Simplicity Parenting

If simplifying at all intrigues/calls out to you in the middle of the night please pick up Kim Payne's book - it will change your life and help you chip away in a very manageable way at the clutter of your life - the too much, the hurry, the over-scheduling, over-buying, over-keeping. This is one of my Bible's for my life and a key piece in the work I do with parents who are wanting to decrease the amount of stress that they and their family experience on a daily basis. Often clients come in when the stress has overloaded the system resulting in any symptom really from fatigue, impatience, overwhelm, poor sleep, worsening PMS, headaches, skin or digestive symptoms, increased worrying.

Making this a priority and getting the support (if needed) to simplify/declutter tangibly decreases stress by creating some breathing space in what can be a rushing, busy life. For all members of a family space is essential - space and ‘do nothing’ time creates room for communication, integration of the day’s experiences, time for nurturing relationships and being able to take the time that listening sometimes takes.

Parenting is first and foremost a relationship and simplicity creates room for that foundation. (-:

Less is more. 

Here are some places to start with your decluttering of your physical space (such a rewarding place to start as it’s such an immediate ‘ahhhh’ after!) and some hot tips for you …

  1. Start with the toys - three bags: 1. garbage (broken toys that can't be fixed), 2. toys they love. 3. toys you haven't seen them play with for ages. Any toy that doesn't have a home - make a home or give away. Hot tip: Do NOT do this with your children and be amazed at how deeper your child’s play becomes when he/she is not distracted by too many toys to choose from.

  2. When decluttering set a timer instead of deciding to clean up a certain space. We know that it can take longer than we think to clean a room and that in the middle of the clean up the place looks worse than before. Setting a timer lets you feel your success and progress and a mini-completion feeling. “Yah! I cleaned the kids room for 30 minutes. I have done what I set out to do.” I like to hit the Easy Button at this point! Using time this way has helped me so much chip away at bigger projects 30 minutes at a time and decreased procrastination.

  3. “Like goes with like.” My initial goal for myself was to at the end of my decluttering and reorganizing to be able to find whatever I wanted in the house in 30 seconds. This maxim has made this possible. All of the stuff that attaches things goes together so I have a drawer that has glue sticks, tape, paperclips and stapler in it. All the baking stuff is in one drawer. All the tools are together in a bin. The books are mainly in one area too. The bonus of this is that when you do this you start to see how much you have of stuff. Recently I worked with a mother doing some simplicity coaching in her home and what’s cool about doing this with someone you trust is that they can help you see where you are holding onto things for reasons that aren’t actually aligned with you. She held something up to me and I asked, “do you use it, do you love it?”. “In a pinch it would be helpful. If I was desperate I would wear it.” That’s when I could lovingly ask, “And tell me, is that how you would like to live? In a pinch …desperate? …” We both had laugh attacks right there and she had a mindset shift that connected her to what she does actually want in her home and in her life. I have hired professional organizers in the past for just the reason that they help me to see the bigger picture and make decisions based on what I actually want in and for my life right now - the decluttering is funner and goes quicker! (-: (Contact me if you want a couple hours of help - I enjoying doing a couple 2-3 hour simplicity coaching/decluttering sessions a month in clients home - so fun and productive …

  4. Getting rid of presents or art from the kids or heirlooms. Yikes … can be tricky except if you have this mantra in your pocket: “It’s the thought not the thing.” I love this for so many reasons. One reason is it brings awareness to what giving and receiving gifts is even about. It’s the intention to share a connection, a moment of kindness, a sharing with us that we mean something to the giver. It’s the moment that is the most precious thing —- in our busy culture it’s actually a moment that is still quite sacred - that giving and receiving moment is special and most people giver and receiver are usually quite present for the present exchange. Learning this has made it way more easy for me to let things go that are not sparking joy for me or needed by me. The additional benefit is that I really enjoy the moment of receiving a gift and all the good intentions that came with it way more.

  5. Getting stuck on making decisions on little things. Cure: If on the fence with an item ask “if I get rid of this can I replace it for less than $20 in 20 minutes.

  6. My soul sistah, intuitive life coach and Feng Shui Master, LeighAnn Betts in her 30 Day Online Declutter Your Life Course told us that even from a Feng Shui Energy flow point of view having one junk drawer is a-ok … just thought you’d like to know that fun fact.

I realize I could go on and on with tips in this area! I was not born perceiving things as being messy. I do appreciate beauty though and loved cleaning my dad’s messy garage and my friend’s rooms but the day to day “put it away when you are done” habits never stuck to me. Also, other things always took precedent over cleaning my own stuff - I was often in the middle of one creative project or another. It has been a journey of much learning keeping my place organized and tidy and filled with things I love. Now I have habits in place and get to feel the light feeling of being in my cozy home and being able to find things within 30 seconds (usually!!!). I hope some of these ideas helped and please pick up Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Marie Condo’s The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up —- two of my favourite books on this topic.

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne is one of my most bookmarked, underlined books of all time. A true keeper! Whether you are beginning the journey of mamahood or you're somewhere along in the trenches this will be a refreshing, inspiring read that you come back to time and again.” Mama of 6

REBA Testing from Europe at the Clinic - Mind-Body Wellness Assessment Device

Here’s an article for clients who would like to take a deeper dive into understanding the Reba™ Testing we use at the clinic. It goes into the mechanism of testing for those of you who are interested in that. (-:

Why I find it beneficial is that is a way to determine the energetic health of the whole of an individual - physical, mental, emotional and intuitive and from knowing that baseline we can test what supplements/foods increase and decrease the flow in each area. The other piece is that it can allow us to discover what past unresolved emotional conflict is up to be healed. This is a game changer as it really gives us a more complete picture of where someone is at so we can support that person in having not just better health but a better more fulfilling life and relationships.

