Perhaps you have tried out the local yoga studio down the street. Chances are it was a “faster flow” class—it created inner heat and maybe you broke a sweat. If you have never taken a yoga class before, you might have noticed the many types out there to choose from. Ranging in all types from fundamentals all the way to an “Ashtanga” style.
No need to be intimidated—because there is a class for everyone's body and needs. Have you thought about a slower “restorative-style” yoga class? This is slower-paced class with mindful meditation, gentle music, and the time to be introspective. It gives you space to feel your body—as it is, and all it can be. Yin yoga can offer this type of movement for you. The gentle pace and meditation can be a great start or end to your day.
You can do a warm-up to start your Yin practice, but many times you will find what you experience is known as working on “cold muscles”. To make it simple, cold muscles are short and warm muscles are long. Holding these poses allows you to lengthen ligaments along with gaining a greater range of motion in the joint. Going deep into a stretch—making it sensational might be a normal feeling in your everyday yoga flow, but in Yin—slow and steady wins the race!
Allowing the time in a pose and listening to your body when it says it's ready to go deeper is great for reaching the fascia and connective tissues, not to mention the pressure points for stimulating certain areas of your body. Yin yoga poses also tend to correlate with the acupressure points and the chakra system. Stimulating these points can not only help relieve stress and calm the mind but help your body's natural flow of energy by releasing blockages. Working with your body's meridians and chakras can hold many benefits, which in turn can help with your body's natural healing.
Taking the time to hold these poses and create stillness in your life will not only help your nervous system calm down and reset but give you time to look inside and take an introspective moment for yourself—Helping you sort out thoughts and feelings and process events. Yoga in itself can be emotionally revealing, lifting, and healing with the awareness and time you create for yourself.
Along with this self-care, please remember that with any activity it is very important to stay hydrated. Especially after a good Yin yoga class, due to the nature of movement and how comparative it is to a deep tissue massage, and the toxins that are released and become ready to leave your body.
Create your healing space! Take time for yourself and remember to love yourself.
Visit our classes page, where you can browse many different yoga class styles and levels. Our yoga classes are designed for all—from beginner to advanced!
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Let’s talk about downtime. When was the last time you had some real downtime for yourself?
I’m not talking about that obligatory quarantine that may have been your only actual time off in a while although you were sick, your typical 7 hours of sleep so you can be a functioning human, or that 15 minutes you desperately carve out for yourself on occasion to sit on the couch and take a few deep breaths. I’m talking about real time for yourself to recalibrate and come back to life focused in the present.
Wait, is that even a thing!!!!??? That’s right—it’s a thing and it can be done. It’s not a fictional fantasy, but something you can do without feeling guilty—even though it can feel a little selfish and seem impossible to squeeze in at times.
I don’t think I’m the only one that sees a shift in the level of busyness of life lately. With staffing shortages everywhere, work seems more demanding for nearly everyone I encounter. Home life is even busier for most of us—the trends I’m seeing the most are either that we’re so eager to be out doing things after the past couple years of isolation, or that work is bleeding into home life more and more. On top of everything else, we are also trying our best to care for loved ones, prioritizing the mental health of others and often leaving ourselves burning the candle at both ends for everyone but ourselves.
Downtime is one of those interesting little things that if we don’t seek out, it will seek us out with a vengeance. When stress levels are too high, all kinds of wonky things begin to happen with your health—and some of those things can be rather debilitating (and put you down for the count unexpectedly!). Aside from the health risks of stress and overexertion, being spread too thin or overly-stressed often affects personal relationships as well. Remember that you can’t serve from an empty vessel, and prioritizing time for yourself is beneficial to you, and your most important relationships as well.
If you’re an “overachiever” by nature, I realize that downtime may seem to be unproductive for you—but I promise, you will reap the rewards. Why not give yourself the time and space to enjoy the things you’ve worked so hard for?
When planning downtime, consider what works best for you. Do you find yourself focusing more if you schedule some downtime into your daily routine? This could be journaling, meditating, taking a walk, meeting a good friend or a family member for coffee, or even enjoying a lovely bath at the end of your day. If you function best and feel more clear-headed and present by having more substantial downtime, it may work better for you to schedule this time in heftier blocks: weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. However, the longer you wait to get that downtime in, the more time you should schedule for yourself to recalibrate.
