Nearly everyone experiences back pain at one time or another. In the recent past, bed rest was the standard approach to healing back pain. However, with recent scientific discoveries, doctors are now recommending that people engage in gentle activity. An integrative approach (mind/body) to healing back pain is also now more common. It is no wonder why yoga has proven to be a great way to treat your back challenges. Here are just some of the benefits:
Asana (postures) improves circulation and delivers oxygen and other nutrients to disks in the back.
Prana (breath) helps to combat an overactive stress-response, leading to relaxation of muscles in the back.
Awareness (paying attention) leads you to be attentive to your posture and alignment.
If you would like to learn more about using an integrative approach to dealing with your back pain challenges, join Maribeth MacKenzie, Certified Yoga Therapist (IAYT), for Wall to Ball class at Inlet Yoga.
Engaging in outdoor sensory experiences is an important part of Ayurveda because it is believed to help heal the body and mind. Spending time and being mindful in nature can balance your dosha and promote well-being. Here are some examples of outdoor sensory experiences that can help you balance your dosha, or mind-body type:
If you find that your mind is racing and you can’t settle it, you may be feeling ungrounded. When this happens, embrace earth’s stability. Go for a walk on the earth, grass, or sand (preferably barefoot) while being mindful of your feet. Allow them to absorb the nourishment and stability that the earth offers you. Lay on the ground, and as the rays of the warm sun blanket you, remember that it is the source of life on earth.
If you are feeling overheated and irritable, spend time near natural bodies of water. Take a slow walk while being mindful of the sound and cooling effects of water; allow the water to calm and soothe you. If you do not live near natural bodies of water, take a walk in nature or lie in the grass in your yard or a park. Think of all that nature provides for you and feel gratitude for the plants, sky, and earth that surround and support you.
If you are feeling dull and lethargic, focus on the space and air of the breath. Take a brisk walk or run in nature. Be mindful of the infinite sky and space that is unbounded. Inhale the life force that surrounds you and consciously recognize that it is the breath that gives you life. Picture the breath coming into your lungs and heart and flowing to the rest of your body. Consider all that your breath does for you every second of the day, without your conscious attention.
Joining your friends at Inlet Yoga for Sunrise Beach Yoga is a great way to balance all dosha types. Click here to view the times and locations.
Understanding your dosha type, and using your natural environment to balance it, can help you experience well-being. Learn more about the benefits of Ayurveda and your specific mind-body type to delve even deeper into wellness.
Discover how to balance your mind-body type even further by participating in a personalized 7-day Ayurveda program at Inlet Yoga. Click here for more information.
When is the last time you spent time outdoors? How did it feel? Did you feel energized and revitalized afterward? Surprisingly, although most Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, most feel their best after spending time outdoors.
There are reasons why you feel good, both physically and mentally, when you spend time in nature. Here are some of those reasons:
1. Improves Physical Health
When you get outside it allows your body to receive vitamin D that the sun’s rays provide naturally. Vitamin D has been found to help protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain cancers. Sun exposure has also been found to help your body produce nitric oxide, which is a compound that lowers blood pressure.
2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
According to the National Academy of Science, depression levels can be lowered when people walk in outdoor environments. Making time to observe the sights and sounds in nature can elicit relaxation, lower cortisol levels, slow pulse rates, and reduce blood pressure.
3. Makes You Feel Revitalized
Environment rubs off on people. Therefore, when you consider how the elements found in nature are teeming with life, it is no wonder that being outdoors makes you feel alive as well.
4. Boosts Creativity
Life in the 21st century comes with a bombardment of stimulation. Getting outside in nature, and getting away from noise and technology, can allow your mind to relax. When your mind is relaxed it has the space to problem solve and be creative, thoughtful, and imaginative.
5. Adds Variety to Exercise
Try finding ways to exercise outdoors. Get creative with it! It could be as simple as walking around your local farmer’s market, walking your dog, walking your kids to and from school, reading a book in a comfy outdoor area, spending time in a garden, riding your bike, or attending beach yoga classes at Inlet Yoga.
Be kind to yourself and make time to get outside and smell the roses. Take off your shoes and feel the grass between your toes. Feel the warmth of your sun on your skin. Let the soft breeze play with your hair. And just breathe.
One indication of the connection that humans have with their environment is that Mother Nature knows what your body needs. Each season, she births nutritious foods that help you maintain optimal health.