By Terry Cotter, B.Sc. | Dec 15, 2011

86% success rate for depression, stress, anxiety disorders and trauma

In 2010, I was at a conference in Las Vegas attended by over 3,000 MDs. We decided to show a booth there because many were Integrated Medicine specialists and I was keen to show them developments from Europe.

I thought the belle of the ball would be our Pleo Sanum products - replacements for destructive antibiotic therapies. However, the star of the show was our Swiss treatment for Psychosomatic Disorders; we call it PSE (Psychosomatic Energetics). Essentially, treatment consists of non-toxic complex homeopathics that build upon Bach Flower remedy ideas from the last century.

A recent clinical study involved 10 German clinics (Townsend Letter Journal - May, 2011). 1,011 patient cases were tracked for over two years and an astounding 86 per cent success rate was reported for depression, stress, anxiety disorders and trauma.

The North American toolbox is filled with psychotropic drugs - mood altering, often sedative and sometimes destructive. Motivated by evidence we have seen abroad, we are offering 'a better way' for patients and their doctors with the Reba™ Test device.

When we apply the Swiss PSE methodology, we utilize a Reba™ device to verify and quantify the presence of an emotional or energetic disturbance. Measurements are charted and a practitioner can determine suitable action if required. The appropriate, non-toxic complex homeopathic is selected from among 33 available combinations and after eight to 12 weeks, the patient returns to confirm progress.

This October, I met with the Reba™ inventor, physicist Dieter Jossner. I asked about the workings of Reba™ to help me pass on the principles to educators and doctors. Dieter has been studying biophysics and subtle energy as a researcher and inventor for over 30 years. He now works in a Rheinau, Germany laboratory at a location selected for low EMF interference and lousy cell reception!

Dieter discovered when one or more of the normal brainwave patterns receive an external intrusion of noise sufficient to disrupt quiet function (he calls it white noise) the result of the irritation is an involuntary and mild flinch of the thorax. The reaction is so subtle that a practitioner must watch for it using a biometric test to confirm a positive response and the patient often doesn’t know it’s happening.

Essentially the device is a low frequency noise generator. A signal amplifier activates a variable quartz oscillator. The output is processed in a digital noise generator where dis-harmonic frequencies (phase shifted to cause destructive interference) are created within selected frequency bands matching the Delta (1.5 - 4 Hz), Theta (5 - 8 Hz), Alpha (9 - 14 Hz) and Beta (15 - 40 Hz) brain waves. A signal splitter separates the frequency spectrum under study and the amplitude of the noise is adjusted upward until the patient responds or a negative test is affirmed.

Each of these bands of ultra low frequency are associated with their own behavioral and emotional capacities. The higher frequencies such as Alpha and Beta waves tend to be associated with higher physical activity, excitement, coordination and thought processing. The lower frequencies tend to be associated with meditation, introspection, relaxation, deep sleep and dreaming.

Much like a dog being sensitive to a dog whistle, the sensitivity to brainwave noise is unique to the weakened patient in close proximity to the Reba™ device. The output can also be detected by a listening device tuned to ultra-low frequencies. To an energetically weakened brain, the interference is like finger nails on a chalkboard.

Remember how we laughed watching dozens of students squirm and cover their ears when the teacher dragged their nails across the chalkboard? This is the power that carefully tuned sound can have on our brain and our physiology. In this case it’s helping us to help others as it allows us to test what is supportive and not on an energetic level where emotional health and energetic health lies.

Creative Discipline: Tips for Parents of Children 2 - 7 years old

Here's an article that some moms were curious about that I wrote when my kids were younger that I thought I'd repost.

Sometimes it is hard to maintain a sense of connection and warmth with our children when they are not doing what we want them to be doing. It is plain frustrating for us. Young children are by nature imaginative, messy, immature, unreasonable, in the moment, energetic and emotionally unregulated - their brain doesn’t have the capacities of an adult brain and won’t for some time …

Understanding where children are at developmentally and how they learn can help the loving AND guiding (disciplining) of your child to come from the SAME gentle place in your heart.

Here are some principles that take into account how they best learn to support you in this:

And remember it's about connection not perfection!

# 1. Use movement and redirection at the same time.  Since children are in an imitative stage of learning adding movement to a request helps them do what needs to be done. For example, instead of standing still and saying “let’s go”, walking a little as you reach your hand out and say “we’re heading out now” can work better. Kids like things that look fun so make it look inviting and engaging. I found sometimes that singing what we needed to do worked well to make it seem inviting and have them want to join along without so much resistance. (Using the tune "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush" to whatever we were doing seemed to work like magic in the younger years!)

# 2. Talk less. Try to get in the habit of stopping yourself with your speech when you are getting into a lot of explaining. Slow down and ask yourself, "Is it necessary?" and when you do speak to say what your child needs to do keep it simple with only one request at a time. In general, remember that your child lives in their imagination and so speak in this picture language really meets your child. They live in the dreamy theta brainwave state and think in pictures and story consciousness. “Let’s put the toys to bed now” and go around together cleaning up/”putting toys to bed’. Again, remember that they learn by imitation (copying) so work with this by simply modelling what you want them to do rather than a lot of explaining.

# 3. Stay close - "2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet". This was a mantra from one of my teachers reminding us of the importance of staying close when making requests. Their attention span isn’t like ours - again, they are in the theta brain wave state - so be ‘2 feet in front of them’, ‘2 feet high’ (basically a reminder to crouch down to their level) and lastly, with you ‘feeling your 2 feet on the ground’ to ground you and bring you fully here. (They feel this.) Get down to eye level and give simple guidance/directions from your heart from that place. Simple. Clear. Move. Follow through.

Staying close and sticking with requests is so key in the younger ages. I have found myself feeling quite ridiculous picking up half of a boot or toothbrush with my 4 year old at the other end in an effort to help her join in and learn how to put things away but sometimes this is what it takes to get the job done. When you emit the energy, “This is what is happening.” lovingly but with certainty (and make it kinda fun) our kids pick up on this. Use imagination to connect, stay close and help them follow through. 

