Tuesday, June 16, 2015

5 Reasons to Practice Yoga at the studio this Summer!

Many people let their studio yoga practice go over the summer months. Just ask our fellow Yoga teachers and studio owners and they will tell you that at this time of the year they long for September for the energy of full classes again. It is really important to keep practicing with a qualified teacher over the summer months for many reasons.
1. Practicing under the guidance of a qualified teacher in a studio space is paramount to safe and effective practice. As instructors, it's their job to teach you proper alignment and safe modifications for your body. This is not always possible when practicing on a beach or in a park where there may be really large groups of people. Not to mention that it is bumpy outside! There are many distractions outside and no way to control how many or who is coming to the practice.  Outdoor classes, while fun and nurturing, are meant to supplement the learning environment of the studio.
2. Consistent practice helps you maintain a level head in the hotter temperatures. Summer may seem less stressful but even “good” stress can reek havoc on your nervous system. Kids are home and under foot, folks are getting married, you are running to and from the cottage, etc., etc. Give yourself the opportunity to sink into the familiarity of your practice and your studio.
3. Speaking of kids: Take the summer to use the studio as a way to introduce your younger teenagers to the healing and sustaining practice of Yoga. This is a wonderful way to spend time together. 
4. The warmer weather makes you more flexible and when your body is this open with the natural heat of the environment you can safely reach places in your practice that you just can’t access by simply jumping into a warm (or hot) room from cooler temperatures the rest of the year.  When you naturally invite your body to experience this type of deepening in your practice you can create new neural pathways that your body will gracefully remember in the cooler weather. Because of this Yoga is the perfect compliment to the vigorous summer activities that most of us love.
5.  Last but not least:  We miss you!  The energy at the studio is just not the same without you.  When you come inside from your summer routine for a class you get the benefit of a great practice and you get to catch up with new and old friends!
So grab your mat and come on inside for a class.  The rest of your day, week, and summer will be better for it!

Monday, May 18, 2015

What is the Raindrop Technique?

Raindrop Technique is a powerful technique using essential oils that was developed by D. Gary Young of Young Living Oils in the 1980s. It combines several holistic modalities to bring balance and alignment to the body in a non-invasive manner. It also stimulates all the body systems on a physical and emotionally level.

What is Raindrop Technique?
This technique involves applying therapeutic grade essential oils to the spine, neck and feet. The session lasts about an hour however the benefits may last up to a week or more.
Gary Young found that combining several holistic techniques, described below, created a synergistic effect for the body. The three modalities that combine to form Raindrop Technique are:
  • Aromatherapy – Raindrop technique uses seven single essential oils, two blends and one essential oil massage blend during the session. It is congruent with the French application of aromatherapy where essential oils are applied NEAT (undiluted) to the body.
  • Vita Flex Technique – Vita Flex was brought to the US in the 1920s by Stanley Burroughs. It is an ancient Tibetan healing methodology meaning "vitality through the reflexes". Its theory is based on the fact that slight pressure applied to the body creates an electric charge that is therapeutic to the body. 
  • Feather Stroking - This is similar to a massage term technique called effleurage. But this technique was actually termed by the Native American Indians.
    How does Raindrop get its Name?
    Essential oils are actually dropped from about 6 inches above your spine, simulating rain drops! It feels like a rain drop gently striking your spine, and it is very relaxing and comforting.
    It is thought that the oils interact with a person's electric field before even penetrating the skin of the back. Thereby, enhancing the electromagnetic properties of the oils as well. Amazing!
    What is the Concept behind Feather Stroking?
    While visiting with the Lakota people, he learned that they went to Canada to experience the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis (before there were border crossings and reservations). The Lakota people would raise their hands toward the light and breathe in the energy of the lights for healing purposes.
    Once the Lakota people could no longer cross the border, they created a stroking technique along the spine using a feather that simulated the healing energy of the Aurora Borealis. And this is the massage technique that was taught to Gary Young and is named feather stroking.
    What are the Benefits of Raindrop Technique?
    There are numerous benefits of the Raindrop Technique. Here are just a few:
    • Balance and Re-align the Energy Centers of the Body – The combination of techniques brings electrical and structural alignment to the body. The essential oil blend of Valor helps the body align and is often referred to as "chiropractor in the bottle".
    • Non-Manipulative Technique – No manipulation as in chiropractic is performed. The oils help support the body to come back into balance by opening energy flow throughout the body.
    • Reduce Stress and Minor Anxiety - Not only can the oils enhance positive emotions such as joy and happiness, but they can also help us release negative emotions that are subconsciously stored on a cellular level. See the section on stress for more information!
    • Aid the Body's Natural Response to Irritation and Injury – Thyme and Oregano support the immune, respiratory, nervous, and other body systems. They are strong antioxidants.
    • Ease Occasional Muscle, Bone, and Joint Discomfort – Muscles that are sore, spastic or stressed will also benefit. Basil, Wintergreen, Marjoram, Cypress and Peppermint essential oils reduce tension in muscles. Wintergreen supports healthy bone structure. See the section on oils for muscles for more information!
    • Improve Immune System Functions – Thyme and Oregano essential oils support the immune system; and aid in the release of toxins in the body. This will contribute positively to your overall health and well being.
    • Emotional Well Being and Release – Essential oils cross the blood-brain barrier and effect the limbic system where emotions are stored 
    • Help Detox the Body Systems – The oils being high in phenols cleanse cellular receptor sites and enhance cleansing of the body.
    • Increase in Height – Yes, most people experience a slight increase in their height! I have seen changes from ½ to 1 inch! This is due to the realignment of the spine and detoxification along the spinal column.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Reiki - The Short Answer

