Flexibility and Habits

I have been learning a lot about habit formation lately. It seems like it may be the key for me in putting my self-care and healthy habits front and center. Although, it may not seem to make sense, I am learning that some flexibility is required when creating habits. Let me explain what I mean.

A couple of the habits I am working on are daily meditation and daily physical activity. When it comes to my meditation practice, it has come along pretty easily, this time. Past attempts have not been as successful. I believe this to what I have learned about habit formation.

From my understanding there are 3 main parts to a habit. The trigger, the habit, and the reward. The trigger is the thing that lets your subconscious know it is time to do the habit. The reward is what you get for preforming the habit. When it comes to my meditation habit, my trigger is when I wake up in the morning. I go to my designated meditation space, light my meditation candle (a reward) and mediate for 20 minutes. At the end of my mediation, I track my mediation in my Adidas running app. (Side note: I love this app, it will track all kinds of activities and allows for live tracking as well as manual entries.) Tracking my meditation in the app is my reward. From what I have learned instant rewards are best. If we have to wait too long for a reward our brains won’t associate them with the habit.

So where does flexibility fit in? In order to create a habit you must do it consistently. I can’t say, “I don’t feel well” or “conditions are not perfect”, I have to find a way to get it done. For example: when I travel for work, I do not have my designated space or my candle with me. I have to allow for flexibility in my practice. I meditate with out theses things.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs I am working towards running a 5k. I am using the C25K app from Zenlabs. I love this app! It works great. I prefer to run outside. The fresh air and beautiful scenery are a part of my reward for running. This past week it has been cold and icy. I have severe osteoporosis and can’t afford to slip and fall on the ice. This past week I had to do my running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill and running outside are not even close to the same experience. I am dedicated to creating a habit of daily activity and training towards the more far off reward of running a 5k again. I have to allow for the flexibility of running inside on a treadmill some days.

Another thing I have learned about habits, is that they are easier when stacked, habit on top on habit. For example: trigger – I wake up, habit – mediation, habit – run or yoga, habit – shower, habit – brush teeth, and then it is time to go to work. By stacking habits I am gaining momentum from things that I am doing anyway. When I choose a hike as my daily activity, I can’t get that done in the morning before work. It has to wait till the workday is done. I can not benefit from my morning habit stack. In this way, I must also allow for flexibility that on the days I am going to hike, it will not happen at the same time as my running or yoga will.

What healthy or self-care activities would you like to add to your life? What existing habits could you stack them onto? Where can you see the need for flexibility and grace in you habit formation? What will you choose as rewards?

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you develop many helpful habits that support you taking care of yourself.

Books to learn more about habit formation:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan

Hello Habits by Fumio Sasaki


Meditation “Practice”

For years I have been attempting to perfect my meditation practice. I have tried several different types of mediation: Buddhist, Kundalini, walking, guided, yoga Nidra, etc. After all of these I have still felt like an amateur when I sit on my cushion. This morning I realized, it is “practice”. I don’t have to be perfect at it. There are days when I sit on my cushion and the 20 minutes passes easily with myself in the zone. There are other days when I check my timer, twice, sure I must have forgotten to start it. Some days I sit and spend the whole 20 minute thinking. Other days I am listening to the sounds in the house. It does not have to be perfect to be beneficial. I just have to keep practicing.

