- Taking Care of Your Back
- A Joyful Life
- Wellness During the Holidays
- Chakra Exercises
Tips for taking care of your beloved body:
As the years go by the body deserves to take things a little easier. After all it has taken you everywhere you wanted to go and done everything you wanted to do for years on end. So, in line with treating your body like a beloved pet, here are some tips for keeping it a healthy and happy companion.
- Take your body for a daily walk to get its exercise.
- Feed your body healthy foods that fit its personal needs.
- Give it preventive health care with a monthly bodywork session, and consultations with the nutritionist/herbalist , chiropractor and acupuncturist on a regular basis.
- Give it plenty of sleep.
- Listen closely when it communicates with you (this requires the same kind of intuitive bond that you have with your animal pet).
- Take it to classes (yoga, meditation, tai chi, reiki) to help it learn how to behave in a stressful world.
- Be kind when it isn't feeling well and give it extra nurturing to get better more quickly.
- Take your body out to play regularly.
- Let your body have a nap in the dappled spring sunshine.
- Always give your body encouraging thoughts and praise for a job well done (even if it was actually mediocre). Your body is always doing its best for you!
All summer long you will be bending, lifting, running, and playing in the garden, on the beach, at the park and everywhere else. Here are some exercises to relieve your overworked back after a long day of summer fun!
Feet together, bend forward from waist, knees slightly bent, hands reaching towards floor. Breathe deeply for a few breaths in this position. Leading with the fingertips, inhale and raise the body up towards the heavens. When fingers are straight up to the sky, pause and exhale. Inhale and raise up onto the balls of the feet. Exhale allowing the arms to fall to the outside of the body at shoulder height. Inhale while pausing this position and exhale slowly dropping arms to rest by sides. Repeat 10 times.
Tilting the Knees:
Lay on the back on the floor or another firm surface. Place the feet on the floor with the knees bent. Slowly and gently begin to tilt the knees side to side. Gradually, as the back begins to loosen up, the knees will go closer to the floor without effort.
Lay on one side on the floor with the arms straight out from the shoulders - one on top of the other with palms together. If you need a pillow to support your head, use one! Lift the top arm and move through the air across your body towards the floor on the other side. Watch the hand with your eyes the whole time. When you reach your comfort limit, return the hand to the other one and repeat. Do both sides noticing the differences between them.
The most challenging part of the new year is our obsessive focus on everything that is wrong in our lives. Let's try a new approach this year and take time every day to acknowledge what is good in life! Here are some suggestions of how to experience the joy in life by noticing (and being grateful for) what's already there!
- Give yourself a break - lay down for 15 minutes to do some Reiki or relaxation before you do the next task
- Ignore the mess in the house and go out for a walk in the rain
- Look in the mirror and give yourself a genuine compliment- it will bring a sparkle to your eyes
- Take a day off from chores or work even though you aren't feeling sick
- Go for a fun family outing in the middle of the week
- Look honestly at your imperfections and love them - they are what makes you - YOU!
The holiday season is upon us and the stresses that come along with it. Keep yourself feeling light and joyful during the coming months by taking time now to follow these tools for healthy living tips:
- Alone time is very important for maintaining wellness. Make a few minutes a day to be with yourself in silence - sitting in meditation, walking through the garden, focusing on a candle, gazing at a beautiful photo - anything that provides a few minutes without intentional thought will bring deep relaxation.
- Cleanse! Take 3 - 5 days to eat very lightly (fresh vegetable broths, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, steamed veggies and herb teas). Gentle Drainage and Cellular Recharge are two great products to assist with the effective of a cleanse.
- Take leisurely walks during the beautiful fall mornings and evenings to keep your heart pumping and fresh oxygen flowing into your body. Especially after a big holiday dinner!
- Take NanoGreens daily for increased energy, improved digestion and elimination, and fewer cravings and allergies.
- Try NanoPro to get a better night's sleep, as a good pick-me-up during those flagging afternoons or to give gastro-intestinal support during the rich holiday eating.