I am often asked what reiki is and what it can do. Well, the short answer is, every living thing, from plants, trees, animals, fish, to us humans is made up of energy. We use it, we manufacture it, we store it up for future use, and we can’t live without it. When we’re hungry, we eat a healthy(hopefully) meal to manufacture it. When we’re tired, we sleep to store it up. When we have to garden or walk across the street or otherwise move our bodies, we use it. Simple, right?
The problem is we also eat not-so-healthy foods out of boredom, frustration, or depression (think mind, body, spirit here). This in turn disturbs our sleep patterns and we don’t get the quality rest we need. The stress of everyday life only compounds the situation, and before you know it, we are run down and our energy level is out of whack. You may know this imbalance by other names: colds, digestive disorders, headaches, stomach aches, to name just a few. When stress and energy imbalance become chronic, the effectiveness of our immune system is lowered and this can lead to more serious diseases. 
Enter reiki.  Reiki is a Japanese word which means ‘universal life force energy’. A reiki treatment helps to balance the energy in our body, strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, promotes relaxation, helps to get rid of negative emotional issues, and promotes clearer thinking in all areas of our lives. When we can think more clearly, we are better able to make healthier decisions in our lives. It is also the perfect complement to any healing regimen your doctor may prescribe.  
A treatment lasts about an hour. It is performed on a massage table, but unlike a massage you remain fully clothed, and no tissue is manipulated. The practitioner lays his/her hands on or slightly above the energy centers (chakras) of the body, leaving you calm, peaceful and relaxed.
Let reiki help restore you to the energy-filled creation you were meant to be

Guest Blogger - Nancy Getz, Reiki Master Practitioner at Bodhi Tree Yoga

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blog, Blog, Blog

Oh to blog!  Everyone thinks at one point in their life that "Hey, I have something to say, I can blog".  I have interesting stories and life experiences and I should share them with others.  I'm great to talk to in person! Through my body gestures, facial expressions, and inflections in my voice, I'm very entertaining, so I've be told.  Must be the Italian in me.  Writing is my downfall.  I'm not good with grammar, forgot all the rules long ago.  Why can't I just write what I want?  Why are there so many rules?!  I think way faster than I type, so there are always words left out or misspelled.  So if you read this and are correcting all my mistakes, then maybe this isn't the blog for you.  I have lots of things to talk about, but lately the month comes around and nothing comes to mind.  I usually find funny, witty topics to write about when I'm driving or just ready to go to sleep.  Not helpful.  So as I'm driving home from the studio tonight I decided to write about blogging.  Pretty original right!  So I rushed home, jumped on the computer and here it is!  Not really exciting, but maybe more of an observation at this point.  I really thought this was going to come so easy for me, "blogging, that's got to be right up my alley".  Honestly, its been the hardest thing I've done in a while (besides opening a yoga studio last year).  Ha, maybe that should be a topic!  So my goal for this year is to try and blog on a regular basis.  I have plenty to draw from, I just need to form the thought and get it on paper (so to say).

Happy February!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Winter is coming! Self care tips for falling into winter

Winter is coming!  That is the motto for House Stark on Game of Thrones.  Well, unfortunately I think its already here and I'm not sure any of us are ready for it.  I'm certainly not:)  Yes, I know I live in Michigan and it comes every year, blah, blah blah, but it still doesn't make it any easier, especially after the brutal winter last year.  

Here are some great tips for dealing with the transition into winter.

The philosophy of Ayurveda teaches that the five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and space—are manifest in all things. Each element has certain qualities, attributes, and impacts on the body and mind. Together, these five basic elements (pancha mahabhutas) form a system of classification for all the objects found on Earth, including the human body, the times of day, seasons of our lives, and nature’s seasons.

The transition from mid-late fall into winter is a time of year where Vata predominates. The temperature cools, and the air is dry and blustery. Vata is dominated by the elements of air and space. It’s dry, cold, quick, mobile, irregular, and unstable. In nature, this is seen in the falling leaves as they dry, change color, drop from the trees, and scatter.