# 4. Consider Nixing time-outs - Young children don't have the capacity yet to "reflect on their poor choices". The more I learn about child development - that they live in the theta brain wave state and their prefrontal cortex is not online yet - the less time-outs make any real sense. They do come in handy sometimes for me to give to myself though when I feel stretched to my max and need a moment or ten to breathe and regroup! (-:

# 5. Rhythm. This is a topic unto its own. It is an absolute game changer. When I work with moms with low energy/overwhelm to create rhythm in their days and weeks good things happen. Everyone can breathe easier and balls don’t get dropped as easily when what has to get done is on a schedule. Less stress for adults translates to less stress for kids, better health overall and more connection and joy.

When things are done in a certain way with regularity and children (whose relationship to time is very different than ours) know what is coming next they are also less resistant to doing what needs to be done as the rhythm (and repetition that is wired in the brain) eventually just carries them ... “it’s just the way things are done.” It builds a sense of trust in them as well.

Rhythms in Waldorf Schools are based on a concept called ‘breathing in and breathing out’ and in the lower grades especially this concept is woven into the day where activities are put in an order that alternates a ‘breathing in’ activity with a ‘breathing out’ activity. One example of this is: Circle time followed by Free play. In the homes of families I have worked with even being aware of this ‘in breath’- ‘out breath’ and the different nature of activities has helped. They would play with creating a flow that felt balanced - such as getting kids outside after sitting for a craft and then coming back in for lunch and out for a walk after.You get a feel for this wants you are tuned into it. This helps us adults too for example when we balance focus time with movement, inside with out, doing with free time, quiet time with social … it teaches balance and is a pretty cool non-burnout way to flow through our days.

#6. Have realistic expectations. They are learning so much during this time! From social engagement to talking to moving their body with coordination to being safe, etc . The way they learn and create new neural pathways for the things we’d like them to do is in part through good ol’ repetition. We have to repeatedly model what we’re trying to teach them.

Our children in these ages are ‘in learning’. The centers of the brain responsible for impulse control, empathy and decision making are not even close to maturity (25 years of age and upwards is the latest neuroscience update on this!). This ‘upstairs brain’ as Dr. Daniel Siegel calls it is just being constructed so it will be messy being in relationship with children as they find their way to these upper brain functions. And for now they are learning their upper brain functions/capabilities through watching you and through stories!

It takes time for them to learn all these things we want them to learn. This is where the next point comes in. It helps keep our patience more or less replenished …

#7. Self-care. Prioritizing it. Children pick up all the non-verbals. As we know they are watching us more than listening as as I’ve been sharing that is the way they are set up to learn in the younger years. Imitation.

Who we are being and how we are being as we are doing things is what our children are taking in the most. Self-care is not selfish. It is essential. When we are resourced we are more patient, creative, clear, calm, playful, kind and have energy.

We may not have grown up seeing self-care modelled so it may not come natural but we can model it for our children and give them the gift of its importance so they have it and can then model it to their children … (-:

Lastly, here’s a little mantra that came to me this year that might help you. “You’re not in trouble, you’re in learning.” I use it with my kids and other kids and actually I’ve used it with myself too! Many of us grew up in the paradigm of punishing and shaming and control over and this mantra helps rewire our brains to the new understanding that we are all actually ‘in learning’ and growing and doing the best we can.

The growth and learning we desire for our children or ourselves can come with kindness.

Hope you found something in there to help you enjoy parenting more and to help you be a loving nourished leader for your bambinos!

Warmly, Dr. Monika xo (-:

If you are interested in some self-care and supportive learning, Dr. Monika has Yoga & Learn weekly classes, series and retreats around Conscious Parenting, Simplicity Parenting and Mothering from Your Centre. Email courses@opentowellness.ca to get the next class times and/or join Mindful Mama Connection FB to see updates there.

PS - Kim John Payne - author of Simplicity Parenting and The Soul of Discipline has some great insight on this topic of Creative Discipline..
 

Glue-gun Burn 101 : Naturopathic Tips For My Creative Craft Diva Daugher

Sometimes just doing some good ol' hydrotherapy (cool running water) is enough and my daughter is rushing back to finish her craft but this last weekend the burn was worse than in the past - second degree burn as evidenced by the blister that formed and it hurt. )-: Here's some things we have on hand for minor burns (usually they are finger burns in our home) that happen either from helping in the kitchen or ... getting crafty with the glue gun.

Cold water to start for 1 minute and then switch to a warmer temperature - cool to slightly warm even is the latest recommendation.

A dose of Arnica 30 CH and a couple sprays of Rescue Remedy all around to help with the shock of it and keep mama and child grounded and calm.

Homeopathics for minor first aid has sped up healing, been effective at decreasing the pain and has made it possible for us to really minimize the number of pharmaceuticals we've had to give our kids. They have been very effective for us for everything from teething to flus to ... well  ... burns ... our topic today.

Here are three remedies we keep at home (by the stove actually) and we make sure to bring these camping too. These same remedies help with sunburns too and served us well on our trip to Hawaii too where we all got too much Sun.

Cantharis 30CH

Causticum 30CH

Urtica urens 30CH - this one I think of if there looks like a blister is forming.

Raising the hand up above the heart has (both times we tried it) decreased the pain immediately. Lightly wrapping the burn helps too as sometimes even the air aggravates it. 

 A good quality Lavender essential oil is the item I reach for and put a drop on the burn. This has anti-septic properties to help prevent infection, can decrease the pain and helps with scarring. We use Lavender for so many things that my kids say, "Lavender is good for everything mom!"

Simplest Ever Immune Nourishing Soup

'Astragalus' is a fun word to say - A-strag-a-lus. Just as it is spelled.