- Find an inspiring affirmation and say it to yourself many times a day to relieve the burden of worry.
- Use flower essences to clear out old patterns of thought and behavior. Try Aspen for undefined fear, Borage for courage and cheerfulness when facing obstacles, or Mustard for depression. (Amy is available for consultations to personalize your essences.)
There are many ways to view the relationship between the mind and body. They are an intertwined expression of the
deepest parts of ourselves. We like to encourage people to become aware of the ways that the body reflects our
personal issues, as a reflection of what we feel and our attitudes in life. This awareness can assist us in gaining a
deeper understanding of our experiences as cause and effect.
A favorite association is to see the sides of the body as symbolic of different aspects of expression. This knowledge can help us in identifying the source of ailments that are manifest in our bodies. A brief description follows: Right side has the qualities of responsiveness, masculine energy, giving out, assertiveness, positive polarity, the future. Left side has the qualities of intuition, feminine energy, receptivity, taking in, negative polarity, the past.
- Lay on your back on the floor. Bend the knees and place a pillow under your head if you need that to be comfortable.
- Observe yourself thoroughly, noticing the way the arms and legs are laying. Do not self-criticize. Simply observe and allow yourself to make adjustments to your position as needed to become more comfortable.
- Focus in on your left side. Notice any aches and pains you have - consider the left side of the face, the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, the ribs, the hip, knee, ankle, and foot. Remember any injuries you may have had to that side of your body.
- Get up and walk around to observe what has changed. Then lay back down.
- Focus in on your right side. Notice any aches and pains you have - consider the left side of the face, the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, the ribs, the hip, knee, ankle, and foot. Remember any injuries you may have had to that side of your body.
- Get up and walk around to observe what has changed. Then lay back down.
- Mentally compare the two sides by running through the same list of parts that you just observed independently.
- Allow your insights to rise to the surface without censoring or judgment.
- Repeat periodically to discover the changes that occur simply through non-judgmental observation.
Last month we used the example of the throat as a power center. Another area commonly considered a power center is the solar plexus. The solar plexus is the soft spot at the bottom of the breastbone between the ribs. The solar plexus as power center represents our relationship to the outside world.
Many people experience "butterflies in the stomach", "a knot in the pit of the stomach" or nausea during times of high stress and anxiety, pushing to exhaustion while being the overachiever or when feeling threatened or powerless. Having a healthy solar plexus energy results in self-confidence (without the swagger) and feeling comfortable in the world.
- Lay comfortably on a bed or on the floor with a pillow under your knees.
- Focus your mind on the solar plexus by placing the hands lightly across the ribs with the fingers at the solar plexus.
- Observe closely the feeling of this area of the body. Is your solar plexus protected by layers forming a large waistline or is it protected by an overly tight musculature? Perhaps there is a calm and happy feeling in the solar plexus.
- Look again and notice if there is a color that resides there.
- Observe any change in color as you continue to look closely at yourself.
- As you sense the depths of your solar plexus bring in a light, lemony yellow to swirl like a cloud or a wisp of smoke through the energy center. Allow the yellow to slowly expand filling the entire region around the solar plexus - embracing the ribs that wrap around the body to cover all of the organs underneath (liver, gall bladder, spleen, stomach, pancreas and part of the intestine).
- Observe how this light wispy yellow makes you feel.
- As you feel the yellow holding your mid-section allow the strength of the color to brighten, moving from a light lemony yellow to the bright yellow of a sunflower in full bloom.
- Notice how your breathing changes as you allow yourself to be filled with this life-giving color.
- Take three deep breaths and allow yourself to return refreshed to your day.
I'm continually amazed at the way synchronicity works in life. Last month I intended to cover information on the throat and wrote it out way ahead of time. Then, when the time came I thought it had already been sent so I deleted it. Upon discovering my mistake, I realized that the best subject for last month was, indeed, the solar plexus center. The challenges we have been facing in the past month regarding our place in the outer world, job security, etc. fit in perfectly with the third (solar plexus) chakra.
