"The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow & gain wisdom, first you must have the mud - the obstacles of life & its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying & death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness & more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus & open each petal one by one."
Before the invention of the chair, squatting was part of everyone's daily life.
Today, few people can squat without pain or injury. The YogAlign squat helps release tension in your hips & legs.
This is a pose that will tone your pelvic floor & abdominal organs & in particular, your bladder. In cultures where squatting is done every day, people stay flexible & aligned well into advanced age.
Prostate & colon cancer, knee & hip replacements, & osteoarthritis are rare in cultures that still squat. This pose also aids the digestive & elimination processes & brings a feeling of lightness to your body.
Unless you are a seasoned squatter with excellent knees, it is best to use a strap for support in this pose, to keep compression off your knees.
Place a strap around a post or tree, holding one end in each hand. Slowly drop into a squatting position, with arms straight & engaged strongly through your lats to your hips & into your trunk. Activate your shoulder blade muscles to keep the blades stabilised & your neck elongated. Position the strap just below shoulder level, & keep your feet slightly turned out. Stay on the balls of your feet as you slide back, pulling on the straps while you squat with a lift in your waist, curve in your lower back & your entire spine & skull in natural alignment.
For further details consult your local YogAlign teacher or check out Michaelle Edwards's book YogAlign - Pain-Free Yoga From Your Inner Core www.yogalign.com
If You're Not Eating This Food, You're Going To Have A Hard Time Getting in Shape
by Dr James DiNicolantonio 20 September 2017 mbg
There are five main factors that determine performance. Everyone knows the first factor, and that’s training. Whether we are hitting the gym to build muscle or running to improve our cardio, the first step is always going to be lacing up your sneakers and getting active.
The other four factors are less obvious. Those four factors determine how well you perform during a workout, marathon, or an athletic competition. They are:
What you may not know is that salt helps with each of those four factors—so much so that I’m proposing we consider it the sixth factor for achieving peak performance. Consuming more salt can even help to prevent overtraining, which may actually be caused by our tissues becoming depleted in salt. Consuming more salt improves those four factors by increasing water retention and vasodilating the arteries. When these two effects are combined, you are more hydrated, circulation and blood flow to muscles improves, sweat production increases (helping to keep you cool), and heart rate goes down.
How does salt help with hydration? you might wonder. Most tap or bottled water contains zero sodium, and this increases the risk of hyponatremia, or low sodium levels in the blood. Hyponatremia is a very common problem, especially among endurance athletes, and it can be fatal. We don’t just sweat out water; we sweat salt. We need to consume salt with our water if we want to reduce the risk of dehydration, cramps, and hyponatremia. Indeed, one study concluded that the primary cause of muscle cramps during exercise in warm weather was sodium deficit.
This makes biological sense. When your body works hard, you sweat. And when you sweat, you sweat out salt. Failing to replace the salt that is lost drains your tissues of salt, with wide-ranging negative effects on your ability to keep going. For example, salt depletion can lead to muscle cramping, dizziness, and fatigue, the exact opposite effects that you want during competition.
But wait—what about blood pressure? All of our health agencies, government bodies, and dietary guidelines tell us to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (or 1 teaspoon of salt) per day. The American Heart Association goes as far as telling Americans to consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Never mind that the average person loses around 1,200 mg of sodium per hour of exercise, with some individuals losing more than 2,000 mg of sodium per hour. And based on the above sodium losses, even if you are eating a normal sodium diet, if you are an avid exerciser you can still be at risk of salt deficit. It’s not hard to calculate how following the low-salt advice while exercising could lead to more harm than good, so you might want to think twice about holding the salt.
I’m often asked about whether consuming sports drinks gives us all the salt we need while we are exercising. The answer is a resounding no. Most sports drinks contain only around 300 mg of sodium per liter of fluid, four times less than the saltiness of our sweat (or around 1,200 mg of sodium per liter of sweat). The reason sports drinks are missing an extra 900 mg of sodium or so is because no one wants to drink something that tastes like sweat. It’s literally too salty, so the manufacturers of sports drinks simply leave that extra sodium out.