It is one of my favourite herbs for immune health and nice for the adrenals too. Once you start looking you'll see you can get it at health food stores, Asian markets (for cheap!) and some grocery stores. The way I usually buy it is as a sliced root where it comes thin and a couple inches long - resembling wooden tongue dispensers.

Astragalus is part of a potent immune soup I learned about in my Chinese Medicine studies in ND school, the infamous "Change of Season Soup". This soup is incredible healthy but in the day-to-day of my life as a mom and business owner it doesn't get made.

You see I love simple and so when this soup combination came across my desk from John (creator of the Wildcraft board game) I smiled. I knew and loved all the ingredients, there was only four and in 20 minutes soup would be up - yah! The other reason I love this is that I can have all things ingredients in my home without them needing to be fresh: frozen jar of bone broth in the freezer, miso paste in the fridge (lasts a long while), and the dried astragalus.

For you the Astragalus may be the ingredient you have not bought before. Make a couple calls or check in at the health food store next time you are in. Once you have the Astragalus Root you are set as it can be stored for a long time.

OK, here's the details ...

You'll need:

  • 2 cups broth (bone, meat, or veggie)

  • Astragalus (4-6 or so pieces - for this recipe the dried strips are better than getting powder)

  • Pinch of black pepper

  • 1-3 tablespoons miso (comes in a paste - usually in fridge section)

Instructions:

Basically you combine everything but the miso in the pot (with a tight lid), simmering it all for 20 - 30 minutes. Then you strain the Astragalus pieces out and add miso to your taste preference. That's it. Time to enjoy your cuppa goodness. (-:

Bonus Fun Fact: Since Miso contains live active cultures you always want to add it at the end of any preparation as the high heat of boiling will decrease its goodness. xo

Tasty Snack: Maca Coconut Balls


Tasty way to get some good ol’ Maca into your life and increase your healthy snack repertoire at the same time!

Mixture #1: Combine these two ingredients in food processor and set aside.

  • 1/2 cup of pecans

  • 4 cups of unsweetened coconut

Mixture #2: Then combine in food processor these 5 ingredients until smooth …

  • 15 large dates (medjool)

  • 1/2 cup agave syrup

  • 1 tsp macca

  • 1 tsp raw cacao

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine the two mixtures into balls and put in fridge to store or eat right away! Yum!!!1

Yoga Therapy: What it Is, How it Works, The Missing Piece of Health it Addresses

Note: if you are wondering if yoga therapy is for you and you are on the fence call the office and just book in for an introductory session (403) 609-8385. It’ll just feel like a supported, private yoga class and we can assess to see if this is a good fit for where your health is and what your health goals are. Digestive, sleep, infertility, inflexibility. overwhelm and adrenal issues are common areas that benefit from the Chakra 1 to 3 yoga therapy sequences. Wear loose comfortable clothing to the session. (-:

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Yoga Therapy Overview

One of the game-changing benefits of the Yoga Therapy I practice in my clinic is that it addresses a piece of wellness that is often missed when we focus solely on the physical. This piece is the energetic/emotional piece.

Some people misunderstand ‘energetic’ and interpret that having an ‘energetic’ component to them means something way out there or mysterious. Our emotions (energy in motion) are part of our energy system and manifest physically.

Try this: think of something that upset/frustrated you this week or is a worry for you lately and take a moment to drop your awareness into your body … scan your body to see what you notice sensation-wise in your body when you bring the upsetting incident to mind … your throat, heart area, solar plexus, and gut area are all good areas to check …

So, what do you notice?

Chances are you feel a tightness/pressure/heaviness/constriction or some not super comfortable sensation in one of those parts when you bring your attention there. This is you feeling stuck energy in your energy system. Simple as that. (-: When we feel ‘triggered’ or that someone is ‘pushing our buttons’ it is this stuck energy that we are being tuned into. Stuck energy overtime translates to physical stuckness/unhealth.

Yoga Therapy works with the body at the mind-body interface and can address the health of the physicality and energetics of the body - this affects our whole vitality. Many psychologists agree that, “the issue is in the tissues” and that to heal you often need to address the stuck emotions/energy in the body. For many individuals who find that they are in their head a lot, yoga therapy and other bodywork can feel like a grounded, effective way to address and heal unresolved issues from the past that still live as tension/constriction in the physical body and are affecting that part of the body including the glands/organs there.

What is Yoga Therapy ?

There are several schools that teach Yoga Therapy. I have learned from the Amrit Yoga Institute.

This particular type of treatment is based on yoga therapy and yoga based facilitation techniques and on the following four naturopathic and yogic principles:

1. Your body has an innate wisdom and knows how to heal itself on all levels.

2. The body is a warehouse of mental and emotional as well as physical tensions.

3. The same energy that heals your body also knows how to help you recognize the state of wholeness that you already are. Energy wants to be released. It is coming to go. Energy will move until it’s complete.

4. By removing the barriers to maximal energy flow, we optimize our mental, physical and emotional well-being.

 What does a session look like?

·      First off is Assessment: we assess where tension/tightness (stuck energy) is in the body based on your symptoms, by looking at your range of motion and flexibility and by teaching you how to feel areas of restricted flow in yourself and from what you find.

·      Second: Sequences of poses are chosen and begun. Basically it’s like a yin yoga class in the sense that poses are held for longer times than a Flow class. Poses that work on the lower half of the body are held supportively by the client and facilitator at an "edge”. There is no physical pain in the edge but there can be agitation, frustration, restlessness, sensation – if you have held a yoga pose you have probably experienced this when you just wanted to get out of the pose early even though you weren’t in pain. As we hold a pose and breathe and bring non-judgmental awareness to it, the old energy of emotions and other tensions naturally come up and are released.

·     During the poses awareness facilitation techniques are used to allow the tension to unwind. The body’s natural wisdom is always orchestrating things to move in the direction of health and balance but the body needs to feel it is safe to do that and the yoga therapy facilitation helps create the space where the body and mind understands it is safe and can let the body relax and release.

