It’s been a while since I’ve written on my website/blog. With the state of the world the last couple of years drenched in chaos, uncertainty and fear, I felt the best way to get to the truth is to sit in stillness often. In stillness you find balance. In stillness you are better able to listen to your intuition. When you are reactionary, you put yourself in stress-mode, increasing your cortisol levels and lowering your immune system. Spring, however, is a reminder to come out of the darkness, reach for the light, and learn from those dark moments. Reflecting on times of chaos brings wisdom. Fear then disappears and returns one to a state of balance.
If you weren’t hit by unexpected snow storms in the past month, it is time to prep your soil for planting seeds for vegetables that will keep you healthy through the summer and fall. Don’t think of it as a spring-time chore, but as the doorway to get you outdoors for health and happiness! The health benefits of gardening not only come from the end result, but also the labour of creating a garden.
Yoga wasn’t something I actively sought out. It was more of a solution to a problem I had that eventually changed my life. In my early 20’s I was in the passenger seat of a car accident. I got a severe case of whiplash and was told to seek help from massage therapy, physical therapy, and a chiropractor for the out-of-place bones along my spine and hip. All of these were great for a while, but costly on my limited budget. I had read about yoga helping with the manipulation of muscle and bone alignment, and this is where my life-long journey to exploring yoga began for my health and sanity. What I didn’t expect is how important yoga would become when I became a mother.
I had the honor and pleasure of participating in a yoga session at my gym a few days ago with one of Colorado’s best Yoga Instructors, Gina Caputo (www.ginacaputo.com). She taught our class of over 60 people about the metaphors of yoga in daily life while in our practice. For me, the most important metaphor that resonated was not letting people take your fire.
Ms. Caputo let us understand how each section of our yoga session connected to daily life. Yoga sessions begin slow and get to a point of fire, where our muscles are burning and aching and we are certain we are going to fall over and lose our balance. Just as in life, things can get tough. We feel like the pain and suffering we are going through at certain points in our life (or people in our life are causing), are going to do us in, knock us over and not allow us to get back up again. But we do get through those painful times. The fire we feel ends at some point. No more straining. We find ourselves breathing normally again, finding a calmer point.
Yoga instructor since 1983, and author of the book, Alpha Omega Yoga: The Art and Science of Self Transformation, Angela Kolias suggests two key yoga poses for everyone, but for women going through menopause these are quite helpful for getting through menopause symptoms.
Exercise is essential when going through menopause. It helps keep the blood circulating properly, strengthens muscles, decreases stress and mood swings, and most importantly it helps keep your mind centered. Yoga is a great form of exercise to do during menopause for all these reasons, but as for helping to keep your mind centered, it is probably the best form.
Far too often when people hear the word “meditation” images of a toga-draped Buddhist sitting in an incense-filled room chanting “OM” comes to mind, but the main goal of meditation is in fact to shut off the mind and focus on breathing. Our daily lives consist of a variety of stresses leading to us unconsciously holding our breath when we feel tension. This briefly prevents oxygen from getting to our brains, sometimes making us dizzy, confused, and disoriented, and sometimes more stressed. Stress has a major effect on our hormones and when you are at the stage in your life where you are either about to enter menopause or already going through it, adding one more factor to change your hormone levels can in fact influence how your body copes with various menopause symptoms. Continue reading →