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Nutrition and Hormonal Balance

  Good Morning,  Nutrition and Hormonal Balance As an acupuncturist in the area of fertility, I realize tha...

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Taking Away The Taboo: The Empowerment of Everyday Rituals



Taking Away The Taboo: The Empowerment of Everyday Rituals 

A ritual is a set of actions, performed for their symbolic value or to reach an outcome. Brushing your teeth or eating breakfast is a ritual. We do them everyday. Some rituals are done monthly, like paying our bills or paying the rent. We do seasonal rituals like planting the garden, harvesting the fields or once a year rituals like celebrating a birthday or a holiday.

Rituals give us the opportunity to start anew, refresh and reboot our lives, our intentions or goals.  Rituals can be done with simple words (like a prayer or affirmation) other rituals use tools such as incense, water, candles or oils.

Since the start of the New Year, I have participated in several rituals that many people experience... the countdown to New Years, the cleaning and sweeping of our home after the holidays and the family ritual of lighting a candle on New Year's day. 

In year's past, I have always had the privilege of working with and studying from Ecuadorian Shamans in the upcountry outside of Quito.  This year I had the great honor of working with a spiritualist/psychic, Sylvia Mendez, who privileged me with a sacred "spiritual" cleansing, called "Levantamento" (to wake or rise up).  It is basically done with prayers, candles, meditation and a cleansing bath with a special castille soap and a dowsing of a prepared herbal bath used for clearing and refreshing the mind/body/spirit.  

There is not necessarily any religious or denominational beliefs one needs to do a cleansing.  I do feel that a belief in a higher or Universal power is important. To realize that we are not always in control of our lives, is a humbling and moving experience.  I think your own belief system can make your rituals that much more powerful! 

The components of a ritual can be anything. For instance the ritual of brushing your teeth, need only be the toothbrush, toothpaste and some water.  The process of that ritual, most everyone knows. You set your intention: "I'm going to brush my teeth in order to have a clean mouth and avoid cavities". Maybe you wet the brush and add the paste. Brush up and down and all around. Maybe you brush your tongue. Rinse and finish. You may repeat this twice or three times a day.  It is the same sequence of events for any ritual.  

You gather your tools, prepare your intention, act upon the intention and then you finish, allowing for your actions to take affect. Here are some examples of healing rituals you can do:

A ritual meditation or affirmation are several words or images that you can use to create a base for your ritual. A meditation or affirmation can be done once or several times a day. It implies a connection between your inner life and your mind's eye.  Your inner life or spiritual center becomes in tune with your mind's eye or focus and intention. 

A wonderful and powerful tool for creating self-love and confidence is to stand, facing yourself in the mirror. Repeat a positive affirmation "I will be filled with pride and confidence today".  "I will remain at peace and calm all day". "I look handsome and confident".  Whatever your words, the power of repeating your affirmations to yourself in the mirror (and throughout the day) is a ritual of self-empowerment. 

A great meditation you can do at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day, can simply be sitting (grounded) on the floor and closing your eyes. Taking some very deep breaths in, so that each breath reaches all the way down to your pelvic bone and then exhale s-l-o-w-l-y each time. Choose and image, person or scenario that empowers you. Always go back to it when you find your mind drifting. Take your focus to the back of your eyelids. Let whatever comes into your mind pass through, then let it go.  When you are ready move your focus to between your eyebrow, to your Third Eye. Sense it opening and filling your mind with your chosen image. All it to expand outside your head and fill the room. Your image is now, all around you. When you are ready, slowly bring the image back and contain it with your Third Eye again. Move your focus back to behind your eyelids. Then, when you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

A ritual bath or "magical" ceremony involving the use of water to immerse or anoint a subject's body and/or feet, prepares one to be more aware, conscious and open for new opportunities. It can be used to cleanse the mind, the body, as well as embrace the spirit. Ritual baths can clear negative energies and prepare yourself for accomplishments. First, clean your bath tub. Run the warm/hot water. As you do this, add a cup of sea salt, perhaps a tablespoon of lavender, clary sage or rose essential oils and as a final touch, a handful of flower petals. Swirl these ingredients around in the bath water and emerge yourself for a good 15-20 minutes.  You can add some nice stress reducers, such as incense, low lighting or candles and soothing music.  Make this ritual "your time", as you deserve it!

