What is Yoga Therapy?

 

Yoga Therapy is a discipline created by the coming together of traditional yoga and modern science. It is the ‘specialisation ‘of yoga which tailors yoga practices to the individual needs of people with health problems.

 

Yoga Therapy, as we know it relies on medical diagnostic information. It then works alongside medical treatment and complements it. Yoga Therapy works holistically on the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual levels to help relieve illness, restore and promote health and wellbeing.

 

Many controlled trials have indicated that Yoga Therapy can help in the management of Asthma, Diabetes and Heart Disease. Also case studies have shown that back pain can be relieved through Yoga Therapy.

 

I have added 16 months of training with Yoga Therapy Ireland to my 500 hour Yoga teacher Training. This training has provided me with a deeper grounding in anatomy, physiology, pathology and the application of yoga practices to a range of medical conditions.

 

I can work one to one with you and give you a program that is specifically for you.

 

Give me a call on 085 1502378 if you would like to find out more about Yoga Therapy for you.

 

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Posture Affects Thoughts

Yoga enthusiasts know that yoga practice can aid posture, and self-care for teachers of yoga  includes maintaining good body mechanics and posture. New research shows that posture can effect mental and emotional states.

Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job, according to a press release from Ohio State University. On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.

The results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves, said Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at the university.

correct-posture-p

“Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people,” Petty said. “But it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in.”

“People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts. They don’t realize their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they’re thinking,” he added.

Spring awakening and why I hated my middle name.

Happy Imbolc to you all. February 1st and it is spring awakening time.

imbolc

It is also St. Brigid’s day here in Ireland and that is my middle name (confession time). A name that I really didn’t want people to know about as I was growing up. I felt embarrassed to show people my passport or speak up if someone asked in school. Why? For some reason in my head I had an image of a big matronly nun shouting out my name “Brenda Brigid!” and giving out to me or this real old fashioned version of myself with a headscarf wrapped around my chin!

passport brigid

Proof of BB

 

Little did I know and understand how great Brigid really was, she rocked! She was a healer, a farmer, a patron of midwives, a symbol of fertility. She welcomes the beginning of spring by lighting fires to encourage the light and purification. She was both a Celtic goddess and a catholic saint. Brigid was known to don a magic cape, a keeper of peace and may have been a warrior too.

A few of my friends will call me Biddy or Bridey. My personal email begins with ‘Biddy’. I am at last embracing my inner Brigid!

More on Celtic Brigid here.

 

A poem/prayer of Brigid in her Saint form –

You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit

Some days you do what you can.

So yes, that’s a photo of my legs up the wall and yes, that’s a hole in my sock and (another) yes, I don’t care. I don’t care even if my grammar is wrong in this and the above sentences either! You get my drift. This is all I have been able to muster in the last 3 days…2 of those days in bed.

There is some sort of virus out for vengeance at the moment and this week it struck our house. It can be very difficult to admit when you do not feel well. We live in a society that is all go, go, go. If you have kids, you need to organise and get help. If you work, you let the boss know and probably affect productivity. If you work for yourself you loose out on money. You feel you are letting people down, its like admitting defeat to something. But we have no control over it. We can take the drugs/herbal remedies but often what is needed is good old fashioned bedrest. Particularly if the body feels like lead and you have the energy of a newborn kitten.

Gentle exercise is very important for when you start feeling an improvement in yourself. Don’t go gung ho as you may end up doing more harm that good. If you have already broken a fever there is no need to break a sweat again.

Start with a short walk, getting lots of fresh air in. Get mobility back into the body, this will help with the lymphatic system to help bump up immunity. If you are still floored try my favourite pose ‘legs up the wall’. Apart from being a pose of rest it too increases functioning of a good lymphatic system…just what the body needs to get rid of those yukky bits n bobs! Try and stay in it for about 20 minutes.

See more about the pose here.

And if you would like to experience more of the wonderful effects of Rest and Restore Restorative Yoga my next workshop is February 20th. See www.anandacentre.com for more details.

5 Ways Mindfulness Meditation Benefits the Body

Many people know meditation is beneficial, yet few know why. Meditation, which can be practiced in various forms, has been used throughout history to benefit the mind, body and soul. Now there is even more evidence that taking up meditation may be the right thing for you.

“We have known for a long time that meditation can help to promote wellness,” explains Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, located in McLean, Virginia. “Meditation can play an important role in how you feel, both physically and mentally.”

Clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of meditation, including:

  • A recent research study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital that mindfulness meditation, over the short period of eight weeks, increased the amount of gray matter in regions of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulation of one’s emotions and self-awareness.
  • Other studies have shown that regular meditation helps reduce practitioners’ feelings of anxiety and fear and enhance their natural creativity and problem-solving abilities.
  • Mindfulness meditation increases practitioners’ empathy for others and can allow for improved communication and relations with colleagues, family and friends.
  • Studies have also shown that regular meditation, by facilitating relaxation of the body and mind, can help improve sleep, lessen the sensation of pain and lower blood pressure.
  • There is also clinical evidence that meditating regularly improves depression and increases practitioners’ overall sense of well-being by providing a method of letting go of fearful and negative thoughts and decreasing emotional reactivity.

“This new study by researchers at Mass. General Hospital is very exciting because it suggests that meditation may be able to help heal the brains of people who suffer with depression, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain” adds Kaplan.

Mindfulness meditation involves entering into and holding a deep state of focused attention or relaxation. Although many practitioners like to follow a regular routine, meditation can be done anywhere.

Whether you’re sitting on a bus or stuck at an interminable business meeting, it’s possible to enter into the state of alert, mindful awareness and reap the benefits of meditation– without missing your bus stop or falling asleep at your meeting.