Why do we end up suppressing emotions/do emotions get stuck in the body?

·      Feels overwhelming/not comfortable … basically feels ‘not good’. It’s human nature to avoid pain and seek pleasure and most of us were never taught how to naturally allow them to be and just flow through.

·      Fear that we are going to get lost in it and won’t know how to get back.

·      Without us blocking an emotion, e-motions just do their energy in motion thing and take less than 60 seconds to flow through and complete. We want to support the body in releasing old energy since emotions that are stuck in the body for a long time are known to cause disease and decreased well-being in that area.

Working with stuck energy isn’t by nature scary or hard – releasing it is as natural to the body as going to the bathroom! Energy wants to flow. Stuck energy has predictable ways to move and complete. A yoga therapist is trained in understanding this and in creating space for this to happen at a pace that is right for your body. Your body’s wisdom is the guide.

These are some examples of what a facilitator/therapist might say to support a client in staying with whatever sensation arises with curiosity and kindness ...

·      Let the body open at its’ own time.

·      Allow yourself to feel whatever sensations are there fully.

·      Just use your breath to stay present and just be with it.

·      Give it permission to be just as it is.

·      Release any defensive tensions.

·      What comes, comes to go.

·      Be the container for all experiences to move through.

·      Climb right into it. Roll around in it.

·      Be curious, spacious, open.

·      Cozy up to it.

·      Snuggle up to it.

Over time clients learn how to hold loving presence for themselves by using similar coaching/facilitation phrases that help them to support this depth of healing … the healing power of kind, loving attention is pretty amazing to see in action … (-:

Well, I hope this helps your understanding of this therapy and for those of you who are clients that I have referred here now you have a written copy of some of the phrases we use in session to further support you in this reconnecting and embodying yourself and your flow.

If this is new to you and you are curious do come in and experience it for yourself as part of a naturopathic session at the clinic in Canmore - 205, 1205 - Bow Valley Trail!

May you be deeply well! xo, Dr. Monika

Simple Breathing Technique to Bring You Back to Calm and Clarity With Activating This Key Chillaxin' Nerve (Easy & You Can Do It Anywhere)

Step #1 in helping our children dealing with stress and emotions is increasing our skills in this area. Most of us grew up never being taught this/having this modelled so really it’s a skill and habit most of us fall on and off of and are in learning and practicing about. It’s a muscle that becomes stronger the more we bring it in and use it … (-;

Knowing about and activating the vagus nerve is one key piece in empowering ourselves to transform worry, anxiety, overwhelm or depression. In general nowadays and certainly in cases of anxiety the balance between the different wings of our nervous system (parasympathetic and sympathetic) is off.

Your vagus nerve is the most important element of the parasympathetic nervous system, the one that calms you down and gives you access to the part of your brain that allows you to respond creatively to situations. When you stimulate this nerve you counteract your sympathetic nervous system, the one that causes stress by activating your fight-flight-freeze response and puts you in fear and reactivity. 

When you take long, full inhalations and exhalations for 3 - 30 minutes you massage the vagus nerve (which is right under the diaphragm) and will turn the parasympathetic nervous system on. 

Long Deep Breathing (LBD) sounds pretty simple and it is but don't dismiss it's potency based on its simplicity! It is actually one of the most important tools in Kundalini Yoga. The full explanation from Yogi Bhajan is below! (-: 

Long Deep Breathing(LBD) has been shown to have the following effects:

  • Relaxes and calms you due to its influence on the parasympathetic nervous system.

  • Increases the flow of prana.

  • Reduces and prevents the build-up of toxins in the lungs by encouraging the clearing of the small air sacs (alveoli).

  • Stimulates the brain chemicals (endorphins) that help fight depression.

  • Brings the brain to a new level of alertness.

  • Pumps the spinal fluid to the brain, giving greater energy.

  • Stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete, thus enhancing the intuition.

  • Filling the lungs to capacity revitalizes and re-adjusts the magnetic field.

  • Cleanses the blood.

  • Regulates the body's pH balance which affects the ability to handle stressful situations.

  • Energizes and increases vitality.

  • Aids in releasing blockages in meridian energy flow.

  • Activates and clears the nerve channels.

  • Aids in speeding up emotional and physical healing.

  • Aids in breaking subconscious habit patterns such as insecurities and fears.

  • Aids in fighting addictions.

  • Re-channels previous mental conditioning on pain so as to reduce or eliminate pain.

  • Gives the capacity to manage negativity and emotions, supporting clarity, cool­ headedness (bring it!), and patience (yes please.).

How to do it (basic explanation):

Long Deep Breathing uses the full capacity of the lungs by utilizing the three chambers of the lungs: abdominal or lower, chest or middle, clavicular or upper.

Begin the inhale with an Abdominal Breath. Then add the Chest Breath and finish with a Clavicular Breath. All three are done in a smooth motion. It’s like you are filling up a water bottle.

Start the exhale by relaxing the clavicle, then slowly emptying the chest. Finally, pull in the abdomen to force out any remaining air.

(Breathe through the nose.

Continue for 26 breaths, or 3 – 31 minutes.

More Detail Here For Beginners:

Start by filling the abdomen, then expanding the chest, and finally lifting the upper ribs and clavicle. The exhale is the reverse: first the upper deflates, then the middle, and finally the abdomen pulls in and up, as the Navel Point pulls back toward the spine.

To learn LDB, practice by separating the three parts of the breath. Sit straight on the floor, in a chair, or lie on the back. (It is helpful for beginners to start out on the back.) Initially have the left hand on the belly, right hand on the chest to feel the movement of the diaphragm.

Abdominal Breath: Let the breath relax to a normal pace and depth. Bring your attention to the Navel Point area. Take a slow deep breath by letting the belly relax and expand. As you exhale, gently pull the navel in and up toward the spine. Keep the chest relaxed. Focus on breathing entirely with the lower abdomen.

