Yoga … it’s good for your health!

I received my 200 hour Yoga Instructor Certification in February of 2014. Yes, I do teach yoga, no, I don’t teach to the mainstream fitness community. There is a reason for this!

I teach very small classes, only four people at a time. My students are those that wouldn’t go to a yoga studio for a variety of different reasons. I understand why they don’t. I am no different then they are. As I’ve said before, I have Multiple Sclerosis. Balance has been a very big issue for me as well as problems with my hands. These are two things to have that are very helpful when you are practicing yoga.

My students are aware of my MS, I don’t advertise it, but I don’t hide it either. They know that there are nights that I will struggle just as hard to accomplish the tree as they are. Some nights, I can’t do it. Of course, that is because it’s at night and I’m not at my best in the evenings. I DO know how to instruct my students to do the yoga asana’s correctly so that they don’t injure themselves.

There is a comfortable essence to the classes that I teach. Each person in the class is aware that they don’t have to be a certain level or do things perfect. Sometimes in big classes, a feeling of conspicuousness comes up and that takes away from the experience of yoga. When the student is very comfortable at keeping their own pace, they do much better with the postures.

Yoga is an excellent way to learn how to move inside and leave the outside world behind. When you are worried about how you look, embarrassed because you feel over, did the posture wrong, or whatever enters your mind,  you are no longer inside, you’ve gone back outside. Learning to breath deeply and following the breath with your body helps to create a unification of mind and body. The postures require your complete focus to hold them. Ask any of my students that managed to hold the tree for the duration of the time how exhilarating it is to have done that … and they will tell you that they had their focus completely on the pose, the outside world and what the others were doing had disappeared.

I use essential oils during my classes to help bring a element of peace and healing to the classes as well. I’ve used lemongrass and cypress on my wrists daily for a few years now, between the yoga and the oils, my numbness is much, much better. My wrists are much stronger than they have been in years.

Yoga is a way to move into meditation. Learning to focus your mind and be present is part of yoga, and what is done in meditation as well. When I move into svasana at the end of the practice, I must say I am very good at putting all of the students into a space of healing and total relaxation. Some fall asleep, which is fine with me, but all feel the peacefulness that comes from their yoga practice.

No matter what is going on in your life, what physical level you are at, you can make yoga part of your healing process. Moving the body is a good thing, even if it’s very small movements, and we all start small. Some of us go back and forth between small and huge, it all depends on the flow of our lives.

No, I’m not your typical large studio instructor. I’m me, and I’m no different than you in my abilities. That being said, I can help you to improve your own physical and mental well being in a safe environment. If you are interested in signing up for a yoga class (again there are only four per class) you can do so through the scheduling link on my facebook page. Even if you don’t schedule with me, find a class that is comfortable to you, a place that you feel safe and encouraged, and begin your own yoga practice. You will not regret it!



I’m Working on my Health … are You?

I’m now finished with my third week of schooling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I have to say, I love it! I am learning so much and I’m also affirmations of several things that I’ve already added to my own personal belief system. I love synchronicity … a guest speaker for this week was Dr. Lissa Rankin. I enjoyed her talk very much, even more so that I was already reading her book “Mind over Medicine” before I even knew that she would be speaking! You body does have the ability to heal itself and if you haven’t read her book, I would highly recommend that you do!

20150120_145530(0)Our assignment of last week was to post a picture of our refrigerator in our facebook group. I admit to really wanting to go out and buy all of these healthy things and load up my refrigerator. I resisted that urge and took the picture as it was (I did clean it out first though!) and feel good about showing where I am on my journey to health at this moment in time.

This week we were to give up one unhealthy choice and add a new self-care treatment. This is to be done for one week, just a trial to see how we like it. I chose to give up coffee for the week. I am now on my third coffee free day and I am very pleased to report that I haven’t had any headaches at all! Maybe I wasn’t as addicted as I thought I was. I will probably keep up this particular practice. I pulled out the little hot shot beverage maker that my Mom bought for me when I was 18 (a very long time ago) and have it on my counter now for making my herbal teas. I have to smile each time that I make a new cup, it makes me think of Mom, a bonus of this new habit of mine.