 

Explains Kaplan, “Meditation is not about religion or beliefs, it’s about learning how to stop ‘time-traveling.’ Unfortunately, we spend a great deal of time either thinking about the future, which tends to engender worry or anxiety, or dwelling on the past, which often brings up regrets and loss. Either way, we are less able to dedicate all of our attention and creativity on what is happening in the here and now. Meditation offers us a means of staying more in the present moment.”

“So many benefits arise from doing mediation, and it is so convenient to do, that I encourage everyone to give it a try–20 minutes a day for four weeks–and see what happens,” advises Kaplan. “You may be surprised at just how much more focused and relaxed you feel, and like many of my patients, you may decide to make it a permanent part of your daily routine.”

About The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine and Gary Kaplan, D.O.

The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine was founded by Dr. Gary Kaplan, a board-certified doctor of family medicine, pain medicine and medical acupuncture. For more than 25 years, The Kaplan Center’s team of physicians, physicaltherapists and other health care providers have combined the best of conventional medicine with the best alternative practices to address chronic pain and illness and to help individuals attain optimal health for life.  A leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Kaplan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, a Clinical Associate Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine and he has served as a consultant at the National Institutes of Medicine, including serving on the NIH Consensus Panel that authored a paper on the treatment of chronic pain and insomia with relaxation techniques. To learn more about The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, visit www.kaplanclinic.com/.

3 Ways Restorative Yoga Can Help You

Once  month I hold a Rest & Restore 2 hour Restorative Yoga workshop. We do gentle movement and then, using bolsters, blankets and blocks, we get into positions that allow our bodies and minds to melt. We slow it down and get rid of the busy-ness in our heads. It is suitable for anyone who has never done yoga before, it is suitable for people with injuries, people who have a strong yoga practice and those who simply want to take some time out for themselves.

The next Rest & Restore workshop is Saturday June 13th at 10am and there are Restorative Yoga classes every Thursday evening at 7.30pm.

Here are 3 more reasons to do Restorative Yoga.

  1. Apart from being physically comfortable, Restorative Yoga poses also give your brain rest. The positions used allow your mind quieten itself naturally. Every part of the body is helped to relax, supports and props are used and you’re covered with a favourite blanket as you breathe deeply and evenly. There is nothing to think of except how cosy you feel!
  2. Restorative Yoga can help provide comfort and relief from stress and minor aches and pains, it may also improve the metabolic parameters in people who struggle with weight, according to a 2008 “Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders” study. Also those at risk for diabetes and hypertension may benefit from a regular restorative yoga practice. Restorative poses can help stimulate the circulatory system, which improves energy. Everything from post-operative to womens health to a number of stress-related conditions such as Adrenal Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can all be helped with Restorative Yoga.
  3. It is 2 hours of time for yourself to leave the stresses and strains of the outside world. But it also teaches us ways in which to handle those everyday stresses and strains. You will learn simple ways in which to take Restorative Yoga home with you.

For more information on the workshops and weekly Restorative Yoga class contact Brenda on 085 150 2378 or see www.anandacentre.com for upcoming events

Guest Blog Post – Nick from Uptown Spa on Reiki Massage

This month our guest blog comes from Nick Stokes in Uptown Spa, North York, Oregon, USA.

uptown spa

It’s great to network with the community on an international basis. Enjoy his post…

Reiki Massage

There has always been a great cultural gap between the East and the West. Somehow, even though our cultures clashed numerously over the course of history, we still developed different beliefs, traditions and viewpoints, rarely interfering with each other. Of course, as it usually goes these beliefs and values impacted most of the things and processes in our midst, moulding our standpoints and perception. In that regard, Renaissance was an important moment in history of Western civilization where people liberated themselves from religious dogma. As the time passed by, religion became less and less important in our society thus having less impact of other things in our lives. At the same time, Eastern civilizations retained high level of spirituality. This is something that can be seen even through some mundane things such as the massage.

Although massage has existed for a long time, more than 2 millennia, it hasn’t changed a lot in its core. While Western civilizations always approached it scientifically, believing that massage helps our blood flow and muscles, Eastern civilizations perceived it as a process of aligning life force energy. This is closely related to their spiritual beliefs, by viewing a person as a being that consists primarily out of energy.

Like any other Eastern cultures, Japanese also developed their form of massage. It is called Reiki and it stands for Rei meaning “higher power” and Ki meaning “life force energy”. Although it is shrouded within religious dogma and presented as highly spiritual process, Reiki is quite simple in its nature. In comparison to other Western forms of therapy it doesn’t pose any regulations or constrictions. According to Japanese, anybody can perform it and all the knowledge about Reiki is passed on by viewing the treatment itself. It doesn’t require any elaborate teaching or training. It is also quite simple and straightforward when it comes to place and time of treatment. You can do it basically anywhere and for any period of time. This gives us various options how to incorporate it. Imagine relaxing with Reiki in nature for a longer period of time. Basically, no other Western massage can compete with that.

As we previously mentioned, Reiki bases itself on spiritual healing. While pressuring the body, therapist is able to activate life force within it and move it to a place where the healing is necessary. By doing so, we are able to remedy our condition and to find a solution to our problems. Of course, similarly to other forms of massage, it is always good to combine it with other types of treatment in order to maximize the chances of recovery. However you put it, it will certainly assist you by relieving stress and quickening your metabolism.

Reiki is a treatment which is becoming increasingly popular in North America. Similarly to other Eastern massages, it provides new and fresh experience while giving you much needed relaxation. Naturally, many people still prefer usual types of body treatment like Swedish massage. You can always relax with this or any other type of massage in Toronto by visiting Uptown Spa.

Thank you Nick for your post.

…Reiki Massage is also available in Ananda Centre. Book an appointment today – 085 1502378