The diaphragm muscle separates the chest and thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity and intestines. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that is normally in a dome shape. As you relax the diaphragm and extend the belly, the dome flattens and extra space is created to expand the lungs above it. When you exhale, the dome is re-created and the air from the lower lungs is pushed up and out. This pushing allows a portion of the lower lungs to be used efficiently.

Place one hand on the Navel Point and one on the center of the chest. On the inhale, raise the hand on the navel toward the ceiling. On the exhale lower it steadily. With your hand, monitor the chest to stay still and relaxed. Very soon you will notice all the muscles involved in this motion.

Chest Breath: Sit straight and keep the diaphragm still. Do not let the abdomen extend. Inhale slowly using the chest muscles. The chest expands by using the intercostal muscles between the ribs. Do this slowly and focus on the sensation of expansion. Exhale completely but do not use the abdomen. Compare the depth and volume of this breath with the isolated abdominal breath. If you place your hands on the top and bottom parts of the ribs you can feel how the bottom ribs move more than the top ones. They are the floating ribs and are not as fixed as the upper ones are to the sternum. So much of the contribution of the ribs and intercostal muscles comes from an expansion out to the sides of the lower ribs.

Clavicular Breath: Sit straight. Contract the navel in and keep the abdomen tight. Lift the chest without inhaling. Now inhale slowly by expanding the shoulders and the collarbone. Exhale as you keep the chest lifted.

Putting the parts together:

Each part of the breath expansion is distinct. If all three are combined, you have a complete Long Deep Breath.

Begin the inhale with an Abdominal Breath. Then add the Chest Breath and finish with a Clavicular Breath. All three are done in a smooth motion.

Start the exhale by relaxing the clavicle, then slowly emptying the chest. Finally, pull in the abdomen to force out any remaining air.

© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

Excerpt from The Aquarian Teacher: KRI International Teacher Training Level 1 Texbook

 

Thai Coconut Soup

Inspired by Soups 70+ Nourishing Recipes by Hearst Books

4 ounces bean-thread noodles (rice vermicelli works too)

1 can coconut milk

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp coriander 

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3 chicken breasts/3-5 fillets of a white fish

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 carrots, cut into thin strips

1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced 

1 Tbsp asian fish sauce (optional)

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

In large pot heat 3 liter water to boil, place noodles in water, soak until transparent 10 to 15 min.

Heat 1/2 cup coconut milk to boil over medium heat, add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium high. Add chicken/fish (or tofu) and cook, stirring constantly, just until chicken looses it's pink colour or until fish is cooked.

Drain noodles. Rinse with cold water.

Add broth, green onions, carrots, red bell pepper, fish sauce , 1 cup water, remaining coconut milk  and the cooked noodles. Heat just to simmer over medium heat . Stir in lime juice and cilantro just before serving. Enjoy! (-:

Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto: Above All Else, ...

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and loveable. You will learn this from my words and actions - the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness.
You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries, we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance .Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.
When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. no matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.

Brene Brown - Daring Greatly

12 Naturopathic Suggestions for the 12 Days of Christmas

  • Include the love and care of strangers in your giving by having some  of your gifts be contributions to causes you believe in - on the behalf  of that person. 

  • Create space for what matters - declutter, let go, take time for you. 

  • Give your digestive system a hand - give thanks, chew well and take digestive enzymes to big dinners. Have a shot of Swedish bitters or apple cider vinegar before dinner.

  • Slice ginger root and boil it up at the first sign of a cold.

  • Follow your bliss. Take the time to rediscover what brings you joy these days and make sure to include these things daily in action or thought. This will effect your ability to share joy and love with others!

  • Forgive someone and write a loving letter to that person. Open your heart.

  • Find sweetness in stevia, agave, maple syrup, honey, good quality chocolate and in the company you keep.

  • Get out into nature everyday....and night ...breathe in the full moon and the stars and the invigorating freshness. Open fully to it.

  • Add avocados to your parties - helps the liver process alcohol.

  • Enjoy the moments - only make promises you can keep.

  • Hug deeply.

  • Sing whenever you get the chance. Matt Andersen's Christmas CD and the Pentatonics are must- haves if you need some accompaniment!

5 Things Young Children (and their Parents!) Thrive On

1. Simplicity - if you don't love something clear it out  - keep only favourites out - books, toys. Clear out, let go, share with friends. Create space in your home, schedule, life, mind, heart. The pausing and free unstructured time is something that we need to be intentional about for it to happen in our culture of busy. Pause is essential for our childrens' healthy development. I think of it like a savasana in yoga where all the work of the yoga series gets integrated ... free time/play is where they integrate their learnings ... they benefit greatly from time to digest their experiences in their own way.
 

2. Our presence - sometimes it's hard to be with our children without doing all the things that need to be done. We may be there with them physically but our mind is on our to-do-list or somewhere else.  If you are looking back at your days and realize you find it hard to be with your child try what one mom tried - set a timer (for 5 or 10 minutes or half an hour ... however long) and commit to being fully present with your child until the timer goes off... see what happens ... keep coming back to the moment ... let yourself enter their world of wonder ... be curious … who is this being in front of me … wow … (FYI - this can be difficult for many people to start … feel what you are feeling and find the delight in this)
 

3. Stories - tell stories - share your childhood, make stuff up. Honestly, anything goes and with young children and it can be pretty simple. Young children think in images so picturing the story as you tell it will help you really stay with it. One tip I tell teachers and parents who would like to learn more about the art of telling stories is, “As you tell the story, see it and feel it for yourself - the children will sense the presence that comes with this and more easily enter in there with you.” Story topic ideas include: things your child did when they were younger, what Christmas was like for you as a child, make up on-the-spot stories about animals or fairies or whatever they are interested in. Sing as part of the story (it might mesmerize them(!)) ... let your creativity flow and go slow … this will nourish you too!
 

