Category Archives: Healthy News


Let’s start something amazing at Nola’s!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News, Newsletter
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Let’s start something amazing
at Nola’s!

A little over six years ago the building my yoga studio was located at in Roseville, MN was bought out by a nursing home; and my second location’s owner lost her lease. She moved to a location with no room for yoga. All this happened within one week’s time. My next location was only available for what seemed like half a second. The owner closed shop—I was renting space. One of my regular yoga students approached me to start teaching at her friend’s house and a new business model was born! I’ve since expanded into on-site corporate yoga as well.

If you follow my blogs, you know I follow the signs sent from the Universe. I never thought going in-home private (and now also on-site corporate) was going to be my only teaching venue; but I am oh so grateful for the student who suggested it! It has and continues to be a perfect business model for me!

Another excellent opportunity!

It seems the Universe is bringing me another excellent opportunity and I couldn’t be more excited! Recently a local restaurateur, Kavita Mehta of Nola Restaurant in Osseo, MN, asked me to consider teaching yoga at her event center there. When she shared that the roots of the dishes served at Nola’s are rooted in the ancient Chinese, Indian Ayurvedic and Unani health systems, well I sat up and took notice!

Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga and another love of mine! Healthy eating, based on Ayurveda, is part of my training and is the backbone of the YogaLean Workshop I offer! Kavita’s offer for me to teach yoga at Nola’s was something I had to consider!

We are hosting a free yoga class Thursday at 10 AM on October 4th to kick this off!

Nola's PDF for ad copy.jpg

For rates and dates going forward, please click here. Please join us and bring your friends! I’m really looking forward to expanding here with this partnership! Let’s start something amazing at Nola’s!


While I have you! Check out my links page!

Artist highlights:

Beatles fan? Love George Harrison’s “While my guitar gently weeps” song? Check out this “Weeping Guitar” art print by Erica Free! (She’s the top link on my site) It comes in two sizes! Can you say early Christmas shopping?

Have something special to commemorate? I used to buy Neil Diamond albums whenever I accomplished something major: new job, promotion, completion of a major goal, etc. Lately I’ve been buying a mala to commemorate my accomplishments since my focus has been on all things yoga for the past several years.

Please check out my favorite local yoga teacher’s link at YogSadhna—Beautiful malas!
(I still love and adore Neil! He just released Hot August Night III!)


I hope to see you at one of my venue’s soon! Thank you so much for subscribing to my newsletter! I appreciate each and every one of you!


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Better Day Yoga, LLC


Mail to: 5024 Oxborough Gardens

Brooklyn Park, MN 55443-3990

(612) 708 6900


Knowlege is power / Health is priceless

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You may be wondering if you are hypothyroid or know of someone who is. There’s a current upsurge in interest in this subject and using diet and lifestyle to help balance this condition. I was diagnosed over ten years ago. Typically the MD’s will check your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and if that’s within a given range, they’ll stop there and tell you your thyroid is fine. When I was increasingly tired, the MD I was going to at the time suggested checking my thyroid. She said if it’s your thyroid, no problem, you start on Synthroid® (brand name for levothyroxine) and you’re good to go—simple solution. She made it sound like it was quite common. “Take a pill and you’re done.” (Sadly it IS quite common. Synthroid® is the most prescribed medication in the US.)

Over the past 10+ years I’ve painstakingly discovered many things about hypothyroidism. What I’m about to share is my own research and my own decisions made for myself. The list is NOT exhaustive, I’m sure. They’re not meant to be your blueprint or to make your decisions so much as for you to be aware of areas you might want to research for yourself. This is my way of saying I don’t even play a doctor on TV! So do your research and talk to your doctor!

Here’s what I wish the MD would have done and/or told me at the time of diagnosis:

  • Hypothyroid disease is associated with diabetes (the pancreas is part of the endocrine system) and increases your chances of other auto-immune diseases (the thymus governs the immune system and is part of the endocrine system. You’re taking blood to check my thyroid which is part of the endocrine system. Why not check out the other family of organs in that system? They all work together. I’d had more than one blow to the head over my lifetime (childhood falls, line-drive to the head during softball requiring eight stitches, neck/back injury almost 20 years ago now.) Traumatic brain injury can injure your pituitary gland (another endocrine gland) and even years later can be associated with hypothyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency, diabetes…there’s more.

It took me well over eight years to decide to switch doctors over another matter—my regular doctor left the practice and the new one thought my “outie” bellybutton was a hernia! This was after she asked why in the world I’d want to check my vitamin D levels? (Inside I was thinking—what rock have you been under and where did you go to medical school? I’m always reading how little nutrition education MDs receive, but by this time Vitamin D’s importance had gone mainstream. Mental note to self, this doctor is dangerous to my health.)

  • Vitamin D is a hormone and low levels are associated with a higher risk of thyroid antibodies which are found with autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimotos Disease. Yup that’s right and I have discovered that low levels affect many bodily functions. I didn’t know this particular detail of Vitamin D at the time. I just knew it was an uber-important vitamin (can you say cancer risk and progression for starters?) and living in Minnesota increased my odds of being low on Vitamin D since we make very little Vitamin D except during the summer and sun screen blocks the production of even that. My new doctor gave me a full thyroid panel test (along with my Vitamin D) which included checking my thyroid antibodies.

Guess what? I had Hashimotos Hypothyroid disease and low vitamin D levels. Yes, my previous doctors knew I had outgrown Juvenile Rheumatory Arthritis (another auto-immune disease) when I was younger so the increased odds of other auto-immune diseases were there. Why didn’t my first doctor wonder if I had Hashimotos Hypothyroid disease vs. just hypothyroid disease? Did you know up to 90% of all thyroid problems are autoimmune in nature—the most common of which is Hashimotos?

  • Let’s check your antibodies starting at an earlier certain age while we’re drawing blood for that cholesterol check we’re doing anyway. Why didn’t my first doctor check for antibodies? Or, even better, why isn’t checking for antibodies part of every physical starting earlier—before a hypothyroid diagnosis? You see often your antibodies start to rise before your TSH (the usual test for whether you are hypothyroid or not) rises into the hypothyroid range. Finding that out early gives you a chance to change your diet and lifestyle possibly avoiding the progression to Hashimotos.

By the time they diagnosed my Hashimotos, my thyroid had been under attack for over the eight years it took me to get that tested. I had no idea of the above until I began researching. It’s much more difficult to correct the damage to the thyroid after a longer amount of time—a duh.

Sadly the current fix of prescribing Synthroid® only works on balancing the hormones (T4 and T3). It does nothing to address the fact that your immune system is attacking your thyroid! Which is probably why they don’t check the antibodies early. They don’t have anything in place to address this.

I remember reading with total dismay on the Synthroid® drug fact sheet that the side effects of the drug worsen as you age and the longer you’re on the drug. So, I thought, what’s the game plan here? My step-mom’s Hashimotos had progressed to Sjögren’s syndrome—another auto-immune disease also associated with Hashimotos. I had no desire to experience what I saw her go through (loss of teeth, loss of enjoyment of food, difficulty eating due to little saliva in the mouth).