A few examples for more in-depth downtime are enjoying a long massage, going to a yoga class, working on a hobby that brings you joy, going to a movie, or even a “staycation” centered around doing things that make you happy. The possibilities are endless—and the only real rule is that you utilize the time to do something healthy and enjoyable for yourself with as few interruptions as possible.
Some of our favorites (that can be purchased at our Raja Goods location!) to enhance downtime are:
Remember there are many benefits to having an appropriate amount of downtime for yourself; such as gaining a fresh perspective for overcoming obstacles, a feeling of rejuvenation and integration, time to connect with loved ones, an improved stress response, and improved focus. Integrating downtime into your schedule is a necessity that will help you avoid burnout and fatigue. Think of the things you love to do the most and start making time for them—you’ll enjoy a better quality of life and your daily tasks will be easier to complete!
Many of our patients are familiar with one of the frequency therapies we currently provide here, FSM (Frequency Specific Microcurrent). This new therapy is called Frequency Specific Pulsed Electromagnetic Field or FSPEMF for short. Unlike most PEMF therapies which use generic frequency bands, FSPEMP allows us to fine-tune the treatment to the condition and/or tissues being treated with specific frequencies.
An Electromagnetic Field (EMF) is the field of force that is created due to the interaction of electric and magnetic forces of charged bodies. Any charged particle can create these fields, including our cells. Every organ in the body produces its own signature bio-electromagnetic field. Every single cell in the body communicates via these electromagnetic fields at the overall rate of trillions of chemical reactions per second.
It is a therapy which uses specific frequencies of pulsed electromagnetic fields to trigger the body’s natural healing processes. FSPEMF stimulates and activates cells to help resolve cellular dysfunction, promote healing, and support overall wellness. It has been scientifically documented to have beneficial effects on multiple biological tissues ranging from bone to brain. FSPEMF triggers a cascade of biological processes that supports ailing tissues to promote optimum functioning and health.
There are 3 main ways electricity is at play in our body on a cellular level. The human body requires electricity to send signals throughout the body, including to the brain. Our own cells communicate with each other through electromagnetic exchanges in addition to chemical signaling. Each cell in our body acts as a small battery which stores bioelectricity. Any disruption in any one of these or all of them can lead to illness, dysfunction, and/or an increased risk of injury. Multiple factors can disrupt these electromagnetic communications, including aging, physical injuries, poor nutrition, and excessive physical or mental stress. FSPEMF is able to effectively help realign the electrical signaling at a cellular level and recharge the cells in order for them to function optimally. When the voltage of a cell falls below 15 millivolts, the cell malfunctions and emits receptors that trigger pain and inflammation. Restoring a cell to 20-25 millivolts permits the cell to operate normally. When a cell’s voltage is at 50 millivolts, it actively repairs itself, regenerating its internal components and expelling harmful toxins. What FSPEMF does is to provide the energy necessary to raise the cell’s voltage to 50 millivolts to actively repair itself.
FSPEMF may be helpful for all of the same conditions as FSM, however it is not a replacement. It can be used separately as its own powerful stand-alone treatment as part of a series of treatments or it can be used in conjunction with FSM and acupuncture with great synergy.
Unlike FSM, FSPEMF doesn’t use wet towels because it doesn’t require direct skin contact, and it is able to penetrate deeper into the tissues because it does not have to overcome the tissue resistance electrical current does. Small field generators are placed on or near the body and the FSPEMF is able to work non-invasively and safely. Most patients feel only a general sense of relaxation and well-being during treatment. There is no pain, or pulses of electricity as there is no direct contact with the body.
Has a long history of migraines which have been on and off with varying degrees of intensity. Over the last two weeks, she has had a constant debilitating migraine she describes the headache as if her head is in a vise. In an effort to provide her with relief, her doctor has prescribed 250mg of Topamax. Even with this amount of Topamax, she continues to have a constant migraine with 25% improvement. On top of all of this she currently in the midst of a contentious divorce which is causing her a considerable amount of stress.
After five treatments she was off all of the Topamax and Immitrex and was headache free. Treatment consisted of acupuncture using a nanopuncture protocol to improve vagal nerve function and FSM to increase Vagal nerve function as well.
After 1st Treatment on 2/13:
She had a small amount of relief after the treatment, however the next day the migraine was completely resolved.
She was HA free for a week.