4. Rhythm - keep a rhythm to keep sane - i.e. waking up time, outside time, times to eat, time to bed, weekly chores. Basically anything you do to put the things that happen regularity out of your mind and on a rhythm will help. It will simplify your life, build a sense of trust in your child and will impact your patience, energy, calm and creativity in ways that will surprise you (in a good way!). This is an essential piece of the work I do in clinic when supporting women with adrenal fatigue and hormonal balance. Remember children (ok all of us) need time to reconnect with ourselves daily so as make sure you prioritize ‘the pause’ and let go of those things that aren’t a ‘YES!’ … this season is short … schedule in free play and (as strange as this sounds!) unscheduled time to linger …
 

5. Warmth - essential for your growing child. If you think about it, warmth is key to many transformative processes and growth.

Think about how grounded, relaxed and open you feel when you are warm compared to when you feel cold. When you’ve got both hands around a cup of something warm and you are here and open. Children in the first 7 years are making that journey of coming into their bodies benefit from feeling safe, cozy, relaxed - warmth has that quality.

In Waldorf philosophy rather than children 'growing up', it is said that they are 'growing down'. They are coming into their bodies fully during the journey from birth to seven. A child goes from being this bundle of love who doesn't know their hands and feet are theirs to coming fully into connection with their physical body through movement, touch, balance and warmth. For young children under the age of 7 years it is important for us to bring in the warmth for them as they have not yet developed the capacity themselves to regulate their temperature efficiently. When  they are cold they use energy that ideally would go to organ development and maturation and by doing the work of keeping them warm we actually support their inner development. It’s a bigger deal than I had imagined …

There are many ways to bring in warmth: warm clothing and trying to keep that hat on and teas and soups, sitting by a fire, lighting a candle, slippers for them (and you!) if you have cold floors and then there is the social warmth of connection, laughs, snuggles, feeling grateful, heartwarming stories, feeling connected and the warmth of taking things a bit slower and not rushing as much....

What are your favourite ways to bring in warmth into your life? xo

Naturopathic Favourites For Staying Healthy While Travelling

These are some of our family favourites for when travelling abroad …

Thieves Essential Oil (Young Living) - can put the drops in some little bowls of water around where you are sleeping and put it on yourself as a lovely non-toxic perfume and also smell it directly from the bottle during the flight. I will often put a drop of it on my tongue while on the flight but that’s not for everyone - it is strong!

Lavender Essential Oil - it’s relaxing, antiseptic and can help heal a sunburn. I don’t leave the country without it. Young Living or Doterra are my favourite companies for oils. Lavender is one of those ‘less is more’ oils in regards to calming. Just a drop on a pillow or at the bottom of your or your child’s feet before bed is enough for the relaxation factor …

Citrigen - this is a great all around bug buster. I will take 2 - 4 per day throughout the day to ward off any infections the day of and after the flight. If I feel great I won’t continue after that but if not I will continue till I’m on top of whatever bug I have. (-:

R1 drops by Bio Lorenco - great all around homeopathic combo for inflammation of all sorts from fever to rash to headache to heat stroke.

Homeopathic First Aid Kit from Helios - there’s an 18 and 36 remedy kit that is great for families and people who travel and would like to have natural ways to treat themselves and their family. The little book that comes with it gives you the confidence to start using it - if you need more tips we can go through that during a typical naturopathic visit.

You can order any of these from the clinic (403) 609-8385. There are discounts for clients. In the case of the essential oils, to order Young Living Oils directly you can text (403) 678-7901 and Dr. Monika can set you up. There is no monthly fee or commitment to buy the essential oils - you can just order what you’d like, when you like. The office does do orders monthly for clients as well the third week of every month if you’d prefer that.

To learn about some ways to rise above jet lag checkout the blogpost specifically on that here:

http://www.opentowellness.ca/new-blog-1/2017/11/21/75godmooarhrpqclv0pojj7aouqfey?rq=jet%20lag

Support for Children Experiencing Anxiety: Books & Links

Websites:

https://www.gozen.com

https://odinbooks.com

Books:

Sitting Sit Like A Frog

Mindful Monkey Happy Panda by Lauren Alderfer

Taming the Worry Dragon

Divorce, Separation, Family Support:

And here are some books to support a child in understanding that whatever their home situation and no matter how different it may be from the "norm", a family is a family is a family ...

  • Who's in my Family? by Robie H. Harris

  • A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O'Leary

  • The Family Book by Todd Parr

Children before 6-7 years old live in a different brainwave state than adults that is based on picture consciousness so stories - especially oral stories told by heart - are very effective ways to truly reach a child and to support healing and growth.

Dr. Monika Herwig works with parents to tame their own anxiety from a naturopathic and mindfulness perspective. As well she coaches parents to practically simplify their home life in a way that is aligned with what is important to them and takes into account what their child needs to feel connected, loved and happy.

For children, there is an easy, energetic way that Dr. Monika works to assess a child’s well-being on all levels (REBA test from Europe) that gives specifics as to where a child is at emotionally and mentally. It is a helpful, informative test for any parent looking to better able to specifically support what is up for their child (who often don’t have the capacity to articulate this).

(403) 609-8385 is the best number to book a consult for you or your child. (-: xo

Why B12 shots Are Such a Favourite for many Women With Low Energy....

Why B12?

Basically your body needs B12  to make energy and it's not well-absorbed in the diet or in capsule form.  Even if your Multivitamin has B12 on the label it is often not stable in this form. It is becoming more common for a client to come to my office wondering about her or his B12 levels and if a shot would help - here's some info to help you decide. 

 Even when the blood levels of B12 levels on standard blood work reports show within the normal range a person may benefit from a B12 injection. In my experience the serum (blood) levels aren't reflective of the tissue (body) levels and so I don't look solely at B12 levels to determine if a B12 injection is worth considering.