  • Being gluten sensitive is associated with hypothyroid disease and avoiding gluten in your diet is associated with an improvement in thyroid function.  Well, that would have been excellent to know at the get-go!!

Just a couple of years prior to my thyroid diagnosis, my chiropractor (yes you heard that right) diagnosed me with gluten-sensitivity via a muscle test. My knee had swelled up and it hurt to walk, let alone go up steps. I was going up steps one at a time. An MRI showed nothing to be addressed really, save a small tear on my cartilage that “really did not need surgery”. He sent me home. I was like… “Hello?! My knee is swollen here? Do you see that? I’m not making up the pain.”

Two weeks off gluten and it was night and day, black and white difference. I wanted to kiss my chiropractor but we didn’t know each other that well. So I suspect going gluten-free helped my thyroid function for a bit longer before the TSH levels no longer measured well.

Gluten-sensitivity is associated with joint pain but so is hypothyroid disease. I personally don’t think this is a coincidence.

  • Hypothyroid disease is associated with high cholesterol! In fact, back in the day, high cholesterol was how they diagnosed hypothyroid disease! Right around the time I was tested for hypothyroid disease they were trying to give me diet suggestions to lower my cholesterol. You know—lower saturated fat consumption (another blog in itself), increase vegetable consumption, etc. (By the way, my HDL levels are excellent as are the triglycerides AND my cholesterol is the “fluffy” kind so even the LDL is considered acceptable.)

I had cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for lunch every day—that was it. And breakfast was a gluten free cereal with skim milk. Dinner was usually chicken with a starch and vegetable. Yes I snacked, but not excessive junk food. I prided myself on how well I ate as well as my disciplined exercise regime. If you know me, you know that I am not overweight. Giving diet suggestions was, to me, insulting. (Now my breakfasts have more protein, I eat salad daily and have less empty calories at the end of the day like chips (although they are my weakness). Dark chocolate is our dessert of choice when we indulge.) The controversy of cholesterol readings would be another blog.

It is sufficient to say being told the two are related would have gone a long way toward making me feel less inadequate. Your thyroid function affects your cholesterol measures.

  • Being hypothyroid means I probably don’t convert Beta-Carotene to Vitamin A well. Vitamin A is important for thyroid function. Since Vitamin A is fat-soluble, you can overdose on it. It gets stored in your body vs. Beta Carotene, which is water-soluble. Typically your multiple vitamins contain Beta Carotene because healthy thyroids convert this to Vitamin A and what you don’t need is released.

Do you know how important Vitamin A is for skin health? Do you use retinols in your skin products? I’ve had cystic acne my whole life—complete with scars, tears and embarrassment at times (I know, I know—poor baby, right?).

Another chiropractor I went to a few years ago suggested I take a thyroid support supplement. Once I started to take this supplement, my cystic acne went away. This was only a few years ago. I’m 57. I wanted to dance the jig when I noticed this side benefit. I noticed the supplement contained Vitamin A vs. Beta Carotene. This concerned me so I pulled out my thyroid books (of which I had way too many) and researched it some more and realized the conversion of Beta Carotene to Vitamin A doesn’t work well for people like me.

I should mention here that earlier, I had started using a Vitamin B cream on my areas of concern in lieu of clindamycin (which is an antibiotic) for my acne. I was trying to be more holistic overall. Vitamin B cream helped tremendously but the cystic acne was still occurring. I could just treat it a bit better and ward it off with the “B” cream. FYI, a sluggish thyroid can also make you deficient in certain B vitamins.

  • There are certain foods you might want to avoid (in addition to gluten) to manage hypothyroidism—like cruciferous vegetables (unless their cooked and you limit the amount you eat and spacing the consumption of these foods for several hours before and after your prescription medicine).They may block your thyroid’s utilization of iodine. A diet too high in fiber can alter our absorption levels of your thyroid medications. This one boggled my brain. Again, these are foods that are good for you so I don’t avoid them. I just am aware too much of a good thing can simply be too much. If you standardly consume high fiber, your blood tests will reflect that in the dosage of your thyroid medication. Talk to your doctor.

You might try an auto-immune paleo diet. It’s helped some extremely.

Some suggest avoiding night shade vegetables (potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant). Remember the lunches I was having when first diagnosed? I think the sensitivity to nightshade varies per person, as do most of these recommendations. I try not to overdo it but still consume them because I decided these foods are healthy and I refuse to avoid them all together. That’s my personal choice. You make your choice after consulting your doctor or dietician. I’ve tried avoiding them with no change in symptoms, but truth-be-told I probably didn’t avoid them long enough. My husband and I muscle test pretty much everything now though. Night shade vegetables can also affect arthritic joints.

You shouldn’t take your prescription medicine along with calcium supplements or coffee. So for most of you taking your prescription meds in the morning means waiting to have your vitamins and coffee. (I take my prescription later in the day. Some research suggests taking your prescription later in the day is more effective.)

Excess fat and sugar is never good but remember I said diabetes and hypothyroid disease are associated. So are gallbladder issues and hypothyroid disease.  So breaking down fats can become an issue. Personally, I eat plenty of healthy fats like ghee, fish and coconut oils. I’d add avocado here but I’m allergic! (It’s a common allergen.) That’s my choice after my own research. You do yours and consult with your doctor!

You may want to avoid soy foods, which includes edamame, tofu, and miso. There’s some controversy on this one. Do your own research.

We should all avoid packaged foods and eat closer to nature. If it doesn’t look like it came from the earth, some would say don’t eat it. Do I follow this all the time? No. But I do for a majority of my diet. Hypothyroid disease is associated with blood pressure issues—as is eating packaged foods because of sodium content. Now I’m reading that both high and low blood pressure can be associated with thyroid disease.

Avoiding alcohol is recommended but red wine “on an occasional basis is fine for some people. Red wine is my alcohol of choice.

I’m currently in the process of switching from the standard treatment for hypothyroidism to a compounded formula. Without losing your interest, the standard treatment is giving you a hormone that is supposed to convert to another (T4 to T3) and fill the bill for both. Well, I wasn’t converting well. So they’re now working on a supplement containing T3 too. I wonder how many people are on the standard T4 and still feel lousy without checking further?

I think it might have been beneficial for a doctor to say exactly what she said as option #1. Many take this Synthroid® and they’re good to go, BUT if you want to investigate other lifestyle changes via your diet, here’s a good dietician and/or endocrinologist I’d recommend—option #2. AND by, the way, here’s some facts about hypothyroid disease that you should be aware of. So yes, your cholesterol is a bit high, but it can happen with hypothyroid disease. Here’s what we can do….

I’m still learning. I just read that some scientists are beginning to consider the possibility that Alzheimer’s disease is an auto-immune disease. My dad passed away of Alzheimer’s so believe me—I don’t want to go there! Keep on learning. I hope you found some of this useful. I just needed to download. Thanks for listening! Here’s to your health!


Who has my remote control?

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News, Trauma-informed
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Have you ever been driving down the road and someone cuts you off? It’s hard to hold your tongue sometimes, isn’t it? Oh if my car had ears it would be blushing! This is something I’ve worked on and have been much better at being detached when upsets happen—in the car any way!