A ritual tea or tea ceremony has been done for centuries to honor ancestors, embrace the change of seasons or as a "time out" from the day.  I always like using fresh or dried herbs sans the tea bag. A one or two teaspoons of herbs per serving. Use clear spring water. Colder and fresher makes a tastier, livelier infusion. Warm the steeping pot.
Pour the measured, fresh water into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat the water until it just comes to a rolling boil. Add the tea leaves to the warmed steeping pot (one teaspoon per cup, plus one "for the pot"). Immediately pour the boiled water over the loose leaves; cover the pot. Steep three to five minutes for most teas. Longer, to taste. Also be sure and steep the herbs longer for the teas made from sticks, twigs, roots or berries, as well as, herbal infusions. 

These are just a few rituals we do or can do in our lives in order to bring about, peace, confidence and empowerment!.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Finding Inspiration Series: Exercise


Good Morning!

Finding Inspiration Series: Exercise

My 'Finding Inspiration' series was written out of a need that comes up in my
practice, most often in Spring and Fall. I feel we all need a bit of
encouragement and enlightenment now and then to help us move forward. Finding
motivation through inspiration can be the spark which sets you on your way!

Exercise is what your body instinctively wants to do especially under stress:
fight or flight, and it works. It burns off some of the stress chemicals which
tension produces. Therefore, a tired muscle is a relaxed muscle. Regular
exercise builds stamina that can help anyone battle stress. But even something
as casual as a walk around the block can help you burn off some of the tension
that you carrying around.

Stretching is a great tension reducer. Stretch your chest for better breathing.
The tense musculature of a person under stress can make breathing difficult and
impaired breathing can aggravate the anxiety you already feel. To relax your
breathing, roll your shoulders up and back, then relax. The first time, inhale
deeply as they go back, exhale as they relax. Repeat four or five more times,
then inhale deeply again. Repeat the entire sequence four times.

People under pressure have a tendency to clench their teeth. Dropping the jaw
and rolling it helps make those muscles relax, and if you relax the muscles, you
reduce the sensation of tension.

Resistance is essential for making a muscle stronger. When a muscle has to work
against a load placed on it, it adapts to the stress by creating new muscle
fibers and making neurological changes that ultimately make it stronger. Muscles
respond to virtually anything that offers resistance.

You need only to remember a few do-anywhere exercises:

*sit-ups for abdominal muscles

*push-ups for the arms, chest, and shoulders

*dips for the back of the arms

*squats for the muscles in the rear and front of the thighs

*calf raises for the lower portion of the leg.

You also might work some simple equipment into your regime. Both rubber bands
and rubber tubing can add resistance, as can simple household items. To increase
the resistance when you're doing squats, for example, you can do something as
simple as hold soup cans or milk jugs filled with water.

Yoga and Pilates are also great and can be done at home. Many of the poses in
yoga require using one's own body weight to load the muscles. Take the "warrior"
pose, for example. It's essentially a lunge, one that works the muscle in the
front of the thigh. Pilates is a series of exercises that involve slow, precise
moves -- either using your body weight or specially designed machines -- to work
your muscles. You might work your abdominal and leg muscles, for example, by
pushing against a bar on springs or by raising your legs when they're attached
(by straps) to a pulley.

Exercise gives you energy. Study after study supports those words, including one
by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. More than 200 federal
employees were placed on a moderate, regular exercise program. The results: 90
percent said they had never felt better. Almost half said they felt less stress,
and almost one-third reported they slept better.

Energetic exercise, aerobics, a brisk walk three to five times a week, for 20 to
30 minutes each time and no later than 2 hours before bedtime are extremely
beneficial. If you're obese, if you need to drop 20 percent of your weight or
more, losing weight will be a great help. Make sure you follow a sensible diet
in combination with exercise.

Remember the key to doing exercise is to SCHEDULE it into your day.