Some of the helpful things I have learned about mediation are:

  • We only get upset at noises we think we should be able to control. We don’t get upset at birds or wind, but family members or our pets, we think should stay quiet for us. Meditation is about being able to still quiet our mind despite someone doing the dishes, watching TV, or barking at the delivery driver.
  • The mind will think, that is what it does. It is not my job to stop it from thinking but rather to notice that it is thinking. Meditation helps us be aware of how our mind works and to notice what it is doing. By practicing with it, in a calm environment, we better understand it and can notice what it is doing in stressful situations.
  • Giving the mind something to do can help you meditate. Kundalini meditations, involve chanting mantras and sometimes performing certain movements. This can be very helpful because the mind is busy focusing on the mantra and/or the movement. It allows you to get to the mediative space.
  • No one is good at mediation when they first start doing it. It takes practice and commitment. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  • For all the imperfect meditations I have, the ones that work are worth all the ones that don’t.
  • You have to find the mediation that is right for you. I have had amazing experiences with many different types of mediation but my favorite is sitting silent mediation. It is not necessarily the easiest but it is the one that I have the riches experiences with.
  • There are many layers to your mind. I have identified a thinker, a narrater (who thinks they have to tell me what I am doing and what I am thinking like I am not there experiencing it), there is a watcher, a judge (who scold when it thinks I am not doing it right), and back behind all these other layers, somewhere deep within, is me.
  • Making a nonnegotiable habit makes it much easier. I get up in the morning and I mediate for 20 minutes every day. There is no option to do it later. When I get up, it is time. I go and sit.
  • I feel more ground, connected, and at peace now that I have established a meditative practice.
  • Meditating daily helps with other commitments. I know that a temptation will pass and am better able to stick to my other self-care initiatives.

If you have ever considered doing mediation, do it! It is worth it. Be gentle with yourself. Practice is practice. Anything else you were practicing you would not expect yourself to be perfect. Let meditation have the same grace. Notice that the mind is thinking and come back to your breath, your mantra, or focusing on the flicker of a candle flame. Be willing to experiment with different types of mediation till you find the one that works for you. Wether you have a deep experience during mediation, you find it easier to pass on the candy bowl, or you notice how you are reacting in a stressful situation, you will know that the effort of your practice has been worth it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find the perfect way to make meditation a beautiful part of your self-care practices. You are worth it.

Other blogs on Meditation:

9 Ways to Improve Mediation

Mediations: A Beautiful Experience

7 Mediation Myths

11 Types of Meditation

There is an App for That: A review of Mediation Apps

2020: The Year of Health

I may sound cliche to start the new year focused on health and it certainly is not new for me, but it is different this time. Let me tell you why.

In the past my focus was to loose weight. I would make a New Year’s resolution to exercise and get thin but the motivation was really vanity. I didn’t understand how powerful mind, body and spirit wellness was back then. The resolution would last 2, maybe 3 months and then I would fade back into my old patterns of behavior. Today I no longer make resolutions; instead I make a list of new year’s manifestations. These manifestation can be anything I want to come into my life in the new year. I decided 2020 would be a year of health.

My year of health manifestation list has a lofty number of health related items I want to enhance my life. They are mind, body, and spirit related, for one cannot successfully be well without balance in all these areas.

It is day 4 in my year of health and I already feel a shift in my mood. I find myself making healthy decisions and I keep slowly incorporating items to bring about overall wellness.

On Jan 1st, I started the day hungover from a New Year’s Eve party I attended. I find this very embarrassing to admit to. So, my first healthy initiatives were to give up alcohol and sugar. Next I went back to intermittent fasting. This is an eating strategy that limits the time you can eat during the day. It has many health benefits but my primary use of it is weight loss. I have gained about 30 pounds in the last 4 years and it is affecting my energy level and ability to do things. Losing weight is not about vanity for me this time. It is about being comfortable hiking, having the energy to kayak and reclaiming my connection with my body as a divine being.

Then I decided to start tracking what I eat. This is about mindfulness. So now I know what I am putting into my body and why. I am using the “My Fitness Pal” app to do so; although there are so many apps that can help you with it. I have anemia, so it helps me track my iron intake, something that is important for me as a pescatarian. I also find that tracking what I eat, makes me less likely to do the mindless noshing that can occur when I am bored.