During one of Indu Arora’s workshops at the Minneapolis Yoga Conference, she likened it to giving each upset one of your remote controls. It’s true, isn’t it? We’re allowing them to push our buttons, right?! She said we should make a point to reclaim our remote controls. At the end of class she suggested to ask for at least five of our remotes back.

So now when I start to have an upset while driving, or whenever, I’ll either mentally say or say out loud “I’m taking my remote back, thank you!” This small exercise has made me chuckle at the situation because it really is funny when you think about it. We’re allowing someone else to push our buttons and by asking for our remote back, it lightens the mood and makes you smile at your silliness for allowing it in the first place. Try it! You’ll start laughing at what just a few seconds ago made you angry! I love this little phrase: “I’m taking my remote back, thank you!” It has allowed me to become a witness to the emotion vs. become the emotion. And it’s also very liberating!

What ways have you come up with to stay detached when situations become heated? You know your body can’t tell the difference between real danger and imagined danger. Our upset moments really are a creation of our imagination.

By allowing our body to gear up for action with our anger, we are turning on our fight/flight mode—our sympathetic nervous system. These constant assaults to our body DO affect our health and longevity in a very real way. Our adrenal glands release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which increases our blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! See the infographic on how anger affects the brain and body from NICABM below.

Our body is preparing for physical exertion so it directs the blood away from our gut and into our extremities, affecting our digestion in a negative way. Can you say irritable bowel?

Using your upsets as a prompt to release anger and detach from the emotion is a not just smart, it increases the health and well-being of your physical, emotional, and spiritual body. Who has your remote controls? Take a moment right now to think of five remote controls you’d like to claim back and then visualize taking them back. Smile and repeat.


(click here for your own printable copy of the above great infographic from NICABM!)


Three ways yoga can improve your career

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Three ways yoga can improve your career

By Briana Everett

We’ve all heard about the benefits of yoga for reducing stress, but can it directly benefit your career?

The founder and principal teacher of Adore Yoga, Nikola Ellis, says yoga has the potential to improve your confidence and performance in the workplace – and not just because it makes you feel less stressed.

Traditional yoga and yoga therapy uses different practices to address psychological issues, as well as the physiological, changing the way our bodies move and how we perform in a high-pressure work environment.

  1. Be more powerful

According to Ellis, what you do with your body can influence your mindset and this directly affects your behavior and outcomes in the workplace.

“For women, the benefits of performing strong, powerful poses has been amply demonstrated by Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, who noticed that the reticent body language of female MBA students corresponded to their lower levels of engagement in the ‘hands on’ components of the program, when compared to their male counterparts,” Ellis explains.

“She ran a study that showed that ‘power positions’, similar to yoga’s Warrior poses, can change our brain chemistry and behaviour in a way that creates stronger engagement, confidence and performance.”

This, says Ellis, is what yoga has been doing for centuries. Working with students in private sessions up to groups of no larger than six, Ellis helps people prepare for a challenging day ahead or that important pitch or meeting by using physical poses and breathing practices that are designed to create stability, strength and power, allowing people to stand their ground in the office and keep their minds calm.

“This helps to steer them towards the outcomes they want, rather than being reactive to a pressured environment,” she says.

“In yoga we move people’s body in a way that changes how they feel and then that allows them to move forward with confidence.”

  1. Be better at decision-making

Yoga ensures that our decision-making is based in reality and helps us to be more mindful, according to Ellis.

“Our decisions are often informed by past experiences or projections that rely on a flawed understanding of the situation,” she says. “Yoga teaches you to be mindful of every moment, taking your perceptions off ‘auto-pilot’ so that your decisions are based on a real-world understanding, rather than assumptions or reactive triggers.”

Yoga teaches us to pay attention to how our thoughts are affecting our body and our breath. Ellis says it’s through this process of continually watching ourselves and picking up on our own patterns of behaviour that yoga can teach us to become present and not to react to someone in a work environment by projecting past experiences into the future.

  1. Become a better leader

The practice of yoga requires us to work on our ‘edge’, which Ellis describes as “the place where we fully challenge and extend ourselves, yet remain calm and comfortable”.

Constantly working along this edge, says Ellis, yoga teaches us how to continually challenge ourselves while staying controlled.

“That is how we achieve and sustain peak performance. When we work with yoga, the idea is that it doesn’t matter what poses you are doing, you take yourself to a point where it’s challenging and sometimes to a place you didn’t think you could go,” she says.

“In a work environment we need decision-makers who are not afraid and who are able to challenge themselves in new ways and push themselves right up to that edge, but know when to pull themselves back before the challenge turns into unmitigated risk.”

Yoga teaches self-discipline and self-control which are key to good leadership.

“A leader is like a parent,” says Ellis. “You cannot have low self-awareness to inspire confidence, trust and inspiration and that’s exactly what yoga teaches.”


Yoga Nidra For Menstrual Disturbances – Balancing Yoga and Hormones

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I am linked in with a Yoga and Nutrition Group on LinkedIn. Carl Germano is a member and the source of this week’s “healthy news”:

Carl Germano, RD, CNS, CDN

Chief Science Officer/Inergetics, Founder/OmEssentials

Greater New York City Area

Yoga Nidra For Menstrual Disturbances – Balancing Yoga and Hormones

Over the past few months, several published clinical trials continue to confirm the efficacy of Yoga Nidra in treating various menstrual disturbances (blood pressure, postural hypotension, muscular strength, heart rate expiration, mild to moderate anxiety, pain & GI problems). With several hundred women participating in the 3 studies referenced below, regular yoga nidra practice over 6 month periods resulted in significant improvements in pain symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, urogenital symptoms, mild anxiety/depressive symptoms, blood pressure, heart rate and muscular strength were made.

The fluctuations of certain hormones during menstruation that cause discomfort, pain, anxiety, etc. is common knowledge. From a clinical nutrition perspective, cleaning up the diet by avoiding sugar, saturated fat, caffeine and salt while focusing on a more plant based diet is a must. Specific nutrient focus on supplementing with magnesium, calcium and nutrients to help build red blood cells (B12, folic acid, B6, nucleotides, spirulina, wheta grass and gentle forms of iron such as iron bisglycinate) are recommended. Finally, special attention to balancing hormones is in order here and the use of certain herbs such as dong quai, ashwaganda, black cohosh and chaste berry have been helpful. Finally, a good whole food multivitamin/mineral is highly recommended.

Here are the references:

1) Effect of Yoga Nidra on physiological variables in patients of menstrual disturbances of reproductive age group. Monika, Singh U, et al., Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Apr-Jun;56(2):161-7.

2) Yoga Nidra as a complementary treatment of anxiety and depressive symptoms in patients with menstrual disorder. Rani K, et al., Int J Yoga. 2012 Jan;5(1):52-6.

3) Six-month trial of Yoga Nidra in menstrual disorder patients: Effects on somatoform symptoms.
Rani K, et al., Ind Psychiatry J. 2011 Jul;20(2):97-102.



Harvard, Brigham Study: Yoga Eases Veterans PTSD Symptoms

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The words “Department of Defense” and “yoga” aren’t often uttered in the same breath, let alone in a long, conscious, exhale.