Closing that sodium gap is where you may find your competitive advantage. And dosing yourself with salt prior to and during exercise may be the best way to close that gap. The average person may lose about a half of a teaspoon of salt per hour of exercise in sweat. If the loss of salt through sweat is not replaced this may lead to symptoms such as exercise intolerance, muscle spasms and cramps, fatigue, elevated heart rate, dizziness, hypotension, heat stroke and even circulatory collapse. The average person may also lose about 50 mcg of iodine per hour of exercise in sweat (which is why I recommend Redmond Real Salt, which contains almost this exact amount of iodine per half teaspoonful of salt). Preventing the depletion of salt and iodine that occurs through sweating is a great strategy to help reduce the risk of overtraining syndrome and even potentially hypothyroidism. You can drink the salt, or simply put it on the food you eat before or after working out. While I lay out a more precise salt dosing regimen based on ambient temperature in my book, The Salt Fix, this is a good place to start.
By Dr James DiNicolantonio author of The Salt Fix
Article from mbg mindbodygreen
ps I have just started using Harker Wholefoods Celtic & New Zealand natural sea salt enriched with NZ deep water sea kelp. It has 84 known minerals & trace elements & naturally rich in iodine. No chemicals, additives or preservatives.
Join us for Michaelle Edward's two day YogAlign Workshop in Tauranga
If you are Open to Learning & Enthusiastic about Optimising Your Wellness this Workshop is for You
Date: Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd of December 2017
Venue: Ohauiti Settlers Hall, 459 Ohauiti Road, RD3, Tauranga, New Zealand
Normally I'm not one for detoxing as the body does an amazing job constantly! But after a fabulous holiday which included much over indulging I feel like I'm going to give my liver and other organs a helping hand to start the Spring Season with a little more vitality and energy.
I like the following guideline from MBG by Tiffany Cruikshank and decided that I would be more likely to follow through if I had a plan :)
After an inspiring evening from Dr Libby Weaver last night, I purchased her Bio Blends www.bioblends.co.nz Liver Love, and I shall use Welleco's www.welleco.com.au Alkalising Greens and Protein Powder and the Detoxify Tea Blend from www.wellingtonapothecary.co.nz. So modify the following plan from Tiffany Cruikshank www.yogaglo.com as you need to and join me! Take it away Tiffany ...
Below is my 7 day detox, I recommend reading it through and tweaking it a little to fit your lifestyle if you need to. Remember anything you do will be helpful but try to make a plan that you can stick to. The most important items I recommend are doing the smoothies, not eating after 7pm, trying to keep dinner smaller than breakfast & lunch and the Gymnema is key for the sugar cravings and balancing the blood sugar so you feel better in the process.
Veggies, fruit, nuts, water and plenty of fresh, organic, local produce
Sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, artificial sweeteners
Half your body weight in ounces daily
a piece of fruit & nuts, celery & almond butter, snap peas & nuts, rice crackers & hummus, plain rice cake with almond butter, steamed veggies & nuts, avocado with sea salt, even just a few nuts will do if you don’t have time to plan ahead
Liver-GI Detox by Pure Encapsulations 1 pill 3xs a day with meals/smoothies, Gymnema Sylvestre 400-1000mg 3xs a day with meals/smoothies (to help balance the blood sugar and eliminate sugar cravings), B complex 100 by NOW with lunch (for an energy boost)
3-6 times/week & meditate at least 10 minutes a day
The supplements, greens & protein powder above are available for purchase online, just Google them.
I love this detox because it is really simple (not easy) and if you’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook and prepare food this detox is for you. If you drink a lot of coffee take a week to ween off prior to the detox don’t just go cold turkey. The gymnema will help a lot with the food cravings & appetite and will help regulate the blood sugar so you feel better during the detox.
Since you won’t be spending as much time cooking or eating out, try to keep it simple and enjoy your down time even if it’s brief. Feel free to modify this detox as you need to (make it longer/shorter, easier/harder, etc), doing part of it is better than nothing at all.
When you’re finished you can continue on the day 1& 2 regimen as long as you like if you’re feeling good. I find that I get hooked on it and like to continue it this way for a while and maybe take a day off here and there to have a glass of wine from time to time.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. — Cree Proverb
In northern Ontario, near Hudson Bay, lies a remote, fly-in only Cree community with significantly lower rates of depression and suicide than other aboriginal communities in the area. In an effort to understand why this is so, a couple of researchers obtained grant funding, ventured into the area and asked the community members themselves. The findings of their study are published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
The researchers wanted to avoid the Western medical model of focusing on pathology, or illness, alone, so they chose to interpret the participants’ responses according to the “medicine wheel” of traditional healing. This wheel reflects the four dimensions of the self (mental health, physical health, emotional health and spiritual health) as equal parts of a larger whole.