Yesterday I decided to start drinking 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water. I feel this is helping purify my body from all the toxic things I have put into her in the past. Also, yesterday I recommitted to moving my body. Getting at least 10,000 steps a day. I even started running a little again. I plan to improve my fitness condition in order to participate in 5K events. I really enjoyed these in the past. My daughter, Liz, and I have also done a couple 1/2 marathons together and we are toying with the idea of committing to do another one of these.

Today I am starting on my commitment of “52 Hikes” during 2020. I have seen others make a commitment to this in the past, but never got on board because of the frozen tundra where I live. I know I feel better when I get outside and be “in” nature, so this is another part of the mind and spirit commitment for me.

My husband and I continue our pursuit towards financial wellness. Yoga and meditation are on my list of items to incorporate. I find that adding (a little) something new daily is helping me stay motivated and not feel overwhelmed. I’m just slowly incorporating, the items I want, into my year of wellness.

I know it is only day 4 but I already feel clearer and  more upbeat. I am more connected with my body and the aches and pains are starting to subside. I have lost 4 pounds and even reclaimed my right to be a runner.

Would you like to join me on my journey into the year of health?

Come along! It won’t always be easy but it will be totally worth it!

I love you! May your year bring you every happiness.

Making Time for Your Priorities: 6 questions to ask yourself

What are the things that are most important to you? What are the things in life that you wish you had more time for? Life is so full of the push and pull to do various things, that finding balance amongst all of these, is one of the challenges we all face. I used to look at people who were retired, or didn’t work for one reason or another, and thought they must have it made. They have all the time they need to do whatever they want. As I have paid more attention to this perceived abundance of theirs; it seems not having a job does not mean that there is plenty of time to do it all. These people are still very busy and vocalize having a lot on their plate to get accomplished.

So, I had a couple thoughts about priorities during a meditation this week.

The other morning, as I sat in meditation and my husband scurried around cleaning up the kitchen, it struck me that we make time for the things that are priorities in our life. If we feel that there is no time for our priorities, we need to take a look at our life and see how we are really spending our time. What things have crept into our life that are not priorities, but we just treat them as if they are? I am blessed to have a husband who shares the household duties with me.  He never suggests that I am not carrying my fair share of the load or that I should be doing more and this helps allow for more time. Working a full-time job, that often requires more than full time hours and almost weekly travel, makes the time to pursue things like blogging, planning retreats, offering classes, sharing inspiration, and my own personal development quite sparse. I have changed things in my life to be able to have time for the things I feel are priorities. Here are some things to ask yourself. I have and continue to reevaluate these as life marches on.

  1. Where does time go? By looking at how we spend time, it is possible to find some extra space in the day to do more. Things that steal time for me are playing games on my phone, procrastination (where I stay busy to avoid something else) and the occasionally TV binge.
  2. Is it really important? About 25 years ago, I made a conscious decision that the TV would not be in the main room of the house. When there it steals our time. It is easy to fall into the trap of coming home and plunking down in front of it. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of really great things to watch on TV. Just be mindful about what you are watching and how much of your time it is truly taking. Is it really the priority? Our Tv (at home) is in a family room in the basement. So that it is not in the center of attention when meals and conversations are had.
  3. Is there another way to accomplish it? We all know that living in a sanitary way is important for health. I am not a germaphobe and my house does not have to be perfect, but It does need to be tidy. Also, according to Feng Shui, a cluttered environment causes a cluttered mind. Your space needs to be a priority, but maybe you make a chore list to share with others in your house? Can you hire a housekeeper? Are there efficiencies you can add like cleaning the shower as you get out of it in the morning once a week? We have worked out a trade deal with one daughter so she comes and cleans our house in exchange for us helping her with things she needs. Be creative!
  4. Is there times when you can multitask? I love audio books! I listen to them while I commute, exercise, cook, etc. It is a nice way to fit in some learning or self development while doing other things that I have to accomplish anyway.
  5. Could you start your day differently? I am a morning person and getting up early to get things done, before the demands for the day start closing in, works well for me. Even if you are not a morning person, is there a way you can make a morning routine more supportive of the things you want to be priorities in your life? I recently started daily meditation again as well as another 40 day yoga practice. I have found that if I get up a little earlier in the morning I have time to meditate, do my yoga, and often even blog, before I have to go to work. Having this routine has been very positive for me feeling more centered and finding balance in my life.
  6. Check your attitude. How is your mood or your tude? In March, I had a tough month. I couldn’t seem to find the energy or desire to blog or commit to other healthy habits. I was eating poorly, vegging out in front of the TV, and I was uncharacteristically crabby. Then I started “shoulding” all over myself, which made it worse. I felt guilty for the choices I was making but yet I seemed incapable of changing them that month. On April 1st, I decided enough was enough. I made intentional changes to take control of my life again. I got my diet back into check, stopped the sugar and restarted intermittent fasting. I stopped zoning out in front of the TV. I started the daily meditation and the 40 day yoga practice. My mood shifted the first day. It is very empowering to take control of your life.

