sprouts store!
Bergamot Cinnamon Room Mist
1 1/2 ounces deionized water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
25 drops bergamot essential oil
7 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil
6 drops cardamom essential oil
2 ounce amber glass mist bottle
1. Add vanilla extract and essential oils into mist bottle, then add water
2. Replace cap and shake well
3. To use, shake bottle and mist airspace
Many people do not realize the importance and connection that their breath has to both the brain and the heart. Because of this connection breathwork can be a powerful and accessible tool for all to use not only for better balance but also to help manage conditions such as anxiety, depression, other mood disorders, fatigue, stress, diabetes and heart disease. This isn't just conjecture or theory either! There have been quite a few studies recently that provide an evidence based connection between the breath and the body's ability to regulate the body's autonomic nervous system.
Think of the autonomic nervous system as a conductor of the body that helps to regulate signals and impulses. The two main players of this system are like the reins and the crop for a horse. One system drives things faster and the other system slows things down. These two systems work together day and night to control all types of things such as how quickly we are thinking to our ability to go to sleep. In medical terms we call these reins the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. What medical research tells us is that different breathing exercises and techniques have a unique way to tap into these systems so that you can control them and that when you tap into that control your body reaps the benefits.
The primary reward of becoming more aware of your breath comes in the engagement of the parasympathetic system to start to slow things down. Think about it- all day we are on the go or have something to do or see or text or post ALL THE TIME! That leads to a constant feeding of the sympathetic system which places a strain on the supportive glandular network which can place your hormonal system completely in a whirlwind! When you engage in breathwork the parasympathetic system (or the "reins") start to take over which slows your systems down and allows your body to "take a break". This process of "breaking" is actually fundamental in the process of healing and repair to the body.
So now that you understand one of the true purposes of your breath the challenge becomes to start to become more aware of your breathing pattern. Consider signing up for a breathwork class or seminar in your community or sign up for a yoga class and pay particular attention to the breathing patterns taught during the session. Your breath is always with you, it is free and you don't have to go anywhere to do it. Take the time to be aware of where your breath is and make your breath work for you and not against you.
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Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2016 Feb;124(2):65-70. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1565062. Epub 2015 Nov 17.
Part 1: Ayurveda and Preventative Health
Our country is saddled with an incredible amount of chronic disease. We spend millions, no wait, billions on treatment of preventable conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. As we toil away day after day we also seem to be increasingly susceptible to what I refer to as "quality of life" diseases. These are things like insomnia, stress, hormonal fluctuations and mood swings just to name a few. The question is why if we spend so much money on making ourselves better and billions on vitamins and supplements why we still seem to be faced with the same chronic diseases as we have been for the past 30 years? I'll tell you why-- if you forget the lessons of the past you'll be doomed to make mistakes in the future. I would argue that the field of Ayurveda is that lesson from the past.
Many people do not realize that disease happens slowly over time secondary to a lack of attention to preventative systems in the body that are meant to keep disease away. Now as to why there's a lack of attention to those systems well really the reasons are from the ceiling to the floor based on our current modern lifestyle. Part of it is because overall the majority of healthcare providers do not have a tremendous amount of training for counseling patients in a preventative disease lifestyle. If you combine that with a lack of allotted time during an office visit for preventative education and lack of reimbursement for comprehensive preventative health then its no wonder most of us succumb eventually to one or more disease states.
So let's try to put all of this together. If the majority of us want to stay healthy and prevent disease but the majority of people who are set forth to provide healthcare do not have basic training in preventive disease prevention and techniques then how exactly is a majority of America supposed to engage and prevent disease? I'll tell you how. You personally have to go back and discover lessons that you may have forgotten or may have never been taught. And that is where you can find the importance of the field of medicine refer to as Ayurvedic medicine.
Think of it as when you typically go to the doctor you are going there with a problem. If you have a problem then that means that the disease has already manifested itself to the point where you have developed symptoms. Therefore you haven't prevented any disease in the first place because there you are sitting in the waiting room of your doctor's office hoping for some type of treatment so that you can feel better. Ayurvedic medicine is geared at keeping you out of the waiting room with a disease in the first place. Now to understand how this field of medicine works on the preventative health spectrum that I think it's best to review it in small chunks so that you can first digest the structure of this field of medicine as it is unfamiliar to most people who are most experienced with traditional Western medicine. By traditional Western medicine I'm referring to the type of medicine where you wait until you are sick and then you go to the doctor and the doctor prescribe something or gives you some type of device in order to make those symptoms go away and then you you don't come back until you have some other type of problem. Ayurvedic medicine is particularly concerned with prevention of disease so this is the type of medicine that at a minimum we can all incorporate to improve and prevent disease.
The purpose of this and the next article in this series of article will explain in common terms some basic concepts of Ayurveda that you can use in your day to day life, what the origins are of this type of practice and how it relates to Western medicine, and how you can start to experience some of the benefits of this particular type of medicine. These articles will go over some of the basic principles, how you can determine your dosha and what are some common recommendations to balance your dosha so that you can start to activate some of the preventive and healing mechanisms that are already pre-built in your body on a cellular level. Now if you have already in the diseased state which means that you are already experiencing symptoms Ayurveda can still help to resolve possibly some of those manifestations however you have to always consider the advice of your personal physician who is treating you in regards to what particular steps you should take for your health care conditions. We encourage you to subscribe to our blog so that you will get a notification for the next article in this series -Ayurveda 101.
To take a quiz to start to figure out your own unique composition according to Ayurveda click here.
The most common test for evaluation of cholesterol is a standard cholesterol panel which examines total cholesterol, hdl (high density lipoprotein), triglycerides (think of this as "sugary" cholesterol) and ldl (low density lipoprotein). Most people think that this is enough in terms of getting the most information they can in regards to their cholesterol profile but to truly understand why this information is not enough you have to understand how cholesterol contributes to heart disease.
Unlike most cosmetic procedures that can involve downtime, pain or discomfort this procedure only results in a gently warmth during the procedure when applied on the outside and nearly none when applied on the inside. As someone who had administered many pelvic exams in my opinion having this procedure appeared to cause less discomfort than a pap smear!
This month we have been following the stories of women who have been affected by breast cancer. In this first edition of this series we met Claire a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant. In the second issue in this series we take a different and very frank look about what it can be like to find out that you have breast cancer and some of the common things that women experience after treatment.
Please note that this video contains sensitive and graphic images and should only be viewed by adults 18 and older. By proceeding with viewing you are verify that you are of age to view this video.
If you have not yet scheduled your mammogram for this year and you are over 40 or have a high risk of breast cancer and under 40 please schedule your appointment for evaluation and mammogram order here.
ARE YOU AT RISK?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Women with the following characteristics have been found to have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Increasing age (especially older than 55)
- Genetic factors (think about your family history)
- Personal history of benign breast disease
- Previous chest irradiation
- Lifestyle factors (diet & amount of exercise along with weight along with other factors)
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment about what you can do to lower your risk factors for breast cancer please schedule here.
Many women across this country are familiar with breast cancer either through personal or family experience. However many women may not be familiar with what the real story is of someone who has had to go through a breast cancer diagnosis and the toll that treatment can take on the mind, body, soul and family.