But preliminary results from a small study funded by the U.S. Defense Department, and led by a Harvard Medical School assistant professor, found that veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder showed improvement in their symptoms after ten weeks of yoga classes, including meditation and breathing, done twice a week, and fifteen minutes of daily practice at home.

“PTSD is a disorder involving dysregulation of the stress response system, and one of the most powerful effects of yoga is to work on cognitive and physiological stress,” says Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and the principal investigator of the yoga study. “What we believe is happening, is that through the control of attention on a target — the breath, the postures, the body — that kind of awareness generates changes in the brain, in the limbic system, and these changes in thinking focus more in the moment, less in the past, and it quiets down the anxiety-provoking chatter going on in the head. People become less reactive and the hormone-related stress cycle starts to calm down.”

Full article at link:


Another related story:

Why the Military Uses Yoga to Treat PTSD

“The take-orders mindset of the armed forces and the go-your-own-way flow of yoga seem totally opposed, but researchers believe that yoga can be an effective alternative therapy for PTSD among veterans returning home with physical and mental trauma. Studies show that yoga can “unfreeze” the nervous system, alleviating PTSD symptoms. Unlike prescription medications, yoga does not cause undesirable side effects like addiction, lethargy, or weight gain.” Full article at link:

And more:Research on Yoga and PTSD:



Yoga Aids in Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction

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“Colin Farrell, a 36-year old actor, recently went public about his love for yoga and how it has helped him to recover from drug and alcohol addiction.

Farrell is not the only person who has turned to yoga as a means to recovery. In fact, some addiction treatment programs use the practice of yoga as a tool to aid in recovery.

The good news is that those who are in bondage to addictions have the ability to recover if they have the desire to do so. This article will focus on how the use of yoga can aid in the journey to recovery.

History of yoga for addiction treatment

Even though yoga has been used to improve mental and physical health for over 5,000 years, it has only made its way into drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in the last 10-years.

Five ways yoga helps those in recovery

-Impulse control

Yoga promotes impulse control, attentiveness and concentration. This is important because many people who use drugs and alcohol feel a compulsion to follow through with their cravings to use. In addition, they are more likely than others to allow their thoughts and emotions rule them and how they react to life.

-Deep breathing

Coping skills are needed for those seeking recovery, and yoga helps by teaching deep breathing that is a useful tool.

-Inner peace

The practice of yoga offers both a mind and body experience at the same time unlike regular cardiovascular exercise or talk therapy which only offer one or the other. Yoga poses (asanas) mixed with deep breathing can bring about inner harmony.

-Cleansing of the body

Many yoga poses can aid in detoxifying and cleansing the body of toxins that have built up due to drug and alcohol use. For example, half lord of the fishes pose stimulates the liver and kidneys. The supported headstand stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands, which aids in helping the body rid itself of toxins more effectively.

-Connection with a higher power

Yoga incorporates meditation which can help one connect with their higher power, such as God. Prayer and meditation both help one to feel closer to their higher power. During mediation, you can softly close your eyes and create your own place of safety and tranquility. It can be the beach, mountains or wherever you feel most at ease. Conversation with your higher power and giving your worries over to the God of your understanding are both powerful tools that can be incorporated into your chosen place.”–spt.html


Studies Show Yoga Helps to Manage Agoraphobia

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Fear is associated with the Sacral chakra—the highlighted chakra this month. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives the environment to be difficult or embarrassing to escape.

Studies Show Yoga Helps to Manage Agoraphobia

• A 1992 study done at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found mindfulness meditation to be an effective means of reducing and controlling anxiety symptoms in patients with panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder accompanied by agoraphobia. More recent research has confirmed the benefits of other kinds of meditation, as well.

• Not only does shallow breathing increase anxiety, but panic attacks affect the body’s autonomic nervous system, increasing heart beat, trembling and sweating and making breathing difficult. Pranayama, one of the main tenets of Yoga, uses breathing techniques to calm the nervous system and reverse physical and psychological symptoms.

• The goal of Yoga is union of the mind, body, and spirit. Some poses, however, are particularly helpful in coping with agoraphobia. Restorative poses, inversions and forward bends burn nervous energy and reduce anxiety. “Yoga for Stress Relief,” a DVD by Yoga instructor Barbara Benagh, includes a 30-minute lecture by the Dalai Lama on stress reduction and a collection of 20 different routines that target individual concerns.


Related articles:—How-to-Get-Rid-of-Anxiety-Attacks&id=2191674


Yoga Therapy for eating disorders

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This newsletter’s healthy news focuses on eating disorders and the benefits of yoga. (Scroll down below for the healthy news.) This subject is near and dear to a good friend of mine, the owner of Krista Artista Gallery in Anoka, Krista Rothmaler.

My regular readers and students know that I have been teaching Thursday nights at this wonderful gallery I often refer to as the absolute best gift shop/gallery I have ever been to. Let me repeat that again—the absolute BEST gift shop/gallery I have EVER been to! I don’t say that lightly. Krista Artista Gallery features the work of more than seventy local artists, with everything from paintings to pottery, woodcuts to woodturnings, jewelry to glass. Seriously, I challenge you to go there and not find at least one item you simply can’t live without. Add to that the big heart of the gallery’s owner, Krista, and you have an idea of why I adore this place. (See the Happenings Section below for her exciting news about her move to Main Street in Anoka!) Read on for the story of one of Krista’s many charitable works:

About these t-shirts:

“Casey” is a local teenager and gifted young artist. Some of you may remember the pretty painted flower pots she sold here last summer.

She has also been battling anorexia for several years and has been in and out of treatment. Her mother told me that her illness began after intense bullying by a group of “mean girls”. Since October she has been at an inpatient facility in Arizona.

I have been writing to Casey and trying to figure out a way to help her and her family with the staggering expense of her care. Recently, Casey’s mom stopped by to show me a “doodle” that Casey had done. Right away I had the thought of putting it on t-shirts, even if it was just to help Casey believe in the value of her artistic gift. 100% of the $15 purchase price will go to her and her family. I am donating the actual cost of the shirts.

The world needs people like Casey. Her grandmother told me she “sings like an angel.” Maybe in this small way we can help her find her voice again.


An excellent article on Yoga and eating disorders from Casa Palmera’s Website:

Casa Palmera is an exclusive, private freestanding behavioral health treatment facility. We provide help and healing to individuals and families needing treatment for drug and
alcohol problems, eating disorders as well as chronic pain and trauma/mood disorders.

Yoga and Eating Disorders

Yoga has helped many women with eating disorders learn to accept their body and recover from their illness.  A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly reported that mind-body exercises, such as yoga, are associated with greater body satisfaction and fewer symptoms of eating disorders than traditional aerobic exercise like running or using cardio machines. Why is this?

One simple answer is the goal of traditional aerobic exercise versus the goal of yoga. Aerobic exercise is often performed in order to burn calories and lose weight, which directly feeds into the fears and goals of an eating disorder. The more you exercise, the thinner you’re supposed to become. The problem is that an eating disorder distorts your self-image, so even if you’re fit or losing weight, you will see a fat person in the mirror. This creates a vicious cycle of self-judgment, self-loathing and the compulsive need to exercise more or restrict calories in order to lose weight. There is also a mind-body disconnect found in the gym: the music is blaring through headphones, the televisions are keeping you distracted, and you’re constantly comparing your body to other people in the gym.