I hope these questions will help you to make your priorities, priorities. Remember that you are a priority and not to give all of yourself away. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you will have what you need to be there for the others you hold dear.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your priorities fall into place, as if by magic.

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Healing; How To Choose the Right Modality.

There are many different types of healing modalities. At a recent group meeting we discussed the benefits of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping. Along with Acupuncture, and various supplements. All of which have been shown to provide miraculous healing. There are many others out there as well. Reiki, Yoga, Mindfulness, Pranic Healing, Sound Therapy, Essential Oils, Massage, Hypnotherapy, Nutrition, Affirmations, Shamanism, Crystals, and the list goes on and on. So, how do you know which one is the right choice for you? How is it possible to know you will get what you need from a particular healer?

I have been heard to say I believe in everything. Which is not all together true. I am also a great big sceptic in many ways. I do not trust easily, despite the fact that I try and see the good in all people. The truth of the matter is this; none of these healers are actually healing you. They are not. The healing occurs within you. Your body, your mind, your spirit has the power to heal itself. Let me say that again. Your body, your mind and your spirit have the power to heal your body and your life. I am still 100% in favor of getting these other healing modalities and that may sound confusing, since I just told you you can heal yourself.

This is because, sometimes, we just need a little help. Sometimes our bodies need a little urging. Sometimes we are like Dumbo andneed to hold the feather to believe we can fly. These holistic modalities can be beautiful ways to unlock the power that is within our bodies. They can help us move past blockages and get the energy flowing. Many are ancient and have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. Others are newer but are based on the more ancient traditions and philosophies. Quantum Physics is opening up a whole new realm of understanding.

Many people are skeptical of these modalities but there is research out there that showsscientifically that many of these modalities have proven positive results. These skeptics can look at the science and tell you it is just the placebo effect because the people in the study believe they are going to get better so they do. So, lets look at the placebo effect. According toDictionary.com a placebo effect is, “A beneficial effect in a patient following a particular treatment that arises from the patient’s expectations concerning the treatment rather than from the treatment itself.” So basically the person gets better because they believe they will get better. In studies on medications, a number of test subjects are considered the “control group” they get the sugar pill instead of the actual medication. Science accounts for a certain number of the control group having a placebo effect. 

Dumbo’s feather or placebo effect or holistic healing. It is all unlocking the power we have to heal ourselves. I totally believe in holistic healing experiences. I have used EFT to relieve a headache and a stiff neck. Energy Healing helps me relax and I feel centered and grounded once it is over. Acupuncture releases blocks and relieves pain like little else I have tried. These things do work but they work because they allow my body, mind, and spirit to do what it is fully capable of. These holistic modalities facilitate our bodies innate ability to heal itself.

