Yoga

Celebrate the Summer Solstice!

Happy Summer, Yoga Fam!  Summer solstice and International Yoga Day fell on the same day this year – super exciting and magical!  Leap into summer by meditating on how we throve off of the energy radiated by the sun.  Try the following sequence along with 5 rounds of each Surya Namaskar A & B (Half-sun salutation and full-sun salutation) to feel the warmth envelope your body & soul.  Maybe give meditation a try in combination with a sequence to deepen your connection with the sun, too!  If you are meditating, stand in Tadasana (Mountain) while facing the sun, or stay in ajaneyasana (low lunge) or Malasana (Garland; yogi squat).  Meditate for as little as 1 minute of as long as 30 minutes.  Bring your hands to heart center for several breaths to close meditation.

By the time you’ve finished, you’ll feel the energy of your inner sun radiating from your heart space.  Salute the sun (& yourself!)

Namaste,

xo

Yoga

Yoga for Healing

Welcome, followers !  All yogi/yoginis know about the main health benefits of practicing; mainly, reducing stress, stretching & strengthening all areas of our bodies, aligning our chakras (another blog post on this later) for starters.  Yoga is also known for easing the effects of trauma in our lives.  Many of us don’t live on or near a peaceful area, a park, or even a quiet backyard.  We might be used to the fast-paced city life, the loud noises, struggling with mental health issues, or reliving childhood trauma that continue to flood our minds.  Mental health (& trauma, for our purposes) go hand in hand with yoga.  When someone is consumed by trauma they may feel like they are constantly in fight or flight mode – they can’t calm down or relax, their breath is fast-paced, their mind is working in overdrive.  Everything around them may be so chaotic and there is never a way to find time for peace and quiet.

 

Yoga has been proven to reduce all of the effects that trauma has on one’s body.  Specifically, anger subsides, medication is needed and/or requested less often, self-esteem increases, and individual’s developed skills that could be used in stressful situations.  Being included in a yoga class also develops a sense of belonging, being accepted as you are, and gives students a strong sense of support even as they struggle which build trust.  Yoga is the perfect mind-body connection that addresses the effects of trauma.  During a yoga practice, breathing becomes regulated, calming the parasympathetic nervous system, while remaining present in our bodies counteract some of the dissociative effects of trauma. Of course a strong physical yoga practice improves overall health as well.

 

Depending on the type of trauma one has endured, the student can arrive to yoga feeling powerless.  Yoga is more about listening to your body, looking inside yourself to find out what your body and mind thrive on, and reflecting how our environment impacts our lives.  We all have the power to bring stillness into our daily lives.  During a traumatic experience, people may not be able to control the situation around them.  However, during a yoga practice, students have a choice in every movement they take.  They have the power to say ‘yes, I want a challenge,’ or ‘no, I don’t feel comfortable trying a headstand today’ or maybe the student doesn’t want to be physically adjusted in class by the instructor.  Yoga helps the student take control of their life again, to help them feel normalcy .  Even if  an individual has been struck by trauma, we can always take a step back and find stillness within the chaos.

Namaste.

xo

Yoga

What I Love This Month (well, and every month)

The Essentials of Essential Oils

Essential oils don’t just smell good.  They have uses ranging from easing headaches and colds, to yoga mat cleaners and numerous household uses.  First, a little background!  Essential oils contain compounds used by plants to prevent bugs from eating them and bacteria from growing on them.  Essential oils are highly concentrated amounts of plant extracts that have the ability to help humans repel pests, fight off infection, and many physical & mental benefits.  It takes pounds of plants to make only a couple of ounces of oil, so don’t have sticker shock when you see the price tag on a bottle of oil.  You don’t need a large amount of oil to reap the benefits.  A couple ways to tap into the therapeutic effects of an essential oil is massaging it into your skin, inhale it from the bottle, diffuse it throughout a room or drop it into a bath.

Curious about making your own ‘recipes’ using essential oils?? I’ve included some of my favorite recipes in addition to the health benefits of the essential oils within the ingredient list.  Keep 2 things in mind when experimenting with these blends.  First, store your blends in a dark or tinted glass bottle.  This will ensure your oils remain their freshest and most potent.  Second, if you need to use a plastic bottle, make sure it is BPA free so that your solutions don’t become contaminated with the toxin.  Enjoy!

Health Concern: Headaches

Recipe:

  • 6 drops lavender
  • 1 ounce fractionated coconut oil (AKA carrier oil.  Fractionated means that the oil does not leave your skin feeling wet/slippery; the oil sinks into your skin quickly, mixes quickly with other oils (like essential oils!) and feels more like water on your skin than a thick, cloudy oil you may cook with).

Put a small dab under your nose.  Inhale slowly and deeply.

Health Effects of lavender: 

  • soothes
  • calms
  • relaxes

 

Health Concern: Sore Muscles

Recipe:

  • 3 drops frankincense
  • 3 drops helichrysum
  • 3 drops rosemary
  • 1 ounce fractionated coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a dark, glass bottle or a roller bottle.  Keep this blend in your yoga bag to apply to sore muscles after your class.

Health Effects of essential oils:

  • Frankincense
    • reduces appearances of blemishes
    • rejuvenates skin
    • promotes relaxation and balances mood
  • Rosemary
    • Supports healthy respiratory function
    • healthy digestion
    • reduce tension and fatigue
  • Helichrysum
    • Reduce appearance of wrinkles
    • promotes healthy complexion
    • soothing effect on the mind & body
    • promote healthy metabolism

 

Health Concern: Stress Relief

Recipe:

  • 18 drops bergamont
  • 1/2 tablespoon fractionated coconut oil
  • 2 ounces sea salt

Combine ingredients and add mixture to a bath while you relax for 15 minutes or more.

Health Effects of bergamont:

  • Calming and soothing aroma
  • purifies skin

 

Household Applications

Yoga Mat Spray!

Recipe:

  • 48 drops tea tree oil
  • 48 drops lavender oil
  • 48 drops oregano
  • 4 ounces water

Combine ingredients in a dark, glass bottle and spray before or after each class.  Wipe clean with a dry towel.  Enjoy the scent of the oils the next time you practice!  NOTE:  Not all yoga mats are the same.  Spray a small amount of the mixture on a corner of your mat to ensure that no damage ensues.

Health Benefits of Oils

  • Oregano and tea tree oil: Antibacterial and antifungal
  • lavender: soothing

 

Household Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons lemon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon tea tree oil
  • 50/50 blend of water and white vinegar

Combine ingredients in a dark, glass bottle and use to clean various surfaces in your home.  Wipe clean with a dry towel.

Health Benefits of Oils:

  • Lemon:
    • antiseptic
    • elevates mood
    • soothes sore throat (add 1 drop to your tea!)
    • neutralizes odor
    • removes adhesives or greasy substances from fabric
  • Tea tree:
    • antimicrobial agent

I hope you give all of these recipes a try!  If you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

Here are some links to view/purchase the oils and products I’ve mentioned above.

Amber, glass spray bottles:  https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Amber-Glass-Spray-Bottle/dp/B00MU7R52M/ref=sr_1_4_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1496539681&sr=8-4&keywords=dark+glass+bottles

doTERRA Essential Oils:  https://doterra.com/US/en/pl/singleoils

Amber roller bottleshttps://www.amazon.com/Vivaplex-Amber-Bottles-Stainless-Roller/dp/B013SJMB10/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1496539910&sr=8-3&keywords=amber+glass+roller+bottles

 

Namaste,

xo