The goal of yoga, on the other hand, is to teach you how to strengthen your body, your mind and the connection between the two. During yoga, you’ll practice poses that challenge people to build not only strength and stamina, but also mindfulness, stillness and physical and inner balance. The only way to maneuver through difficult poses is to listen to your body, trust your body, and let go of any ego or judgment.

“This heightened sensitivity and responsiveness to bodily sensations is associated with less preoccupation of physical appearance, more positive views of the body, and more healthy regulation of food intake,” says the study’s author, Jennifer Daubenmier.

This may be why the study found that people who practice yoga report less self-objectification, greater satisfaction with physical appearance, and fewer disordered eating attitudes compared to non-yoga practitioners. “Through yoga, this study suggests that women [and men] have intuitively discovered a way to buffer themselves against the messages that tell them that only a thin and ‘beautiful’ body will lead to happiness and success,” the author explains.

Yoga Therapy for Eating Disorders

Many eating disorder treatment centers today offer yoga therapy to help patients release feelings of negative self-worth and transform their relationship with their body. So how does yoga therapy work?

First, let’s look at the effects yoga has on the mind. During yoga class, the teacher constantly reminds students to let go of negative thoughts, let go of judgment, and let go of ego — the tiny voice inside that tells you to ignore your body’s cues and push yourself beyond what your body currently wants in order to hit a pose or to look like the person practicing next to you. There is no comparing in yoga: each person is on his or her individual journey. What you may be able to do one day in class, you may not be able to do another day; and what the person is doing next to you should have no affect on what you’re doing on your own mat. There is a saying in yoga that there is not right or wrong, no good or bad, no better or best.

Finally, let’s look at the effects yoga has on the body. Yoga is a centuries-old practice that has been developed to stimulate very specific points in the body, called chakras, that allow energy to flow through the body. There are seven major chakras on the body, and each one is associated with different types of physical, mental and emotional well-being. The first chakra, which is located at the base of the spine, has to do with the physical body, survival and safety. If this chakra is blocked an individual may feel fearful, anxious, insecure and frustrated. The second chakra, located in the belly, is associated with self-worth, confidence, emotions and intuition. If this chakra is blocked a person may feel emotionally explosive, obsessed with sexual thoughts, or lack energy. The third chakra, located below the breastbone, has to do with ego, impulses, anger and strength. When the third Chakra is out of balance you may lack confidence, be confused, worry about what others think, feel that others are controlling your life, and may be depressed. Each yoga pose has its own purpose in terms of stimulating these chakras, and studies show that yoga improves all sorts of physical and mental ailments associated with these chakras.

Yoga and Eating Disorder Treatment at Casa Palmera

At Casa Palmera we believe that treating a person’s entire well-being — their physical, mental and spiritual health — is the fastest path to full recovery from an eating disorder. Our residential eating disorder treatment program will provide individual therapy, group support, nutritional counseling and holistic treatments such as yoga to reconnect your body with your mind and spirit.

Don’t let an eating disorder control your body and mind any longer. Call Casa Palmera and start the journey to healing today: 866.768.6719.



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Scientific studies have shown that real relaxation and yoga nidra helps with a variety of physical and mental problems.

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Scientific studies have shown that real relaxation and yoga nidra helps with a variety of physical and mental problems. It can boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, and decrease pain.

Here you’ll find some answers to frequently asked questions about Yoga Nidra compliments of Julie Lusk’s PDF referenced below.

 What is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra is a powerful technique that yoga sages have been using for thousands of years. Yoga Nidra means “yogic sleep.” Yoga Nidra refers to a state of consciousness and not to a particular technique. It’s a state of conscious deep sleep that goes far beyond deep relaxation to a place of intrinsic peace and quiet. It’s a glorious place where awareness remains yet the thinking mind withdraws. What’s experienced is awareness without words, thoughts, images, feelings and other sensations.

It’s where our innate wisdom, intelligence and intuition naturally reside.

Is Yoga Nidra different from meditation and hypnosis?

Yes. In meditation, we stay awake and notice, observe and remain undisturbed when thoughts, words, feelings, beliefs, and images appear and disappear. In hypnosis, we’re in a brain wave state that is not as deep as in yoga nidra. With hypnosis, someone else makes suggestions to us in this altered state. In Yoga Nidra, positive suggestions originate and come from within ourselves for lasting and constructive change. This is called setting a resolve, or sankalpa.

What are the benefits of Yoga Nidra?

With regular practice, your health will undoubtedly improve. Scientific studies have shown that real relaxation and yoga nidra helps with a variety of physical and mental problems. It can boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, and decrease pain. Though it’s not a substitute for sleeping, one hour of yoga nidra equals about 4 hours of typical sleep because the brain wave state we’re in is extremely restful and relaxing. You’ll enjoy living with a clear head. Eventually, mood swings and emotional upsets won’t bother you. Your creativity and intuition will flourish in a positive and productive way. Plus, your energy increases.

How is Yoga Nidra Done?
During our process of Yoga Nidra, you’ll be invited to get comfortable lying down on a yoga mat or something similar. Feel free to use a cover for warmth and pillows under your head and knees for comfort. Then, you’ll mentally follow your breath for a while. This helps you relax and clear your mind of restlessness. Next, we’ll take a conscious tour through the body. This technique is called “rotation of consciousness.” The map being used corresponds to the motor cortex in the brain. Refer to the diagram below. Using this body map strengthens all the brain/body connections and influences the brain itself. It’s been recommended to always use the same map each time Yoga Nidra is practiced. From here, we’ll use another special breathing technique that further balances your body, mind, and spirit.”

Read the full PDF, see the featured CD below, and visit Julie Lusk’s website ( for more luscious information on Yoga Nidra! Also, see the “Meditation On The Go” and Featured CD section of this newsletter for more on Yoga Nidra! For more articles on Yoga Nidra Research go to :


Listen to Music for a Better Brain and Body

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Listen to Music for a Better Brain and Body

Research suggests that listening to music bestows mind-body benefits in the following ways:

  • Music improves your brain. Music — of any kind — fires neurons in the brain that in turn boost memory and mental powers. Got kids? Take them to concerts. They’ll do better in reading and math.
  • Slow tunes lower blood pressure. To dial down high blood pressure, spend 30 minutes a day breathing along to the beat of slow, soothing numbers (think Norah Jones or Frank Sinatra, not Lady Gaga or Ice Cube).
  • Music keeps your ears young. Older musicians don’t experience typical aging in the part of the brain (the auditory cortex) that often leads to hearing troubles. But you don’t have to be Bono to benefit. It’s never too late to start taking, oh, guitar or piano lessons and preventing age-related auditory changes. How reliable are your ears?
  • Music relieves stress. Listening to music lowered heart rates by as much as 5 beats per minute in critically ill hospital patients hooked up to breathing machines — enough of a drop to significantly ease anxiety and help them heal.
  • A good beat keeps you moving. Pick motivating music for your workout and you’re likely to exercise harder and longer, bolster heart health, and lose more body fat.