After a very stressful encounter with her ex-husband, the migraine began to return, however it was about half of the intensity of prior to the treatment.
She also took Imitrex the entire week without any relief.
After 2nd Treatment on 3/6:
She noticed a small improvement initially after the treatment, however it was gone the next day and never returned.
She also decreased her Topamax from 350mg to 200mg (a 150mg decrease).
After 3rd Treatment on 3/17:
She remained headache free and decreased the Topamax to 100mg.
After 4th Treatment on 4/7:
Still no headaches
Has stopped taking Topamax
After 5th Treatment on 4/28:
She still had no migraine (she did have a tension headache)
She said she is feeling great and she is still not taking Topamax.
After 4/28 I have not seen her again; her father is also a patient who comes in bi-monthly. I regularly ask him about her and she continues to remain headache free.
Whether you are doing a gentle flow, are a beginner, or are ready for advanced practices, there are multiple reasons why you might want to try your hand or whole body in the practice of Yoga. While getting out and walking in the local park or walking your dog down the street might be one amazing reset for your mind and body, Asanas (poses) can be a whole new world to introduce yourself to.
With just a short moment, you can improve your balance, strength and flexibility by starting off slow and learning how to feel your body. Raise your arms high above your head. Now, take notice of how the muscles from your fingertips following down to the lower part of your back feel. Tense? Maybe you just gently lean your neck to one side. Feel the tendons and muscles creating space. Bring your head back to a neutral alignment, take a deep breath in, noting the feeling of how your navel rises and how the air moves through your throat. Feeling more relaxed already?
This is just a small look into taking time for yourself and creating space. Taking the time to notice how your body feels while you move starts to bring awareness to your inner self. This is a great start to cultivating self care and feeling some peace. Taking just a couple minutes out of your day to practice just a few poses can help not only in boosting mood and rid those holiday blues, but can help your body lubricate your joints and get the lymphatic system moving! (help fight those bugs).
After taking some time for your body to get moving now is the best part. SAVASANA! Take about five minutes to lie down and reset your nervous system, palms facing upward, not touching anything. Maybe you cover yourself with a cozy blanket and throw on some soothing music to help take your mind elsewhere—and just breathe. Notice your breath, how it feels. With every breath just let your tension go, this is your time. Once you have taken some time to let your body relax, (take more if you want!) return to a comfortable upright seated position. Take a few breaths here and slowly return to your daily activities. Take this peace with you in everything you do.
Other Basic Poses You May Try:
1. From a standing position, bring the feet hip width apart & parallel. Lift up the toes, spread them wide and place them back on the floor. Feel your weight evenly balanced through the bottom of each foot.
2. Flex the thighs and allow the tailbone to drop slightly. The legs are straight, but the knees are soft.
3. Inhale and lift the crown of the head up towards the ceiling, feeling the spine long and straight.
4. Exhale and drop the shoulders down and back as you reach the fingertips towards the floor.
5. Breathe and hold for 9 breaths.
6. To release: exhale & relax the arms down to your sides or bring the palms together in front of your chest.
Standing Forward Fold
1. From Mountain pose, exhale forward hinging at the hips. Bend the knees enough to bring the palms flat to the floor and the head close to the knees.
2. Feel the spine stretching in opposite directions as you pull the head down and in and press the hips up. Work on straightening the legs to deepen the stretch in the backs of the legs.
3. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, actively pressing the belly into the thighs on the inhalation.
4. To release: bend the knees keeping the back straight, inhale and slowly roll the spine up and open the shoulders at the top returning to Mountain Pose.
1. Step the right leg forward with the right knee bent, engage the legs to ground down through the feet. Use the arms to draw the torso back slightly. Make sure the right knee is directly over the right ankle.
2. Bring the hands to the hips and square the hips and the shoulders to the front wall. Relax the shoulders down and draw the shoulderblades towards the spine to open the chest.
3. Inhale, place arms over the head in a H position with the palms facing each other. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the chest lifted.
4. To go deeper, bring the palms together and carefully arch back and look up towards the ceiling.
5. Inhale deeply into the belly and chest, exhale, press into the feet, fingers and crown, feeling your body expanding out in 5 directions.
