Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

 

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/.

5 facts you should know about women’s health

5 facts you should know about women’s health

  1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men. Women are more likely to experience depression, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women’s hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.

 

  1. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions. While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, light-headedness, or fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.

 

  1. Women have different risk factors than men. Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don’t always show up in educational materials.

 

  1. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments. Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications typically prescribed for sex-specific issues that can interfere with each other. As an example, Paracetemol can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

 

In spite of all this, women’s and men’s bodies are more similar than they are different. We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage or yoga therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to know whether it works for you, there’s only one way to find out!

Schedule an appointment today on 085 1502378 or see www.anandacentre.com for more details on Yoga Classes and other therapies available at the centre.

ananda-fa-blue-highres

 

Zita West affiliated Acupuncturist

Great news 🙂

Helena Barker ~ Acupuncture & Naturopathy

I am now delighted to announce that I have become a founding member of the recently launched Zita West Network for Reproductive Health, as an Affiliated Acupuncturist.

ZW_Aff_Acu_Logo_Keyline_POS_ProcessBuilt on the ground-breaking work of midwife, author and fertility and pregnancy expert Zita West and her renowned London clinic, the new Irish network aims to share the unique skills and experience of Zita and her team of doctors, midwives and complementary therapists, with experienced independent acupuncturists across Ireland and the UK. Other health specialists (such as nutritionists, counsellors, midwives and doctors) will also be recruited to the network. The Zita West Clinic is the largest integrated (medical and complementary) practice in the UK specialising in all aspects of male and female reproductive health. It also runs occasional clinics in Dublin on a monthly basis.

All acupuncturist members of the network receive training and ongoing support in Zita West’s comprehensive, holistic approach…

View original post 269 more words

Silver Island and shelf making.

Every now and then it is good to do something out of one’s comfort zone. So with that mantra in mind this year I did just that. My sister had mentioned going to pick olives on Silver Island in Greece. Helena, our Acupuncturist here in Ananda Centre, is good friends with the owners. So it was out of my comfort zone but not totally scarey!

On Silver Island, sisters Lissa and Claire, Lissa’s husband Corne and Ernest the island’s caretaker  facilitate a weekly yoga retreat for 7 months of the year. I must mention it is the world’s only private island yoga retreat centre. Amazing, yes? And not forgetting Lulu the dog. She was a real star, great dancer and an awful distraction with her cuteness!

Off we went, arriving in Athens at a decent time of 7.30pm. Booked into our hotel close to where the airport bus dropped us at Syntagma Square. We stayed that night in the Athens Diamond Plus Hotel. Clean and very reasonable but you have to say it in the accent of that  fancy lady voice on the tv commercials. Everything in the hotel was white gloss, I felt like I was in an 80’s Wham video!

Up early next morning to catch the 8.45am bus to Oreoi on Evia island. 3 hour journey – doable. Got the first Spanakopita (spinach and cheese  pie in filo crust, yum) of the trip in the bakery by the port and waited for our lift to Silver Island. Very quiet in Oreoi as it was November but judging by all the cute restaurants on the waterfront you could imagine that it would get busy in high season.

Coming in to view.

Coming in to view.

Corne kindly met us and our mode of transport to the island was a very cool speedboat, very James Bond or something! The water like glass, the sun shining and the island lighthouse coming into view.

View from Silver Island

View from Silver Island

Intros and the start of what was to be many cups of tea later the guys had lunch and headed back out to work. This gave myself and Vicki a chance to have a quick dip in the sea and a walk to warm up. The sisters thought we were mad to be getting into the water but we assured them being Irish it was a temperature akin to Salthill on Ireland’s best summer’s day.

There's a chicken in me gully! Silver Island boasts home to 23 chickens. Not sure if this guy was of the Jean Claude Van Dame or Gunky lineage?

There’s a chicken in me gully! Silver Island boasts home to 23 chickens. Not sure if this guy was of the Jean Claude Van Dame or Gunky lineage?

Up the next morning at 7.30am – big bowl of porridge and cup of coffee and we were ready for the day. All the olives had been picked the week previous so there now was the job of pruning the olive trees. There is a skill to this so our job was to remove the fallen branches and make into piles to be burned later on. Easy enough you say until you factor in an angle of 45 degrees on the slopes where the trees grow. Ok so I might exaggerate a little but it was hilly! Lets just say the muscles in my legs were getting a great workout. We broke for lunch at 1pm and there is nothing like a hunger built up from a bit of labour. Back out for 2 and then finished at 4.30. I have to admit I got a shock! I like to think I work hard manually with the massage but this was very new. Strangely though there was always a great sense of satisfaction when each day was finished during our stay.

Claire and Vicki getting into their roots.

Claire and Vicki getting into their roots.

Our jobs over the next 10 days included gully clearing, shed clearing, shelf making (thanks to Claire’s guidance we became proficient in scaffold shelf making – hipster up cycling eat your heart out!), bush clearing and I even managed to swop a couple of afternoons off in exchange for giving massages! Ernest reckoned we made a good team the whole lot of us. I also learned how to prune an olive tree.