Reduce Wrinkles by Decreasing Stress

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Reduce Wrinkles by Decreasing Stress

Author: Lindelle Jones

Endless amounts of resources and funds have been spent on make-up, anti-ageing products and remedies, Botox and cosmetic surgery. There are more natural and healthy methods of reducing the signs of ageing like yoga, meditation, facial exercises*, getting more sleep and drinking more water.

There is one predominant and common answer to preventing premature wrinkles. Wrinkles are caused by constant frowning or worrying, which creates lines and grooves in the face. In a neutral state our face is relaxed and smooth. Years of worry and stress can produce premature wrinkles. There is an alternative to anti-ageing products, miracle cures and surgeries and it can be applied much earlier than wrinkles appear. This method is called reducing stress and is the most effective way to retain your youthful exuberance.

In recent studies, doctors discovered that there is a correlation between chronic or constant stress to premature ageing. Telomeres are structures in the body that are attached to the ends of chromosomes. These attachments shorten with age. With persons that undergo and deal with stress constantly, these structures weaken much earlier than they should and give the impression that the person is aged. Your face reacts in the same way your body does when it’s stressed. Most people are unaware of this fact. When you are tense your body also releases free radicals, which ages and harms the healthy cells in your body. This results in rapid ageing. Essentially, your facial muscles react to your emotions and show its stress, tension or fear. When you are unhappy, you frown and these create lines around your mouth. When you are angry, your face is firm and rigid which creates crow’s feet or fine lines around your eyes. Every action has a reaction.

Stress etches lines in your face. If you were to look in the mirror while upset, you will realize the lines and furrows that are visible there. Whenever stressed try and think of the positives. This will lessen the tension in your face and prolong those pesky wrinkles. Take life at its natural pace. Overworking your body is not good for you and only causes more stress. There is rarely a need for toxic products and surgical procedures to be administered to turn back the hands of time. Many anti-ageing creams and serums contain many substances that are not safe or healthy for the skin. Eating healthy regularly is the best way to maintain beautiful skin. Botox is usually injected into the wrinkles on the face and helps to smooth them. Botox is a very expensive procedure and needs to be re-administered every five to six months. Collagen injections are most common in anti-ageing and like Botox need to be re-administered over time. Both of these procedures can leave the face very unnatural and makes the skin look like plastic over time.

It is important to remain stress free and happy throughout your young life in order to retain your youth. Stress results in wrinkles and fine lines appearing before their time. Improve your happiness by participating in events, being around family, or practicing a well loved hobby. Happiness will improve your health and your looks. (See the Chakrascope section for simple suggestions for increasing joy during this holiday season.)

*You probably already know I teach yoga! This is just a friendly reminder that I also teach meditation/breathwork classes as well as facial exercise classes. If you’re interested, please link to my website for more information:


Health Buzz: Yoga Calms Irregular Heartbeat

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Study: Yoga Reduces Episodes of Atrial Fibrillation

Doing the downward dog could help calm a dangerously fast heartbeat. New research suggests that yoga nearly halves episodes of atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm condition that affects millions and increases the likelihood of stroke. In a small study, 49 patients ages 25 to 70 who had atrial fibrillation spent 45 minutes doing yoga three times a week for three months. During that time, participants experienced an average of 2.1 episodes of atrial fibrillation, compared to 3.8 episodes during the three months prior to beginning yoga.

They also showed fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression related to their condition, according to findings presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans. “It appears yoga has a significant impact on helping to regulate patients’ heartbeat and improves the overall quality of life,” study author Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, an associate professor with the University of Kansas Hospital, told Reuters. However, it’s no replacement for standard medical therapy, he warned: “Based on my findings, one should not tell patients that yoga will fix everything and they can stop taking their anticoagulants. Yoga is strictly a supplement for everything else they are doing medically.”

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“Advanced yogis for a long time have disproven the idea that heart rate is automatically determined by physiological need,” noted Dr. Scott Shurmur, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.We know that meditation, yoga etc, really do provide some conscious altering of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This is the first time I’ve seen results on atrial fibrillation and its tangible evidence.”

“Absolutely, yoga can play a role in the management of atrial fibrillation,” says Dr. Louis Teichholz, medical director of the cardiac service and chief of complementary medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, who points to the breathing component of yoga — especially Prana yoga — as the key ingredient.


Practicing yoga helps balance the stress hormone cortisol enough to ease the pain of fibromyalgia sufferers

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“York University researchers found last month that practicing yoga helps balance the stress hormone cortisol enough to ease the pain of fibromyalgia sufferers. Just imagine what it could do for that undiagnosed pain in your a**.  Study participants practiced 75 minutes of yoga twice a week for 8 weeks and reported significant reductions in pain and associated symptoms as well as psychological benefits like feeling more accepting of their condition, more hopeful, and less helpless. If yoga can make a chronic disease seem manageable, what else might it make seem easier?”  (September 13, 2011 Women’s Health Yoga Connection email

To read more about the study, go to:


Kirtan Kriya meditation shows promise in research of memory functions

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Kirtan Kriya meditation shows promise in research of memory functions

“In three separate studies published this year and in one that is on-going, Kirtan Kriya, as taught by the Kundalini master Yogi Bhajan, was shown to increase short term memory, cognitive function and to reduce stress.”

“Meditation has been used for thousands of years to alter consciousness. Now scientists have shown that a 12-minute daily meditation can alter the memory, too, for the better.

Fifteen people ages 52 to 77 diagnosed with documented memory deficits were taught a type of meditation called Kirtan Kriya. Seven members of the group had mild age-associated memory impairment, five had mild cognitive impairment, and three had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. (One patient was excluded from the results because her memory problems prevented her from performing the meditation adequately.)

The type of Kirtan Kriya meditation that the participants performed consisted of sitting comfortably in a chair or on the floor and repeating four sounds — Sa, Ta, Na, Ma — while sequentially touching their thumb to their index finger, middle finger, fourth finger and pinkie. They performed the meditation aloud for two minutes, in a whisper for two minutes, in silence for four minutes, in a whisper for two more minutes, and finally out loud for two minutes.

After eight weeks, brain scans revealed that the people showed increased blood flow in brain areas crucial to memory. Also, tests of verbal fluency, logical memory and other skills showed significant improvement according to the researchers, who reported their results in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

A comparison group of five people with memory problems who listened to Mozart violin concertos for 12 minutes a day showed no such improvements.

‘Anyone can do this,’ said Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., one of the lead authors of the article and the medical director of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson, Ariz. ‘The people in the study had no experience with meditation, and yet by activating their brain with 12 minutes of meditation a day, they were able to improve their cognition and mental function. It really made their brain healthier.’

But there’s nothing special about this particular form of meditation, according to Khalsa, other than it’s easy to learn and takes little time.

‘Any type of meditation is good for your body and brain,’ he said. ‘The most fascinating thing about meditation is that the brain loves it.’