Do I suggest any of these modalities to others. Yes. Which ones you may want to know? I suggest you follow your internal compass. Choose the healing modality that you feel drawn too. Others may try and steer you toward the one that was beneficial for them, but it is important that you listen to your own wisdom. Your soul knows what will best help you. Even if a certain modality was not helpful to your friend, it can still be extremely powerful for you.  Trust yourself.

No matter what modality you decide to use, all of the power exists within you. You are all powerful. You have the ability to do miraculous things. You have Divinity within you. Believe in the possibility that you can feel better. Believe that good health can be in your future. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the health that you are seeking, as if by magic.

*Photo taken at Castle Bled in Slovenia.

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A 40 Day Practice

Kundalini Yogis love their multi-day practices. Some commit to a 40 day practice but others commit to 90, 120, or even 1000 days. 1000 days equals 2.7 years and if you miss a single day of practice, you have to start over at day 1. Wow, what a great motivator to not miss a day! Especially once you get a ways into it. When I did my teacher training in Kundalini Yoga, I did a 40 day practice. That was a number of years ago and I do not remember a lot about it; other than really committing to myself seemed to be the hardest part. I now feel compelled to again do another 40 day practice.

During our retreat we did a very motivational YouTube video of Nahbi Kriya. I had already been feeling drawn to start a 40 day practice of this yoga set, so when we did it together that Friday night on the boat, I knew I had to keep going. Emy and I decided we’d both commit to a 40 day practice. We text each other each day as we check off completing our practice for the day. Tonight I completed day #12 and that puts me a little over 1/4 of the way to the finish line. According to 3HO, a 40 day practice, “Will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra”.

There are days that seem more difficult and some days when it takes every ounce of my strength to begin again. The thought of having to start over at day 1 again though,  gets me onto my mat and fulfilling my commitment to myself. I have learned some things along the way already, and one is that I am a driven person. I am not good at sitting and resting. I always want to get to the goal as quickly as possible. As I reflect on the 40 day commitment, I realize that I can’t rush this. 40 days is 40 days! I can’t do it 2 or 3 times today to get to the goal sooner. I have to commit to myself and complete each day and then patiently wait for the arrival of the next day.

Another thing I have learned, along the way, is about my nature to attempt to be perfect. My form is not always going to be perfect. Some days my practice is going to be better than others. Some days I will have time to do the full 45 minute versos and other mornings where I am needing to get to the airport; so the 25 minute version may just have to do. I have to trust that adjusting the practice to fit my life, while still maintaining the commitment to myself, is okay. I know that even if today’s best is not the same as my personal best or someone else best, that it is still okay.

Tonight’s practice was done surrounded by family. The grandchildren and a couple of the adults joined me. It was not as peaceful and meditative as it usually is when I perform it in my hotel room; with the toddler was bopping around from person to person, but tonight it was filled with joyous energy and love. Tonight I learned that I can keep commitments to myself even while spending time with those I love.

What commitments would you like to make to yourself? How would you see this taking place in your life? What do you think you might learn from it?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with fulfilled commitments to yourself, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken on New Smyrna Beach

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Finding a Connection

Whether you use the word God, Universe, Creator, Spirit, or some other term we are all talking about the same thing, that force of life that is in all of us, that guiding force that lets us know there is something greater than ourselves that we are part of that. It is not something separate but something that connects us. For me, it is important to feel this connection. That does not happen by going through my mundane life, plodding along and checking the boxes. It takes an effort on my part to attend events, connect with others on the same spiritual path, and go to locations where I can feel that connection. This weekend I had just this sort of event on my calendar, because a friend had reached out and asked me to attend with her. I am so glad she did. It was an amazingly moving event that inspired us and left us fulfilled.

