Rolling your head around and toward the back of your neck may be in your regular movement practice (and feel good), however, there are some risks to be aware of. Dropping the head back increases the risk of vertebral damage and stroke. There have been reports of injury in cervical hyperextension including joint damage, impaired blood flow, and stroke. Be especially mindful during salon hair washing as the neck is in this vulnerable position. The risk is increased as we age, though women in their 20s-40s are having strokes. Some risk factors are smoking, pregnancy, migraines, and the use of birth control.
To mitigate any risk, during yoga classes I always teach the three finger rule. Put three fingers on the back of your neck and gently shift the head back. When you reach the place where your fingers are crunching together…that’s when to stop moving back.
Stress and anxiety are pervasive issues that compromise health in very deep, significant ways. There is endless research about the connection. It may seem like there isn’t much to do about it or any choice, especially if the perceived source of stress isn’t anything that can be changed. But…there are many ways to balance and mitigate stress/anxiety. Here are just a few tips I’ll share from my class, Gentle Yoga for Stress, Anxiety, and Busy Minds. To have a fuller experience with this using Mindfulness and Subtle practices, join my next class and/or my email list for classes/programs:
-Important! Look very closely at screen time. Anxiety was never as prevalent as it is post smart phones.
-Eat mindfully. Taste your food. Eat slowly, chew well, and stay present with beautiful, calm things around you, if possible. Your body will absorb nutrients better and process the food more effectively.
-Take care of your body including your skin by using essential oils, massage oil, organic oils, etc. Look at the ingredients of what you put on your skin including make-up and deodorant. There is a great DIY easy, natural recipe for deo on this site, Feel the Peace, as well as body scrub. There is also a great post on this site about this topic. Your skin is part of your integumentary system, one of the 11 body systems.
-Address your strong emotions, don’t stuff them. Emotions, pain, and loss will find a way into your body and create issues. Find productive ways to address this through all modalities including counseling and medication (if necessary). Slower, gentler, more meditative yoga classes are very beneficial for this. Sometimes classes aren’t what they actually say they are so be careful, but in general, look for labels like Gentle, Restorative, and Yin.
-Stay in the present. There is a saying by Lao Tzu “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Greetings Local Feel the Peace subscribers! It’s not too late to join Gentle Yoga at the Sand Hills Wellness Center beginning this Friday. Call or text me for details or if you have any questions. You can also try class as a drop-in without doing the five class series. Come Feel the Peace with an accessible practice perfect for beginners and those who feel hesitant about yoga. I have a special activity planned to deepen our practices. Namaste?
Viparita Karani or legs-up-the-wall is one of the best yoga postures to use for back issues and overall relaxation. While not considered an inversion, it benefits the body by helping the blood circulate toward the upper body and head, thus creating a feeling of restoration. It helps realign the body after prolonged standing or sitting and is particularly nice if you’re feeling stressed, fatigued, or even jet-lagged. It’s a posture that promotes the feeling of the myriad of positive results of doing less, not more. It creates a paradigm shift in the mind and activates the relaxation response in the parasympathetic nervous system (a countering of the fight or flight response in the sympathetic nervous system).
In Yin Yoga, a more passive and meditative form of yoga, this posture targets the kidney and benefits the urinary bladder meridian. It helps to reduce swelling in the body and tempers overall anxiety. It’s also effective for fatigue and insomnia. Note: Another variation of this posture is legs up the chair.
Can help to soothe menstrual cramps (some yoga traditions advice against doing Viparita Karani during menstruation)
Have you been hearing a lot about all the physical, mental, and psychological benefits of a meditation practice and wanted to learn more? You may even have tried one of the many meditation apps. There is nothing more effective than an intimate, in-person, hands-on workshop with tips and energetic discussion to create an effective and regular practice. This way you too, can enjoy all of these benefits in the comfort of your own home or even while on the go. In this 2-part workshop, you’ll learn the background, misconceptions, benefits, and techniques of meditation with an experienced practitioner. No previous experience is necessary.
I am offering this two-class workshop in May:
Saturday, May 4th 9:00-11:00*
Saturday, May 11th 9:00-11:00*
Email me for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
* If the idea of getting up for a 9:00 session is too much, no worries. This is stress-free stuff. We can arrange a mutually convenient time to go through whatever content you missed prior to your arrival.
Due to space, comfort, and the importance of an intimate setting, I’m taking a small number of students on a “first registration” basis. Cost for this two-session class (total of 4+ hrs) is $60. Special Notice: Your payment is your registration and will officially hold your spot for you. Spots are already being taken. To register, please mail, drop off, or arrange a mutual meeting time to send a check or cash. If I see you in a currently running class, feel free to bring before or after. I will confirm receipt/attendance. Class will close with maximum number of students and a waiting list will then take effect. If class size falls below optimal, I will cancel and return any payments or shift them toward other classes based upon your preference. So…reserve your spot today, there is nothing to lose by registering in advance. Unlike a more traditional business, these are small, focused classes. Your deposit will be used to reserve your space or returned to you if class goes over max. or if your plans change.
Winter is an important time to focus on your integumentary system. Your epidermis. Your skin! This system is one of the 11 systems that make up your body. It’s often forgotten, unless there’s an issue. Lower temperatures, wind, and biting cold can leave skin feeling dull and dry. Nourish it through diet and lifestyle, including filling up on warm, moist, grounding foods, replenishing the skin (and other body parts) with warm oil, and getting plenty of rest. Here are some simple, holistic practices that are great for your skin:
1. Spiced Milk
Switch out afternoon coffee with spiced milk. In a pan, bring milk and spices to a low boil for five minutes. Enjoy!
1 cup organic milk (or alternative)
1 teaspoon ginger powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Pinch cardamom powder or nutmeg
Pinch black pepper
Note: Spiced milk isn’t appropriate if fighting a fever, cold, flu, sinus infection, or during pregnancy.
2. Oil Massage
Nourish dry, cracking, rough winter skin with a daily warm oil massage. Right after you shower, apply warm organic oil to your skin. Rub in by making circular movements over joints and long strokes over bones. Oil massages leave skin radiant and enhance circulation. This practice helps settle nerves and calms the mind. Note: Avoid oil massage if you have a fever, cold, flu, or are pregnant.
Hot air inside and cold wind outside can dry out the sinuses. Use a neti pot and nasya oil. Be picky about your brand and ensure it’s organic. I use Banyan Botanicals Nasya. Use it by itself or after using a clean neti pot with purified warm water and salt to cleanse the sinuses. Use a drop of nasya into each nostril and rub gently. Note: Avoid nasya oil during nosebleeds and/or sinus infections.
4. Organic Coconut Oil
Use this on skin and hair all winter as a head massage or on the ends of your hair. Use a small amount in your mouth and swish it around and pull it through your teeth for 10-15 minutes. Spit it out and then rinse with warm water. There are many benefits to oil pulling.