This month, we are ready to vote (please do!) and have our voices be heard. So, the throat is actually the perfect center to be focusing on this time. Unconscious mistakes take us to perfection once again! The throat chakra resides at the base of the throat and is seen as a center of personal power as expressed through the voice. Many people have difficulty speaking up for themselves, feeling unheard by those around them.
Strengthening and clearing the throat center allows us to speak our personal truth with clarity and conviction without attack or defense. The avoidance of overly constricted throat energy keeps away colds and other illnesses that center around the throat. Louise Hay's book, Heal Your Body, tells us that a sore throat is "The inability to speak up for oneself. Swallowed anger. Stifled creativity. Refusal to change." The Flower Essence of Trumpet Vine supports confident self-expression by integrating the energy from the lower, earth-centered chakras with the spoken word.
- Sit comfortably at the edge of a chair with the feet flat on the floor.
- Feel the weight of the body being held by the sit-bones.
- Lay the hands lightly on the knees or in the lap.
- Imagine a stream of water flowing through the top of your head and washing down through the throat.
- Notice what the color of the water is as it moves the debris from the throat.
- Move the rushing water down the spine and feel it draining out the tailbone.
- Watch the dirty water as it is absorbed into the earth below.
- Repeat this imagery as many times as necessary until the water is no longer tainted by odd coloring or debris.
- Imagine a pure sky blue color (see photo above) washing throughout the entire throat region, filling your body with a feeling of lightness, cleanliness and clarity.
- Take a deep breath and become aware of yourself in the room.
During the dormancy of winter, the celebration of light and spirituality is seen in the winter holidays of Hannukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. A lovely extension of that focus is to connect consciously with the spiritual center of the crown chakra. The seventh or crown chakra offers us a direct connection to the Divine. When we are feeling dis-spirited and alone, feeling a lack of faith as so many are during these changing times, awakening the seventh chakra is very important. Gaining clarity in the crown chakra is necessary in order to deepen faith, and uncover the quiet voice of divine guidance, shining light out of darkness.
Violet, the color of the crown chakra, is very popular these days so it should be easy to find an example of it for your imagery. This is a great exercise for answering questions or simply cultivating a deeper sense of listening to the voice of the inner divine.
- Sit or lay quietly in a comfortable position. Take a moment to scan through your body and notice where tensions are being held.
- Draw in a full, leisurely breath. Allow the breath to expand through your whole body. Now, another full breath. Notice any colors or feelings that arise with each breath.
- With the third breath move your attention slowly from the base of the spine (tailbone) all the way up, vertebrae by vertebrae, to your head. Move your awareness slowly through the head to the crown.
- Open the crown of your head by sending a breath past the line of the skull, lightly blowing through the skin and hair above and extending toward the sky. If you begin to feel too vulnerable, allow a smaller opening to appear and surround the rest of yourself with a glowing white light.
- Send a cone-shaped ray of violet light up through this opening and observe what you feel.
- While maintaining this state of peaceful openness, ask your Higher Self (God, the Great Spirit, Mother Earth) a question or simply allow yourself to be open to inspiration. Take a few full breaths allowing yourself to absorb the knowledge of divine inspiration. (This can be experienced through any of your senses.)
- When you feel complete, draw the violet light back inside yourself. Complete the circle of white around you over the top of the head.
- Sink your awareness down the spine returning to the base. Take a deep breath, check in with your body and slowly open your eyes.
January is a good time to call on inspiration. The third eye center, in the forehead, carries the energy of seeing life with clarity, insight, intuition, heightened self-awareness and vision.
- Sit comfortably in a straight-backed chair with your feet on the ground forming a right angle to the knees with the hands resting lightly on the knees.
- Close your eyes lightly.
- Take a few deep breaths and focus on the top of the head allowing yourself to connect to spirit.