On Saturday night we went to a Kirtan. What is Kirtan? According to Courtney Amundson and Chi Johnson (the people lead the Kirtan we attended) “Kirtan, also called Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of devotion), is an ancient practice that stems from India. The call-and-response nature of Kirtan involves both performers and audience, setting a unique and sacred space that quiets the mind, reduces stress, and awakens your spirit within. Kirtan is open to all people, regardless of spiritual or religious beliefs!”  It was held in a beautiful space. A yoga studio in the lower level of the Compass Center in Stillwater, MN. The people in attendance ranged from an infant to seniors. Some people sat on the floor and others in chairs. The music was beautiful. The voices, raised together in song, created a beautifully energetic connection between all in attendance.

The music moved my body. As I sat on my yoga mat, I could not help but feel my body swaying in response the rhythms that filled the room. My voice raised signing/chanting the response to the call from the facilitators. I do not feel I have a gift for singing nor do it in public, but on this night, my voice would not be silent. I was a part of the communal energy. The vibration that resonated through the studio. The 3 month old infant was mesmerized by the music and her tiny foot also moved in response. The beauty of this experience even moved some to tears. When I had entered the room, my neck was tight, full of knots, and uncomfortable. It had been a harried day of trying to get projects completed, readying for the arrival of winter, and keeping promises to friends. I walked into this beautiful room, stressed from rushing about and with a headache. As the music and the voices were raised, as I was picked up within the loving, supportive vibrations and everything changed. The stress dropped away. The knots in my neck seemed to melt and released. The headache disappeared. I felt renewed. I felt energized. I felt connected.

I am grateful that my friend reached out to share this experience with us. I am blessed to have a husband who will try new things and is open to attending events like this with me. My life is magical. This spiritual adventure was one of the many blessings that flow into it everyday.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with events that fill your cup in whatever way you need, as if by magic.

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12 Holistic Treatments for Sciatica and Back Pain

People who are experiencing back pain (or sciatica pain) often feel the enjoyment of their life is dimmed by this chronic pain they live with, on a day to day basis. Here are somethings that can be tried to combat this type of pain and help restore the joy to your life. Some of these can provide lasting relief and others can help with momentary relief of especially severe pain.  The goal of all of these is comfort and being able to live the life of your dreams. 

  1. Guided imagery – This can be done via watching a YouTube video or though use of facilitators/hypnotherapist who do a lovely job specific to your needs. I have used this technique, in the past, with my hospice patients and it provided a break from chronic pain for them. 
  2. Progressive relaxation – As a yoga instructor; I have used this technique with my classes, as well as with hospice and even stressed staff members at work. It is a way of starting, at a spot in the body, then progressively relaxing the muscles until they are all relaxed. Tight muscles increase pain so deep relaxation can provide relief, if even for a little while. This too can be accomplished either via a live facilitator or a YouTube video. 
  3. Yoga – Many years of practice and research have shown that yoga is a very effective method of relieving back pain. It provides some nice stretching as well as strengthening. All of this and we have not even talked about the centering quality of yoga. I personally love Kundalini Yoga, but there are many different types. There are even chair yoga classes and again (you guessed it) YouTube videos. If getting onto the floor or standing is not an option for you. 
  4. Turmeric – This amazing root provides us with a natural anti-inflammatory effect that is very beneficial when dealing with these types of pain. I, because of my medical history, cannot take medications such as  Ibuprofen and Aspirin. So Turmeric is my goto for inflammation relief. 
  5. Frankincense Essential Oil – This essential oil is like magic! I think it can and does truly work miracles. If you follow my blog, you probably notice I recommend it for a wide variety of discomforts. Rubbing it on the bottom of the feet can totally resolve Sciatica and back pain. It is worth a shot, even if you think it seems a little to alternative for you. Plus you get the added bonus that you will smell great! 
  6. Acupuncture – You have probably heard me speak of the benefits of acupuncture in the past. Amazing! I wrote an earlier blog called Acupuncture; Have You Tried It?, Here’s the link if you’d like to read and learn more. It is what I lovingly refer to as the “Big Guns”. It helps the energetic flow in your body return to a healthy state as well as increasing the blood circulation to injured areas. 
  7. Arnica – This is a homeopathic remedy. It is deleted to the point where no actual molecules remain and works via the energetic properties of the plant. Arnica is great for pain and comes in tablets (that dissolve under the tongue), gels, or lotions. 
  8. Tai Chi – You have seen the people in the parks practicing their slow, in-synch movements. This is another way to have the energy of your own body doing the healing. It unlocks ancient secrets to allow the energy to better align within your yourself effecting relief.
  9. Cold Packs – I find that ice packs can be a bit much for me. So I have a cherry pit pack that lives in my freezer at all times. It is a nice gentle cold pack and the cherry pits easily mold to fit my body.  Want to make your own? The easiest way is to take a sock and fill it with dry beans, rice, dry corn, or cherry pits (if you happen to have some of those dried and laying around) then sew it shut and throw it in the freezer. 
  10. Cherries – I read, somewhere recently, that cherries have a pain relief property to them. I have not tried this or known anyone who has, but thought I would mention it anyway. 
  11. Louis L Hay’s Affirmations – Louis wrote a book called Heal your body A-Z. She believed that all “disease” in the body was created from negative emotions and belief patterns. So she created positive affirmations or new thought patterns to replace the ones causing us trouble. The one for Sciatica is, “I move into my greater good, my good is everywhere and I am secure and safe”. There are others for back pain depending on where in the back it is located. I have used and recommended Louis’s affirmations many times over the years. They really work. You can put them on sticky notes, where you will run into them during the day and say them out loud or to yourself.
  12. CBD – This last suggestion has been shown to provide amazing benefits. I myself have had it used on me and found my pain relieved. It comes from the Cannibis plant or Hemp. This has caused some controversy around its use. It does not contain THC, the substance that makes people high. For more information follow this link. I have found that it is being more widely used by massage therapist, acupuncturist, and other healers recently. 