For my new self-care I have done oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique. When swished around in your mouth, the antibacterial properties of oil pull out bacteria and fungus, inflammation, congestion, and even allergies.
It stops bad breath, bleeding gums, cavities, gingivitis, plaque, and sensitive teeth, and moistens the mouth, lips, and throat. It’s been an interesting experiment and I think that after this week, I will continue it as well!

What about you? Are you doing anything to improve your health? If not, what’s holding you back? Trust me, you are worth the effort and investment in you to be healthy. What not try something new today?

It’s the Little Steps Done Over Time ….

I’ve covered nutrition, circadian rhythms, and stress in the conversation on autoimmune disease. As we now know, healing from an autoimmune disease is a process that includes ALL areas of our life, it’s not a one size fits all and it’s a process.  Through science I have learned the one thing that all autoimmune diseases have in common is a leaky gut. Even those autoimmune diseases that effect the stomach had their beginnings in a leaky gut. In other words, our diet was a major part of a series of events that triggered the beginning of an autoimmune disease. Removing gluten from our diet will go a very long way in helping the lining of our gut to heal.

I have also learned that it is a combination of a genetic propensity for an autoimmune disease, a triggering event, and a leaky gut that lead to a diagnosis that most of us aren’t thrilled with. The good news is that we can make our quality of life much better is we commit to making a few changes. These changes are in all areas of our life and our motivation level to get better will be the measuring stick as to how much better we can get. It’s not easy to change habits of a lifetime, I know this first hand as I struggle with it myself on a daily basis. Cutting gluten from my diet has proven to be a challenge, but I am still moving forward as I know that it will be a major part of keeping my Multiple Sclerosis in total remission. I am no longer on any medication for MS, it’s been since December 17, 2012 that I went off my Copaxone, the last in a long line of medications since 1991. I have no intentions of going back on anything!

MS bike ride 01011A piece of the puzzle that I haven’t covered yet is that of exercise. Yes, we have to move! I understand that this is a challenge for a lot of people with autoimmune disease. It hurts to move, balance is non-existent, and things just don’t work the way that they are supposed to work. It’s hard to push when you hurt, I get that. I have to say though, the biggest changes on my journey with MS were when I began pushing my body to perform beyond what I thought it was capable of doing. I didn’t start running or riding the Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride at the beginning! It has taken me a very long time to get to the place that I am today. I had to learn to push through when things began to hurt as I realized that it was only in the first mile of running or the first 5 miles of riding my bike that the pain was the greatest. Once I warmed up things went much smoother, I just had to get to that point.

I highly encourage all those that are dealing with an autoimmune disease to read the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. In this book he explains why it’s the little things we do on a consistent basis, that make all the difference over time. There is a story in the book of a man named Al Lewis. He suffered a major stroke and was told that he would probably never walk again and he had lost the ability to speak. He didn’t accept that this was to be his lot in life. He began by moving his fingers, that was the best he could do. He didn’t miss a day and soon it was his hands and then his arms. Today he has no signs of ever having had a stroke, he is riding his bike and uses the eliptical trainer 30 minutes a day. In his words “I had faith throughout the entire rehabilitation process that if I could just improve .003 percent each day compounded over time, I would make a full recovery.” He did it and you can too!

This is another major component to your best quality of life. Little steps done over time create huge results. If you can walk, get up and walk around the living room, or maybe just walk across the room. Small things done over time. Slowly increase as you can, you will surprise yourself when you realize how far you’ve come in your own rehabilitation.

We were all born to live a life of peace and joy, this includes those of us that are currently dealing with an autoimmune disease. It does not have to control our life. There are ups and downs, but everyone has those at times, we learn to deal with them and then get right back on track. It’s easy to get off track and then never start back up again, I am here to encourage you to always begin again, you are worth it and you deserve to live life to it’s fullest.