Khalsa started practicing transcendental meditation more than three decades ago, after the Beatles went to India to learn the technique from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

‘I think it’s a good technique,’ Khalsa said. ‘It reduces stress and promotes relaxation with only 20 minutes of meditation twice a day. Kirtan Kriya meditation takes only 12 minutes a day, plus it’s essentially free. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to learn it.’”

Read full article:

Here a link to this same meditation technique from Yogamint (there are also free PDF accessible instructions that you can link to from that page):

A similar meditation technique is described further on with further benefits (see link to both a video and a free PDF instructional download below):  Thoughts flow in and out of your consciousness continually — the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s what you do with them that makes the difference between a happy, flowing life that moves you forward and one that leaves you stuck in the past lost, hurt, angry and in regret. This elevating kriya brings the left and right hemispheres of the brain into balance and allows you to process and let go of the past, so that you can create new and positive ways to move ahead. Practice for 11-31 minutes per day. The hemispheres of the brain will balance; the past will be processed and dumped; and insecurity will vaporize:

Another link to the 12 minute meditation technique, as described in the article, can also be found at my favorite Yoga Nidra expert’s website, Wholesome Resources from Julie Lusk: She also offers a CD of the meditation on this link!  This meditation “will increase your ability to solve problems and have better concentration and memory in only 8 weeks with daily practice. It combines a specific mantra, with hand mudras and mental focus.  It totally takes the mystery out of meditating.” (April 5 e-mail newsletter from Julie Lusk.)

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation CD available.

This is how to do the Sa Ta Na Ma meditation to improve your memory


Can Meditation Help Your Heart?

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Can Meditation Help Your Heart?

A mind-body practice long used to calm the mind, meditation may benefit your heart. Although research on meditation and heart health is fairly limited, some studies suggest that taking up a meditation practice may boost your defense against heart disease (the leading cause of death in the United States).

How Can Meditation Help Your Heart?

Meditation is thought to reduce stress, a risk factor for heart disease. There’s some evidence that meditation may rev up activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is involved in lowering blood pressure and heart rate during periods of relaxation.

The Science Behind Meditation and Heart Health

To date, most of the data on meditation and heart health come from relatively small studies. For instance, a 2006 study of 62 adults found that mindfulness meditation may help lower blood pressure and increase respiratory sinus arrhythmia (a measure of parasympathetic nervous system activity). Published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the study found that meditation had a greater effect on heart health than progressive muscle relaxation. In addition, a 2010 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that three one-hour mindfulness meditation sessions decreased heart rate, improved mood, and eased fatigue. (The study involved 82 people with no prior experience in meditation.)

Several studies have focused on the heart health benefits of transcendental meditation, a type of meditation that involves repeating a mantra. In a 2002 report from the journal Australian Family Physician, for example, researchers analyzed the available research on transcendental mediation’s cardiovascular effects and found that the practice may help keep blood pressure in check, fight atherosclerosis, improve the health of heart disease patients, and promote smoking cessation.

Should You Use Meditation to Fight Heart Disease?

It’s too soon to recommend meditation for prevention or treatment of heart disease. However, taking up meditation may have a positive impact on your overall health, due to its stress-reducing benefits. Mind-body practices like yoga and tai chi may also help alleviate your stress.

It should be noted that using meditation (or any other alternative therapy) in place of standard treatment for heart disease can have serious health consequences. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor about how to incorporate meditation into your health routine.



It only makes sense that balance is affected by anxiety, right? But can balance improvement affect anxiety level? Researchers now think so!

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It only makes sense that balance is affected by anxiety, right?  But can balance improvement affect anxiety level?  Researchers now think so!

“If you’ve had anxiety problems for long enough you may have experienced balance problems.  You may have felt like the ground was moving, or like you were going to literally fall down.  This phenomenon is in fact a common symptom related to anxiety disorders.  Researchers now believe that if anxiety sufferers improve their balance through physical exercises they may be able to reduce their level of anxiety.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University have discovered a link between anxiety and balance problems by studying children with General Anxiety Disorder.  During the research study children with GAD and children without GAD (control group) were asked to perform several balance exercises.  These exercises revealed that most children with GAD had a difficult time performing the various balancing activities.

In addition, after a 12 week course of “sensory motor intervention” the children with GAD showed a noticeable improvement in their levels of anxiety.  The intervention is mainly based on physical therapy exercises aimed at strengthening balance.

Although it’s unclear if anxiety causes balance issues or vice versa what is clear to researchers is that treating the mind through physical movement is possible.

This led me on a search for balance exercises that might fit the mold.  There are exercises designed specifically to improve balance, such as plantar, knee, hip flexion exercises, and side leg raises.  There are several other types of exercises, such as these, that could also help improve balance.

The take home message is that correcting balance problems could have a positive impact on your anxiety.  Although the research study did not include adults (wish it had) we could infer a similar effect on adults.”

And more on the same study:

Treating the Mind Through the Body

“You can’t treat children with anxiety in a cognitive way because of their immaturity and lack of operational thinking. Working with the body may be the answer,” Dr. Bart explains. The treatment therefore focused on letting the children use equipment to experience their environment and move in space. Dr. Bart found that by working with their bodies, children could work through their emotional problems, including anxiety. Dr. Bart is now working on expanding the initial results through a larger study with more control groups. The goal is to explore the exact nature of the relationship between balance and anxiety in children, and to focus the results on more specific treatment types.

“Young children who have anxiety should first be assessed for balance issues to see if that is the source of the problem,” says Dr. Bart. “We can now treat these children because we have a better understanding of the relation between these disorders.”
Source: Tel Aviv University


Loving Kindness Meditation enables you to become more satisfied with your life & experience fewer symptoms of depression!

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Study shows that Loving Kindness Meditation enables you to become more satisfied with your life and experience fewer symptoms of depression!  Time investment—only an hour or so a week?!  I’m in!

I featured my own personal Loving Kindness Meditation above in the “Meditation to Go” section above.

This study shows that “Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) enables you to become more satisfied with your life and experience fewer symptoms of depression.  As a result, greater positive emotions help build resources for living successfully.  Simply put, by elevating daily experiences of positive emotions, the practice of LKM led to long-term gains that made genuine differences in people’s lives.

The practice of LKM led to shifts in people’s daily experiences of a wide range of positive emotions, including love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope, pride, interest, amusement, and awe. This linked to increases in a variety of personal resources, including mindful attention, self-acceptance, positive relations with others, and good physical health.

Participants who invested an hour or so each week practicing this form of meditation enhanced a wide range of positive emotions in a wide range of situations, especially when interacting with others.

People judge their lives to be more satisfying and fulfilling, not because they feel more positive emotions per se, but because their greater positive emotions help them build resources for living successfully.

We find these data especially promising. LKM appears to be one positive emotion induction that keeps on giving, long after the identifiable “event” of meditation practice. Positive emotions feel good, and feelings like love, joy, and contentment can be valuable in and of themselves. Yet the broaden theory suggests that natural selection sculpted our ancestors’ positive emotions to be useful in more far-reaching ways as well. These desirable states built resources that gave our ancestors’ an edge in circumstances that impinged on their survival.”

To read more about this very detailed study, click here.


Meditators get skinny!

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Meditators get skinny!