Well there you go! There are a dozen ideas to try for your or your loved one’s back or sciatica pain. I would encourage you to try several of them so you can find the ones that are the right fit for you. Also, if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t give up. Be willing to give it another try. You may find it works on you after all.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of comfort, as if by magic.

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Coon Dee What Eee Yoga? ~ A short description of Kundalini Yoga

Have you heard of Kundalini Yoga? It is very different from other yoga you may have tried. I recommend that you give it a shot even if you think you don’t like yoga. I stumbled upon it many years ago and took my first class in the teacher’s backyard with one other student. I was hooked immediately. I have since continued to practice it off and on and even became a certified teacher.  I love it that much!

Kundalini Yoga started in the 60’s when a Guru named Yogi Bhajan saw the kids using psychedelics. He started teaching, this yoga, that could give them the same experiences without the danger and bad effects of drugs. There is still a striving Kundalini Yoga community of really remarkable people. There is even research studies done on the positive and healing effects of Kundalini Yoga.

Things are different when you step into a Kundalini yoga class. First off, the teacher will likely be dressed in all white and have their head covered in some way. We dress in all white to expand our radiance. I always feel radiant in my Kundalini whites and I love wearing them. The head cover is to protect us from all the energies. There is no need for students to wear white or cover their head but, of course, you can if you so choose.

The class has six main parts

1. Tuning In – This is a chant that connects us into the Kundalini ancestry. It is short and you are     welcome to just listen if you are not comfortable with it at first.

2. Warm up – This gets your blood and muscles moving.

3. The Kryia – This is the yoga set. Kundalini yoga is often a lot of movement during the Kryia. Each Kryia is unique in how many exercises and how long they last. Some are done completely while sitting. Each one is different and for different reasons. They are all purposeful!

4. Relaxation – During this part you lay on your back. Often a gong is used and the sound of creation washes over you while you lay peacefully. I love the gong. It is a powerful part of the class. Sometime the relaxation maybe done without the gong.