Day One …

Today I started The Earth Diet 3 day cleanse. I promised myself that I would do this and if I don’t follow through, how can my body ever trust me to take care of it? It is an important part of getting healthy and healing, being able to trust yourself enough to know that you will follow through with the things that are healthy and good for you.

That being said, I didn’t have any coffee this morning and much to my surprise, I don’t have a headache! That’s a good sign, right? I started the day with “oil pulling”. Yes, you read that correctly.This is what is involved: First thing in the morning on an empty stomach you take 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and swish it around in your mouth for 15 – 20 minutes. You then spit it into the trash, rinse your mouth out with water. You are to drink lemon water the rest of the day to help clean out the toxins. That last part is easy for me as I have been drinking lemon water for a very long time. Instead of real lemons, I use doTERRA lemon essential oil (the oil comes from the rind, not the pulp) and at least that’s one GOOD habit that I already have.

Breakfast consisted of Beet Juice. Another interesting little tidbit to eat! It contains a beet, carrots, celery stalks, ginger (except I forgot to add the ginger) a red apple, and a lemon, rind and all. To that I added a clove of garlic and some kale. That all went into my nutribullet(TM) and a juice (sort of) was created. It was very fibrous, and had a unique taste to it. I am not a celery fan, so I think that maybe that is what I continued to taste for the next 2 hours! It is probably one of the healthiest, most fiber filled thing I’ve ever consumed in one meal!

So the day moved on and I snacked on an orange. I really wasn’t hungry, but I felt that I should eat something! I have found that I don’t get hungry often and there are days that I go without eating all day. That is something else I am working on, remembering to eat during the day so that I’m not starving by night time!

The Earth Diet BookLunch was a nice salad of cilantro, parsley, and avocado. It was dressed with lime juice. I love avocado, this was really pretty good! I am remembering to drink my water consistently so hopefully things will begin to flush through. Of course, I’m teaching a yoga class tomorrow night … maybe I don’t want them to flush through too strongly!

I AM looking forward to the ginger tea before going to bed. It should be soothing and help me to sleep.

Halfway through the first day and I have had all sorts of thoughts run through my mind! Most of them pertained to the ice cream sandwiches in my freezer! I made a promise to myself to begin eating better, this is the start. If I expect my clients to take their health into their own hands, then I can’t do anything different. Walk my talk and get a clear understanding of what it takes to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.

This one goal is a three day cleanse that might not make a big difference in my life, and then again it just might. The biggest difference it will make is the one of accomplishing a goal that I have set for myself.

I will keep you posted on how things are moving along!

An Apple a Day

This past week has been an interesting one for me. I’ve been working on my Ideal Life Vision and that process requires some in depth looking at myself. It’s been a week of ah-ha moments. I enjoy that. I am making progress towards my ideal life, it’s small steps, but it is still forward movement.

One change that I began last week was to eat an apple every day. I don’t eat enough fruit and apples are always available here in the Pacific Northwest, so an apple a day. It makes me smile every time that I eat one as I clearly hear Jim Rohn’s voice saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away, what if that were true? Shouldn’t you be eating an apple a day? It’s not Hershey Bar a day … no, not Hershey Bar, it’s an apple a day … not skip a bunch of days and then eat ten in one day. If it’s a minute to midnight and you haven’t eaten your apple yet, start munching away!” That isn’t exactly the way he said it, but it’s close. I enjoy listening to his CD’s in my car. He makes me laugh, but his wisdom and the ability to share it are amazing. So I started with an apple a day, so easy to do … and easy not to do. I am working on starting a new habit, I have two more weeks to go to get that habit down!

All to often in life we decide that we want to change and live a healthier life. We make huge adjustments to the food we eat, and then lapse back into our old habits the second day because it was too much to soon. We go to the gym and work out for hours, just once and then we are too sore to go back. Starting out too big to soon guarantees that we won’t have success. I highly recommend that everyone get the book, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. Start with the small things, the things that are easy to do, such as eat an apple a day, take a walk around the block, or start drinking more water. The problem with these small things is that they are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do.