- Move the focus to the center of your forehead.
- Imagine an extra eye there.
- Watch the eye open and notice details about it. What color is it? Does it have clear vision? Or is the vision cloudy? Can you even visualize an eye?
- Simply observe your sensations and take another deep breath.
- Let go of the exercise and gently open your eyes.
- Repeat this exercise regularly until you are able to perceive clear details of this eye and see clearly out of it.
- Once clarity has been achieved, you can intentionally open this eye and receive inspiration and direction.
February, the month of love. What a great time to focus on giving yourself more love and compassion. Then you will have plenty to spread to others!
- Lay on your back, with the knees bent or on a pillow.
- Be especially comfortable and place a pillow under your head and cover yourself with a blanket.
- Close your eyes, place both hands on your chest over the heart.
- Take three deep breaths reaching deep into the groin area and spreading upward to the neck.
- Bring your awareness to the center of the chest under your hands.
- Imagine a beautiful flower just beginning to bloom. Notice its size, shape and color.
- As the flower blooms, take another deep, full body breath.
- Expand your image into a field of glorious flowers in a backdrop of velvety green grass.
- Feel the expansion of your heart throughout your body.
- Return your focus to the heart center. Allow a vibrant green to fill your chest as you take another deep breath and open your eyes.
With the economy right now many people are feeling threatened in the field of work. The third chakra, at the solar plexus, is an important power center to cultivate during rocky times. An imbalance in the third chakra manifests as feeling powerless, striving to overachieve, being overly controlling or feeling like you've lost control, experiencing self-doubt, and feeling completely stressed out. When the energy flows smoothly through this center, we have a positive relationship to the outside world, experience self-confidence especially in work environment, and feel calm and secure within ourselves. The color of the third chakra is yellow and the day it is associated with is Wednesday.
- Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor at a 90 degree angle to your knees.
- Place the hands lightly on the knees or thighs, comfortably. Close the eyes.
- Focus inwardly in the area of the solar plexus, the soft spot where the ribs meet at the bottom of the breast bone.
- Notice any sensations present there - churning, tension, butterflies, nausea, fullness or emptiness?
- Now observe if you experience a color - what color, dark or light, bright or dull?
- Take three deep breaths by pushing the belly out as you inhale and emptying the belly completely when you exhale. Repeat three times.
- Now, notice any changes in color or sensation.
- Return your attention to the breath, adding a vibrant bright yellow into your inhalation.
- With the exhalation, send out of your body the old color and sensations.
- Repeat the breaths with color, observe the changes and gently open your eyes.
This month I want to introduce you the emotional center that rests about two inches below the navel. This is a center commonly referred to in meditation and internal martial arts training.To the Chinese it is the tan t'ien. The Japanese call it the hara. It is the place of focus for opening up creative energy and healthy relationships with others. The second chakra carries the energy of relationship, intimacy, sexuality and creativity. The color associated with the second chakra is orange and it is also connected to the adrenals.
- Stand in a peaceful place, outdoors if possible. Arrange your body so that yourfeet are underneath your hips, the bones lightly stacked from the feet all the way up to the head. Bend the knees to provide comfort in your back. (If standing is uncomfrtable, sit on the edge of a straight-backed chair with your feet below your knees forming a 90 degree angle.
- Rock lightly on your feet moving the weight forward to the balls of the feet and then back towards the heels, keeping the knees gently bent. This is a small movement that feel stable and secure.
- Settle back onto the feet in a comfortable place.
- Focus on the second chakra, two inches below the navel (belly button).
- Imagine the glow of an orange light in the center of your belly.
- With each breath, expand the light into a big ball filling your belly from front to back.
- Slowly allow the orange light to stream down your legs to fill the feet.
- While holding this image of the orange light filling the belly, legs and feet, gently repeat the rocking from front to back.
- Notice the changes in your feelings of stability as each breath streams orange light through your lower body.
- Take a final breath and release the image.