5. Mediation – Each mediation is different. Some are quiet and some are chanting. Some are still while others include movement. All are powerful. I have had entire children’s books download into my consciousness while in Kundalini Meditation.

6. The Long Time Sunshine Song – is sung. It is either sung 2-3 times through. It is short but powerful. I especially enjoy doing it three times through; with the first time being to yourself, the second sent to someone you love and the third sent out to the world.

Now that you know the basis of what to expect in a Kundalini class, I hope that you will give it a try. The purpose is to move the Kundalini energy up your spine and connect you to your source or God. It is not a religion but a spiritual practice. When I do it I feel calmer, more centered and inspired. It helps me be the best version of myself.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish for you a lifetime of finding your own centering practice that helps you feel your best today and always. I love you!

9 Way to Improve Back Pain

Many people suffer from back pain. For some it is a chronic condition; for others, it is an occasional occurrence after a strenuous day or twisting the wrong way. It can be debilitating and western medicine does not always have the answers. There are many holistic options to treat back pain that are surely worth a shot as an alternative to narcotics, living with pain, or considering surgery. Here are some of my favorites. 

  1. Frankincense essential oil – I love this essential oil for so many things. Rubbing it on the bottom of your feet can provide miraculous relief from chronic back pain. 
  2. Ice – When I first started having back pain I always went to heat. Ice seemed intolerable. Once I tried ice, I knew I would never go back to heat. The problem with heat is that it increases blood flow into and out of the area. This can cause the inflammation in the area to become worse. Ice decreases swelling. It has made such a difference for me. At the first indication of any back pain I am reaching for the ice pack. Just remember not longer than 20 minutes.
  3. Yoga – The stretching and various poses Yoga has to offer can be great for back pain. There are Yoga kriyas or sets that are specifically formulated for back health. They help get the spinal cord moving, can help compress excess fluid out of the disks, and stretch bunched up muscles. Plus the meditative aspects of Yoga can help to provide over all calming, which can relax those tight muscle in the back. 
  4. Massage – Knots and tight muscles can cause a lot of discomfort in the back and the skills of a massage therapist can really work them out and help provide relief from the pain. 
  5. Acupuncture– If you have never tried this, I highly suggest it! I find it so relaxing. I know that sounds crazy but it provides a sense of calm I do not get from other modalities. The needles help increase circulation and chi to the areas of pain. I am not an acupuncturist but I am sure someone with the qualification could explain this better than I can. I know it works for my back pain. 
  6. Chiropractic – There are many different times of chiropractors out there. If you chose to seek this treatment, do your homework and ask questions. One type of Chiropractor may not be right for you while another may be very beneficial. Some Chiropractors use a tool called an “activator” while others uses their bodies to adjust yours and still others have tables that help to make the adjustments. There are also Chiropractors who work more energetically and with your breath. 
  7. Mantras – Louis L Hay felt that our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves cause the illness in our body. In her book, Heal Your Body A-Z, she has mantras for upper, middle, or lower back pain. This is another thing I have done to find my bodies own ability to heal itself. It is something you can try that won’t break the bank and puts the trust in your own body to heal itself. “I trust in the process of life. All I need is taken care of. I am safe.” is her mantra for lower back pain. For other types of back pain, check out her book. 
  8. Strengthen your core – There are lots of ways to do this. Crunches is one that we hear about a lot but there are many resources or personnel trainers out there who could help you with this. A stronger core means there are more muscle to help your back hold you up. 
  9. Turmeric– It helps reduce inflammation.  When I was doing my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training it was strenuous, with back to back days of full day yoga instruction. One blessed yogi would bring us golden milk to help our sore bodies. Golden milk is almond milk, Turmeric, and Honey. The anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric helped us get through the growing we were doing physically, while our mind and spirits continued to be enhanced but the yoga. 

I hope you are able to give some of these a try. I hope that they are beneficial to you. If you have other tips for people suffering from back pain please share. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a day filled with flexibility and ease.

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