6. Keep breathing and hold for 3-6 breaths.
7. To release, exhale and step back into Mountain Pose. Repeat on the left leg.
If you enjoyed this brief intro to yoga, or are interested in getting back into yoga, we have NEW YOGA CLASSES, hosted by the wonderful Nikki Prell. Nikki is an experienced instructor, and will help guide you through YOUR Yoga Journey in a safe, welcoming, and non-judgmental atmosphere! All proceeds to Nikki’s “Mindful Movement Intro Class” benefit the PTSD Relief Project, a non-profit supporting Veterans and their families.
Stress is a part of daily life for most of us but the holidays tend to add a list of to dos that make stress more intense. Stress will always be present—but finding ways to manage it will make this time of year more pleasant. I challenge you to try a few of these tips to create a stress-free holiday!
First, try making sleep a priority. If you have difficulty relaxing at night, consider a tea, such as chamomile, to sip and alongside a warm bath. Keeping lights low a few hours before bedtime and either refraining from using devices, or wearing blue light-blocking glasses can be helpful for preparing the body for a restful night. Once in bed, sometimes the mind tends to keep us awake with holiday lists. Try to focus on breathing with one hand on the heart, and the other on the stomach. Sleep will allow the body to rest and repair from all the holiday excitement.
Second, meditation can be extremely beneficial to lower stress levels. Taking a few minutes to sit quietly, monitor breathing and tune into the body can make a huge difference in your resilience to stress. Many apps are available that make it easy to drop into an elevated mindset easily. My favorite is Headspace. I find that my day has drastically less stress when I begin with meditation. Also, meditating before attending social events, shopping trips or any other activities that create stress can do wonders for your nervous system.
Lastly, be aware of what is causing the stress and allow yourself to remove or consider removing any unwanted traditions/events you find overwhelming. Many times this is a difficult task. Acupuncture can help with stress and emotions that arise when you are faced with difficult challenges. There are numerous herbal remedies that are helpful as well. For stress that manifests as more wired than tired, a combination of rhodiola and schisandra work well. A combination of rhodiola and ginseng work well for stress that is more tired than wired. Both combinations are available through us from one of our favorite providers, Mediherb.
During this exciting close to the year, it can be very easy to allow stress to take over; but with a few simple modifications and awareness of your needs, this can be a joyful and exciting time.
益母草 yì mǔ cǎo
Latin name: Leonurus heterophyllus
This bountiful herb produces rings of beautiful purple and white flowers above a thistle-like knob. Up close, the tiny flowers are quite lovely, but the plants will quickly grow to 4+ feet tall. All of the aerial parts are used and traditionally harvested when in bloom with the flowers and all generally around the time of the summer solstice.
In Chinese Medicine terms, this herb enters the Heart, Liver and Bladder, and acts to promote circulation, dispel blood stasis, regulate the menses, reduce masses, promote urination and relieves swelling and edema. The central stalks are hollow and tube-like following the doctrine of signatures in which plants with that kind of shape are often associated with increased urination. Because of the blood moving action and how it stimulates oxytocin production, this herb is generally contraindicated during pregnancy, but it is used in several formulas for postpartum conditions including abdominal pain after childbirth, delayed menses, and helping to clear the uterus postpartum.
Its action in the heart is reflected in its effects on calming heart rhythm, increasing circulation to the coronary artery, and decreasing blood viscosity and platelet aggregation rates. It can help lower blood pressure, relieve muscle spasms and neuralgias through the ability to increase blood flow through peripheral tissues and allow for better nourishment of the muscles.
It can be safely used as a single herb for tonic purposes and is traditionally combined with Dang Gui to help with postpartum recovery. The flavor is mild, and I recently combined some of the fresh aerial parts with mint, Jiao Gu Lian (a tonic and adaptogenic herb) with a little honey to make a lovely stress-buster tea that was both tasty and effective. I like to think of this tea as my own personal potion for recovery after a stressful day.
What would you call a potion to drink after a day spent slaying dragons? (or a mountain of paperwork at the office!)
As a single herb extract, it can be helpful for headaches, insomnia, vertigo and circulatory paresthesias. Sounds like a great potion for clearing the mind after exposure to evil spells by dark wizards (or that long commute that left you frazzled!).
We will have a dried version of this tea available for sale along with some of the single herb extract. I am looking forward to seeing what other formulas we can incorporate this lovely herb into!
The seeds are also used but considered more astringent and cooling for excessive uterine bleeding or red, painful, swollen eyes. More about those at a later time, so stay tuned...