In a study, dieters who spent about 7 minutes meditating each day experienced far fewer food cravings than their nonmeditating peers. And the meditators were far more likely to resist their cravings.

Over a 7-week period, a group of study participants was taught “mindfulness meditation.” With this method, they practiced recognizing, accepting, and experiencing their cravings rather than trying to ignore or suppress them. As a result of this meditative practice, people did a better job of holding those cravings off. Researchers think the mindfulness meditation worked better than relying on sheer willpower because the practice helped minimize the frustration and obsessive preoccupation with food triggered by trying, often unsuccessfully, to suppress food cravings.


Yoga benefits people with Rheumatoid Arthritis!

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Yoga benefits people with Rheumatoid Arthritis!

Yoga may help lessen symptoms of depression among rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to a pilot study published in 2009. After 10 weeks of taking three 75-minute yoga classes per week, 16 female rheumatoid arthritis patients experienced significant improvements in symptoms of depression. Yoga also seemed to decrease perception of pain and improve balance.

Also, according to a pilot study published in the British Journal of Rheumatology, people with RA who participated in a Yoga program over a three-month period experienced greater handgrip strength compared to those who did not practice Yoga.

Restorative yoga, anyone?

To read more: or,


Yoga for dry eyes? You bet!

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Yoga for dry eyes?  You bet!

Time on the yoga mat may be a source of relief for dry eyes. Last December, research published in the journal, Head & Face Medicine, hinted that yoga can soothe irritated eyes. Scientists in Bangalore, India, enrolled 291 employees of a software company, all of whom spent at least six hours a day in front of a computer. (Sound familiar?)

The researchers assigned half the group to a yoga class that met for an hour a day, five days a week. The class included asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breathwork), and guided relaxation. Those in the other group spent equal time in the company’s recreation center talking to friends, working out, and watching TV. By study’s end, the yogis reported a 30 percent decline in eye problems like dry eye; eye complaints increased in the other group. The authors note that relaxed people blink more, which moistens the eyes.

To read more about the research:


Sing to Your Health!

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Sing to Your Health!

Scientists recently discovered that mantra and rosary recitation have possible physiological benefits for the heart. Reciting either Sanskrit mantras or the Ave Maria prayer regulated the breath and synchronized the heart rhythms of 23 participants in a study conducted by Italian researchers. The research team speculated this happened because prayer and mantra slow the breath rate to an optimal six breaths per minute.

Both the Buddhist mantra Om mane padme hum and the Ave Maria prayer were used in the study and are generally recited in a single 10-second breath cycle, corresponding to six breaths per minute. In contrast, the average person’s breath rate is 16 to 20 breaths per minute, according to Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., a cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital and the director of the Heart Institute at Columbia University, who has pioneered the use of complementary therapies for cardiac patients. “When your internal metronome slows, you get a variety of beneficial effects,” he says, “and you also lessen the risk of catastrophic events like heart attacks and strokes.”

To read more about the study and chanting go to:


Yoga relieves the symptoms of clinical depression!

Increasing evidence indicates that regular practice of yoga is effective in reducing stress and its effects and even appears to relieve the symptoms of clinical depression.  Researchers have found that three sessions of the exercise a week can help fight off depression as it boosts levels of a chemical in the brain which is essential for a sound and relaxed mind.

Scientists found that the levels of the amino acid GABA are much higher in those that carry out yoga than those do the equivalent of a similarly strenuous exercise such as walking.  The chemical, GABA, is essential to the function of brain and central nervous system and which helps promote a state of calm within the body.  Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread anxiety disorders.

Scientists from the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, spent 12 weeks monitoring two groups of healthy individuals, half of whom walked for three hours each week, while the other half spent the same time doing yoga.  Participants brains were scanned before and after the study using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging to measure GABA levels, while they were also asked questions about their psychological wellbeing throughout the study.

Those who did yoga reported lower levels of anxiety and increases in their mood than the walkers. Professor Chris Streeter said yoga participants increased feeling of wellbeing was associated with GABA levels.

Earlier, in 2007 researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School looked at changes in levels of GABA in the brains of experienced yoga practitioners following 60 minutes of yoga practice compared to levels of GABA in the brains of control subjects who completed a 60 minute reading session. The study revealed GABA increased by 27 per cent in the yoga practitioners while it did not change in the reading group.  The researchers concluded that yoga could potentially help in conditions that involve abnormally low levels of GABA, including depression and anxiety.

For more go to:

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Cardio vs. Strength Training?

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Cardio vs. Strength Training?

How many of you believe that your yoga class doesn’t burn as many calories as your bike ride?

Contrary to a long-held belief, strength training is—as new studies have shown—superior to steady-state cardio in caloric burn. Although going for a bike ride or jog does burn major calories, a recent study from the University of Southern Maine shows that weight training may offer more bang for your buck in the calorie-burning department than cardio.

Participants in the study burned as many calories doing 30 minutes of weight training (it doesn’t mention what types of exercises or the equipment used) as they did going for a 30-minute run at a lightning fast six-minute-per-mile pace. Since running at that speed for that long is better left for those training for winning marathons, it seems that if you’re looking to burn calories, strength training is your best bet.

Aside from burning calories, weight training also makes you stronger and gives your muscles that chiseled look you’re after. As if that wasn’t enough, strength training also boosts your metabolism, with some exercise physiologists estimating that the body continues to burn calories for up to 36 hours after your workout.

You’re wondering about the yoga connection? Let me just add that yoga uses your own body weight, and according to Nicholas DiNubile, MD, author of FrameWork: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints. “Yoga can be just as effective as weights when it comes to developing a stronger, more impressive physique …”

Think yoga is way too passive to give your body the boost it’s been looking for? Here’s why yoga moves just may help your muscles reach your fitness goals even faster!

It’s convenient and cheaper

It helps to prevent injuries

It can improve your next workout

It teaches muscles to work properly

It gives muscles more stamina

To read more about yoga for strength training, go to:


Calming Yoga Poses and your face

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Stressed out skin? Stress is one of the main causes of acne. Calming yoga poses can combats stress and promote circulation to the face!

We all know that yoga can help with a host of ailments, from promoting weight loss to alleviating depression. But what about acne? Can you stretch your way to smooth, blemish-free skin?

Like most health conditions, acne has more than one cause. Gary Kraftsow, founder of the American Viniyoga Institute and author of Yoga for Wellness, says that while yoga can’t address all of acne’s causes, such as a genetic predisposition to breakouts, a targeted yoga practice can help with others by combating stress and promoting circulation to the face.

One of the main causes of acne is stress, says Kraftsow. Or, more specifically, an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (the system that controls breathing, heart rate, digestion and sexual arousal). Stress — whether physical, emotional or even dietary — creates this imbalance by stimulating the sympathetic subsystem, often referred to as the “fight or flight” response. The sympathetic response makes your heart beat faster, floods the body with hormones (including adrenalin) and diverts blood away from the digestive system and the skin. This can trigger acne outbreaks.

But what if “stressed out” is your status quo? That’s where yoga comes in.

“There are many calming postures that encourage the parasympathetic or ‘rest and repose’ response instead,” says Liz Lark, a yoga teacher and co-author of Healing Yoga.

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