In our globalized world, harvesting occurs year-round and the abundance can be shipped virtually anywhere, making what you put on your plate a matter of convenience and constant availability. However, it is still important to consider the benefits of eating your fruits and vegetables seasonally. Here are a few reasons why:
Fruits and vegetables that are available outside of their season are typically grown in weather conditions that are not ideal and are shipped from other locations. This means that they have to be harvested too early, which diminishes their nutritional value. In order to reap the full health benefits fruits and vegetables offer, purchase locally and in-season.
Imagine biting into a juicy strawberry or tomato that was just picked from the garden. If you have ever had the pleasure of doing so, you will know that fresh, seasonal produce is much more flavorful than produce you purchase out of season at the grocery store. If you have not yet made this comparison, get to a farmer’s market and try it; you will not be disappointed.
In accordance with supply and demand, when produce is in season there is usually more supply available, making the demand decrease, along with prices. This is why you will see prices of certain produce rise in grocery stores when they are not in season. A good way to see what produce is in season is to visit your local farmer’s market.
Here are the top 10 picks for spring produce:
A great place to get seasonal produce is from your local farmer’s market.
Not only will you be supporting your local community, you will know where your food is coming from and possibly even meet the person who grew it. This will give you a greater appreciation for your food and for the complex process it went through to get to your plate.
Accept Mother Nature’s gifts with gratitude and appreciation.
As you eat, feel gratitude for the abundance Mother Nature provides us with, for the hard work that farmers put into growing the food, for the deliciousness and richness of color, for a healthy environment that enables the food to cultivate, and for the amazing process of growth.
Thinking about the complex process of your body can be a reminder to keep the momentum of the healthy lifestyle inspired by your cleanse.
Cleanses or detoxes are one of the most effective ways to restore vitality and balance in the body and mind. The sluggishness you feel during a cleanse is from your body working hard to remove the buildup of toxins. The energy you feel after a cleanse is a result of the body being able to have the space to rest and repair itself. Give your body and mind the space it needs to keep you healthy. Read more
Take it easy. Just because your cleanse has ended does not mean that your body is not still working hard to remove toxins.
You might find that emotions are still arising that need to be processed, and although you might find that you have an abundance of energy, don’t feel the need to jump into vigorous exercise. Allow yourself time and space to integrate your cleansing experience into your everyday life. Try transitioning into a more active lifestyle with yoga, or a walk in nature.
It is important that you ease back into a diverse and complex diet.
You may have noticed that you no longer have cravings for certain foods. This is because your digestive system is working optimally and is satiated, therefore your body does not need to crave. Eating whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds, will keep your digestive fires burning.
Create a daily routine that encourages the elimination of toxins and rejuvenation of the body and mind. This will help you wake up each morning feeling restored.
Think back to why you wanted to do the cleanse in the first place. Use your goals and intentions to establish and maintain your routine. Understand that your routine will change, depending on what is going on in your life, and that you will need to adapt.
Doing a cleanse helps you understand what it feels like to be in a state of balance, so when you get out of balance you know that you do not have to stay that way. You know what it feels like to be energized and full of life. So remember, it’s okay if you slip up once in a while as you transition back to your regular life. And if you end up eating that yummy chocolate chip cookie, take time to enjoy its deliciousness.
As we prepare for this month’s spring cleanse, you might want to consider the ways in which you can prepare ahead of time in order to get the best detox possible. Here are some suggestions:
1. Work on the mind
Cleansing can generate mental and emotional triggers, so establish a supportive environment with family and friends. Let them know the intentions and goals of your cleanse and approach the cleanse with an open, peaceful mind. Know that things might come up, but they will also pass if you put in the work. Work on clearing your internal clutter before, during, and after your cleanse. Learn more
2. Allow additional time to sleep
During a successful detox, your body focuses on cleansing and healing. This may leave you feeling fatigued and moody, or you may feel more energized and unable to sleep as much at night. In order to keep your body balanced, take a nap if your schedule will allow it, or get to bed earlier to ensure that you give your body a sufficient amount of rest.
3. Hydrate with plenty of water
It is essential that you stay properly hydrated during your cleanse. Drink half your weight of water in ounces throughout your cleanse and try to drink only purified water.
4. Allow your body to sweat
Sweating opens your pores and will allow your body to detox from the inside out. Go outside and sit in the sun (with sunscreen on to protect your skin from the rays) and let the vitamin D soak into your skin, relax your mood, and boost immunity. Avoid high intensity workouts and opt for something with lower intensity like yoga or taking a walk.
5. Practice dry brushing before you shower
Dry brushing massages the lymph nodes in your body which helps the body shed excess water and toxins. Not only does it give you smoother skin, it improves digestion and organ function as well.
If you are signed up for the April juice cleanse, be on the lookout for an email from Maribeth about other things you can do to prepare for your upcoming detox.