It’s those easy things that you do consistently over time that bring about big changes in your life. Start too big and you will be so overwhelmed that you shut down and do nothing. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” as the quote by Lao-tuz goes. The original quote, which I like even better states “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” indicating that the beginning is in the stillness prior to actual movement of the feet. All journeys begin in the stillness, the place that we make the decision to move forward.

As I sit here and munch away on my apple, I challenge you to look at your own life and see where you might be able to make small changes that done consistently over time, would change your life dramatically. I believe that everyone should value their own health enough to stand in the stillness, make a decision and then take that first step.

Do You Know Your Why?

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about my “Why” lately. Why do I do the things I do, is my why clear, do I live true to my why, do I pass the “celery test”? I have discovered that it is very important for me to live within my “why” and for that to be the basis that I make all of my decisions on, both personal and professional. Without a “why”, everything else is just a confusing “what and how”.

I firmly believe that everyone was born with the ability to have a healthy, abundant life. Joy is a birthright, one that most of us start to lose as we grow up and the beliefs of the world start to set in. Part of my “why” is teaching people the tools to help them reclaim their birthright once again. My “why” is wrapped around this concept, that we were all born to live in Joy and happiness, that we can work our way through the things that have come to us during our lives and made our lives turn out to be unbearable. There are people that have been documented that lived their lives in Joy, even when they were living in a concentration camp. They found peace and happiness. I love this quote by Victor Frankel, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

All that I do is geared toward this “why”. I am a Reiki Master and Reiki helps my clients work through their emotional issues and helps them to heal. I am a yoga instructor and yoga brings people to that place of spirituality where they can start to let things go and learn to love themselves in the skin they are currently living in. I teach classes to help people learn to look into their own mirrors and work through their own demons that have taken a lifetime to create. I teach them the gift of the earth in essential oils so that they may be empowered in their own health. I teach them, that they are the ONLY ones that are in charge of their own lives. I can give them the tools, but they need to do the work. There is no other way.

The mind is a powerful thing, so is the heart. The mind can “think” all of the wonderful affirmations that it wants, but if the heart doesn’t feel the joy of the emotion behind it, it’s not going to work. Thoughts lead the emotion, most of the time. Negative thoughts bring about negative emotion, it’s so much easier to be negative than it is to be positive, why is that? To have your heart filled with joy is so much more rewarding, but why is it that the joy is so difficult to find? We are programmed through the news to be aghast at the atrocities that occur, heart warming stories don’t create ratings. We seem to be a world addicted to finding out every bad thing that happens, everywhere, and then spreading it out and around. What about the good things, the ones that bring joy? I think those are the ones that fit in with my “why” the best and those are the ones that I share.

I challenge you to find your “why” and then learn to live within those means. Find out if you pass the “celery test”. Oh, and you might ask what the celery test is … It’s in a book that I read by Simon Sinek “Start With Why”. As an example, if you knew that someone was a big proponent of a healthy lifestyle and it was their profession, what they based their company motto on and everything that they did, and you saw them in the grocery store with a cart filled with donuts, chips, and candy bars, would you continue to believe what they stand for? You might think twice about doing business with them as they are out of sync with their reason for being in business. On the other hand, if they were standing in line with a cart filled with celery, almond milk, and other assorted fresh vegetables, you would smile and think, they not only teach healthy living, they LIVE a healthy lifestyle.

So, does your “why” pass the celery test? I am making sure that mine does. I wish to be, in all instances, the person that helps my clients to their birthright once again. To help them learn to peel back the layers of the onion and live the life that they have every right to live. Be it Reiki, Angel classes, self empowerment classes, Yoga, EssentialYoga, essential oils, or just listening, I believe that I have a clear handle on my “why”. Find your “why” and then let your “what” and “how” follow it through.