When Things Are Off Balance
During this “windy” seasonal change, there’s a tendency for the body to take on the imbalances inherent in Vata. This may include a bit more anxiety and restlessness, difficulty sleeping, dry skin, constipation/gas (there’s a reason it’s called “wind”), and a general feeling of being unable to settle.

When out of balance, Vata can have an especially strong effect on the nervous system, generating fear and worry, where the mind’s thoughts move quickly or in a circular motion, leaving you feeling scattered and ungrounded. When Vata is in balance there’s an overall sense of happiness, calm, and stability. The mind is clear and alert.

Practices that can tip Vata off balance include exposure to cold and wind, irregular sleeping patterns, travel, too much going on, and unscheduled eating. Digestion can also be upset by continuing to eat the raw and pungent foods of summer, such as salads and other raw vegetables and fruits, and more spicy fare.

Making Things Right
To keep ourselves from being “blown away” during this season of transition, we also require routines that encourage strong roots and plenty of self-care.
Consider one or more of the following practices when you feel yourself becoming a bit untethered. Perhaps add one or more of these daily. The practice that’s best is the one you will do. The aim is to help restore or maintain your equilibrium during the changeable Vata season.

~Pause and Breathe
Slow down and reconnect with your breath. This centering can be done anywhere at any time. Begin with awareness, noticing where the breath originates in the body, its texture, and sound. Gradually bring the inhale and exhale into balance—about the same length. Then begin to take a gentle pause at the end of the exhale. This focus on the exhale triggers the para-sympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system, bringing a sense of calm and balance to the mind and body. 

~Start a new schedule Take advantage of the sun going down earlier. Forego late nights and gradually bring your bed time to somewhere between 10:00pm and 10:30pm. This will allow getting up a bit earlier and at the same time each morning. Eat at regular 4-6 hour intervals, avoiding late night eating. Both of these practices will encourage better sleep. 

~Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drink warming herbal teas such as those with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon.  Also moisten the nasal passages with sesame oil or a designated Nasya oil. 

~Try more stabilizing and grounding yoga asanas. If you have a regular yoga practice, add more asanas, or postures, that stabilize the hips and ground the feet. Move slowly and focus on the breath’s exhalation. Stay longer in Tadasana (Mountain pose), Utkatasana (air chair), and Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I). Try a reclined tree pose (Vrksasana) before taking it to standing. And include an inverted pose, such headstand or shoulder stand if these are part of your regular practice. Otherwise, Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) is a perfect antidote to a Vata imbalance.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fireworks - love them or hate them!?

Fireworks...  I do enjoy a good fireworks display on certain holidays and I can handle the 3 days in which you are allowed to do them in.  What I can't take is the many weeks before and after the holiday in which people are setting off fireworks at all times of the day and night.  I have 2 dogs, one is old and can't hear very well and he's ok with it.  The other one is high strung as it is and goes absolutely bonkers when she hears any kind of firework going off.  In my neck of the woods its been happening for weeks now.  Do these people not have kids or animals?  If they do, then they really don't care about how this affects them.  I'm literally at my wits end!  Every time a firework is let off, Trinket starts barking hysterically and running around trying to attack the other dog and cat.  I think the 3 day window is plenty of time for people of the world to get out all the fireworks they can handle, but no, its not.  I find it completely disrespectful to the surrounding homes and families that it makes me what to boycott fireworks all together.  I really used to enjoy watching and setting off fireworks and now I'm so COMPLETELY over it!  The other morning I heard the first one go off at 8:00am.  Was that necessary?  If people can't abide by the rules then they shouldn't be able to do them at all.  As I'm sitting here writing this blog on July 10th at 1:57pm, I can hear someone in the neighborhood letting off fireworks.  REALLY??  I would love for someone to explain to me the point of letting off fireworks in the middle of the day.  Do they look better?  Am I missing something??  I don't want this to be a complete bitch fest, but I'm done trying to be tolerant.  Hopefully they will be over with soon or you might see me on the news in a story about how a women went crazy because of fireworks:) 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Oh, my Garden!

My garden
Last year was my first venture into full on gardening.  I've always done containers in the summer and they've turned out great!  So finally, after many years I decided to take on the task of putting in a garden in my backyard.  Why have I waited so long?  Well, until a few years ago, I pretty much had full shade in my backyard.  I have an old large maple tree in the back that decided to drop some very large limbs, so now I have full sun!  Wow, what a switch!  I had no excuse anymore, so the garden become a reality last spring.  I have to say, it was the best thing I ever did!  The thrill of watching the veggies and plants grow was amazing!  Sometimes it seemed like they grew over night!  I enjoy walking around the garden everyday and seeing what's new and what I can eat right off the vine.  Who knew I liked peas!  I never thought I would get such enjoyment out of it, but I really have!  We've finally started to plant (weather hasn't been that great) and hopefully we'll have a good turn out this year.  Below are some pictures from last year and I will post more from this year as things grow.  The naughty cat liked the garden too!

My first zucchini

My watermelons