The Team -Ernest, Corne, Lissa, me, Vicki and of course the wonderful Lulu the dog. Missing is Claire.

The Team -Ernest, Corne, Lissa, me, Vicki and of course the wonderful Lulu the dog. Missing is Claire.

Our evenings were spent deciding whether to go for a cold shower (no running hot water on the island) or have a bucket bath. I had forgotten how I can take things for granted! End result always good though. Clean, warm and hungry. Each night we had an amazing meal prepared by the guys along with a glass of local wine. Yum! It was so good to sit around a table and be social. No internet, no distractions. We discussed so much and discovered we had a lot in common too. There were many belly laughs and tears from both laughing and crying. Amazing when you keep things simple what can happen.

Vicki and I enjoying a fab brunch, cooked by Lissa and Claire, on our day off.

I got to wash my hair in the sea. On the island no products containing nasty chemicals are allowed as the water is recycled. A wonderful organic Greek range called Korres is available to those who visit Silver Island. I felt very wild-woman washing the hair with all natural stuff. Silver Island will have their own range of products soon, made by a friend on the mainland.

Vicki and I were in charge of dishwashing each evening. Which was not a chore for 5 people compared to cooking and washing for 14 during the retreat season. We were in bed each night by 9pm every night, I couldn’t even read my book as I was wiped.

We said our farewells after 10 days, joked about coming back to work on the island though you never know, we could surprise them next year! We stopped off in Edipsos on the way to Athens, they have amazing thermal baths there. Just what the weary bodies needed. 2 days in Athens where the sun shone to provide perfect tourist conditions. I had been to Athens before and was only too happy to see the Acropolis again. I really like Athens, it’s buzzing and understatedly cool.

Even in November the water was beautiful.

Even in November the water was beautiful.

I am not sure how to describe our trip away. A working holiday? A meditation of work? It was interesting to allow the mind to switch off and only have one’s focus on the task at hand. I was very happy with how my body didn’t let me down under the pressure and I came away unscathed but for the mosi bites! I dunno, maybe I would go back to help out but for a shorter length of time. I would, however, really love to go back as a guest someday. Seeing how the island is set up, it’s location and how beautiful it is definitely sells it to me. And not forgetting our wonderful hosts who without them the island would be nothing. They work very hard so that people can come and enjoy what they have enjoyed for years and that is the beauty and magic of Silver Island.

Agora in Athens

Agora in Athens

For more on the island and the retreats check out www.silverislandyoga.com

What is Restorative Yoga and why should I do it?

Restorative yoga is a practice that involves using some props, getting comfy and allowing the body and mind to rest in a specific posture.

Sometimes we equate the word REST to also mean doing nothing or being lazy in some way but Rest is so important to help recharge the physical, mental and emotional. To Rest allows you to restore your energy in order to move on with more pep in your step. Think about it – we recharge our phones and computers. Why? So that they can continue working to their full capacity. Surely we can say the same and do the same for ourselves.

What’s in a word? Words have a lot of power, can make us feel and think, can make us react. Take a moment or two to read this and see how the word sits with you. Sense how you are feeling before you read this article and then take stock of what you experience after. See the word in your mind and feel it.

REST: to stop work or movement in order to relax, refresh and recover.

Have you ever not felt good after a rest?
Why do we think we have to keep going?
What’s stopping us from resting?

The noun, rest, also means the remaining part of something. What?
Is it the space we give ourselves on resting? That catching up of oneself?

The synonyms of rest are pause, relax, lean, lie.

It’s ok to allow ourselves to rest. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this sometimes.
Give yourself a bit of time today and reflect on rest. Who knows you might even find yourself doing it!

The next Rest and Restore Yoga workshop in Ananda is next Saturday 18th October 10am – 12pm €50. It is suitable for all abilities of practice even beginners.

Contact Brenda 085 1502378

Pre-Pregnancy Support Awareness this October at Ananda Centre.

Pre-Pregnancy Support Awareness in October at Ananda Centre.
An amazing package offer available during October.
Are you planning a pregnancy?
Did you know that at Ananda Centre we provide services that can support and help you and your partner in your pre-pregnancy decisions.
As part of Pre-Pregnancy Support Awareness month here in Ananda we are delighted to offer a great package where you get to choose 4 treatments from a range of pre-conception and fertility supportive therapies and have a program tailor made for you by our team of fully qualified therapists. 
Choose from:
  • Restorative Yoga one to one session.
  • Massage Therapy
  • Bio-Energy Therapy
  • Pre-pregnancy Acupuncture
  • Pre-pregnancy Reflexology
  • Naturopathy – diet lifestyle & nutritional advice.
  • His & Hers 45 min Massage Therapy
  • Reiki
This package is normally €250 book now for just €199.
T&Cs: Package is valid for use until end of February 2015.
Last day of purchase is December 31st 2014.
Package must be paid in full at first treatment.
All therapies are one hour unless otherwise stated.
Please consult with your doctor before undergoing any therapy.
Please telephone Brenda for more information: 085 1502378 or anandacentre@gmail.com
Below are some positive affirmations for fertility, enjoy.