Overall, the findings reveal that the community’s strength and resilience in all four of these areas of health are tied to the people’s spiritual openness, community engagement, shared parenting, and perhaps most notably—a very deep connection to the land and traditions. In fact, most striking to the researchers was the way in which a connection to the land was interwoven throughout all of their responses.
For example, the community members said that their practice of harvesting and hunting their own food provides them with several important benefits: healthy meals, physical exercise and a connection to Cree traditions and cultural practices. They also believe in the importance of benefiting from the entire animal with one respondent saying “when people just harvest this for the sake of the meat and throw away a lot of stuff…they’ve lost their culture totally.”
Seeing wild animals on a regular basis is another fantastic perk, and the land is open and free, allowing people to feel comfortable where they are. In what was perhaps a particularly telling response, one participant said that the community did not “administer social assistance” as it has the potential to make “people totally quit from living off the land.”
The land itself is considered a source of spiritual renewal and healing. The respondents spoke of having a way of life that is still in touch with the natural flow and rhythm of wildlife. A majority referred to their relationship with the earth as a spiritual connection: “when you’re there, it’s like your spirit, your mind, and your physical well-being – everything improves when you’re out there; it’s like you rejuvenate while you’re out there.”
Perhaps the rest of us can learn from these important findings as well and give us substantial food for thought: How disconnected do you feel from the land? Do you take long random walks in nature? Do you see animals on the regular? Do you garden—or at least know where your food comes from? If not, make an effort this week to forge a deeper connection to the earth. Perhaps you will notice a different state of mind—and even a little peace of mind.
Traci Pedersen is a professional freelance writer who specializes in psychology, science, health, and spiritual themes. Some of her most recent work includes covering the latest research news in science and psychology, writing science chapter books for elementary students, and developing teacher resource books. When she is not researching and writing, she is spending time with her family, reading anything and everything, and going to the beach as often as possible.
Most of the ‘breakdowns’ and chronic pain patterns in the human body occur in the joints. When you change alignment patterns, joints are no longer compressed and misaligned, so the real healing by the body itself can happen on a deep level.
Poor posture, chronic pain & tension are seen everywhere in the Western world, & sitting in chairs is the biggest reason why.
In the Western world, most people over the age of fifty have little suppleness to their spine, & lack freedom in their movement & breathing processes.This is because our lifestyle is built around sitting in positions that put our hips in a constant right angle to our legs. The L-shaped position taken during sitting causes compression of the spine & damages the spine's functional & supportive natural curves.
After years of being in these static, unnatural positions, our bodies develop bad posture, toughened connective tissue, compressed vertebrae & nerves, chronic pain, & arthritis. These right-angled positions also affect our breathing process - the expansion of our lungs, the contraction of our diaphragm, etc. The diaphragm weakens & the breath becomes shallow as we lose the connection to our deep core breathing & spinal muscles. Poor alignment also invites us to rely on our extremities for support, forcing muscles to perform unnatural functions. We begin to over engage our neck and upper back muscles, leading to ingrained (and unconscious) bad postural habits.
Sitting in chairs is unnatural, often uncomfortable, & is counter to our natural design. Over time, we begin to adapt patterns of movement & alignment that are not functional, sabotaging the ability to move & breathe from our centre. Our nervous system becomes imprinted with movement patterns & positions that waste precious energy, impeding our ability to be at ease in our body.
Unless you know how to reboot the brain's signals that direct the intricate posture & movements of your body, you are stuck with a less than optimal alignment on an innate & intrinsic level.
Contraction occurs when we have adopted habits or alignments that use muscles in ways in which they were not intended. To eliminate these habits, we must wake up parts of the body that are not doing their jobs & turn off muscles that contribute to poor posture habits. In YogAlign we focus on becoming aligned by teaching our bodies to do "less".
The process of yoga is about removing obstacles like excess muscle tension, or excessive worry. YogAlign is about creating a "sustainable body", the most energy-efficient body possible.
When we are misaligned, we waste our precious energy stores, sap our strength, compress our joints, compromise our organ function, & in the long run, develop a life of chronic aches & pains.
Our bodies are permeated by systems of connective tissue that align our body through a balanced, tensile force. By practicing safe & easy breathing exercises & positions, we can learn to work with this connective tissue to regain our fluidity.
Thomas Myers has more information here www.anatomytrains.com