 Who can benefit from a B12 shot and what do I look for?

Anyone can benefit from a B12 shot - as an ND I will check to see what else is going on but if there is low energy it’s something I like to rule out early on. Elderly, vegetarians, vegans and athletes are who I commonly test to see if B12 is an issue.

Symptoms or associated conditions include: low energy, fuzzy thinking, adrenal/thyroid issues, sleep issues, depression, anxiety, heavy periods, nerve like sensations, digestive issues, and PMS.

  • I also look at the medications a client is taking (i.e. some meds deplete B12 including the Birth Control Pill), intake of B12 rich foods in the diet along with their ability to absorb them and their CBC (if a client has had that lab work done recently). FYI - CBC=Complete Blood Count - I look at it to see where in the range their MCV level is at. MCV is the Mean Corpuscular Volume of a cell - basically how big a cell is. Since B12 is needed for cell division if it's high(i.e. bigger cell) the thinking is that this can be because B12 is low and the cell got to be a bit bigger before it divided.

  • Digestion and absorption can impact B12 levels as B12 is not the easiest vitamin to absorb. Levels of hydrochloric acid (secreted by the stomach)and intrinsic factor are key in absorption and for many getting their B12 levels up as we work to improve digestion is super helpful in getting their energy and motivation back up.

  • Age can impact the levels partly because B12 seems to becomes harder to absorb as we age.

  • Thyroid health affects digestion and absorption.

  • B12 has shown to increase reaction time and memory through action on the myelin sheath(protective coating of the nervous system).

  • B12 also helps maintain cardiovascular (heart) health through decreasing levels of homocysteine.

The form I use for the injections if the methylated form. Methylcobalamin. There are different forms but if you look at the Kreb’s cycle - the pathway in the body that needs B12 to produce energy (ATP) - this is the form that is used.

Women who are low on it really benefit from this - it’s pretty immediate in terms of increasing energy and clarity! (-:

Wanna give it a go?! You need to be a client first so a proper new client assessment can be done so just call the office (403) 609-8385 to book in.

Many insurance companies cover naturopathic services so be sure to check yours.

Winter Crafts for Conscious Mamas: Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting for the Whole Family

Wet-on-Wet Watercolors 101 - beautiful activity for children to do with parent/s 4 years and up
 

1. Soak watercolor paper in cold water in your sink or a basin for 5-10 minutes (longer for heavier paper and the heavier the paper the better is what we prefer).


2. Gently sponge off the excess water. 


3. Mix watercolor and water about 1:1 in a little baby jar --- if you buy the bigger stockmar paints I recommend getting crimson, cobalt blue and lemon yellow or golden yellow and putting each in a mason jar with water and then keep it in the fridge. This way you can  just stir and pour what you need in a little jar as you need it - this makes it easy to get painting when you are inspired to - otherwise the thought of a big set up makes it just not happen


4. Have clear water to clean brush so you don't muddy the colors going from one to the other. A cloth/sponge to wipe brush on helps.  


5. Enjoy!  The creations can be used for cards, wrapping paper, to hang … the cool thing is that the young child is able with this medium to produce something that is truly beautiful (not just to mom and dad’s eyes!) (-:


Helpful to know: Watercolor painting for kids is not a long activity - prep is longer than painting but it's worth it ... meditative and connecting (-: 

FYI - Dr. Monika has mini-classes on how to do this - if you and 3 - 4 friends would like a hands-on experience text Monika at 403 678-7901 to set something up.

One Family's Approach to side-stepping a Toy Overloaded Christmas ...

I know many of you are trying to simplify, declutter and accumulate less schtuff in general. Some of you have expressed your angst when thinking about the amount and types of gifts your children will likely be getting this Christmas. It's a tricky one because everyone has the best, heart-felt intentions. I've found it helpful to let family know what we do want for the kids and sharing the bigger picture with them ....

Here's an example of a Christmas Letter from Mothering Magazine that one mom wrote to help her extended family and friends align with her family's values ...

“Dear friends and family, 

As the holidays approach I want share with you some changes we are making in our home. We recently noticed our house filling up with toys that were rarely played with, easily broken, and cluttered the house. In an effort to simplify our home, we decided to keep playthings the girls have shown interest in, are of good quality, and are mostly open ended. By doing this, we hope to foster an appreciation in the girls for what they have by not overwhelming them with large numbers of toys and also encourage the use of their imagination. Here is a link that explains our toy philosophy: https://www.threesisterstoys.com/t-aboutnatural.aspx

I have a few suggestions to aid you if you desire to give a gift to the girls. Time spent with you whether it be a special date or day would thrill them. Membership or admission to local museums or parks. Also, hand made items by you such as sewn/knitted/crocheted animals or dolls would be treasured. This includes wooden items like cars or small nature figures for those who are able to work with wood. If you do not have the time nor inclination to make an item, the girls also have registries on these two wonderful websites that carry the types of playthings that we are focusing on for our family.

http://www.atoygarden.com/index.cfm?...gistry_id=738*and http://www.threesisterstoys.com/gift...a-090989d5a8e6

Please do not feel that you need to get multiple items as one item of good quality would be wonderful.

As always, any gifts are appreciated but please remember that we prefer little to no plastic, no characters, and no electronics. We would also prefer that any items are baby safe to prevent choking incidents. Please feel free to let us know of any preferences you have for your own gifts for the holidays as we would love to give you something you would appreciate also.

Thank you, I hope that you have a wonderful week ...”

  

The Water That Makes Me Want To Drink More! Directions to the Canmore Spring

From downtown Canmore: 

Go West on Bow Valley Trail until you get to the overpass. Cross the highway - you'll see exits heading for Banff and Harvey Heights - go past these and you'll be on Palliser Trail going East. The Spring is right there pretty much. You will see a speed sign on your right  (50km/hour). Once you see that sign find a place to park - the entrance to the Spring is across the road on the left side. 

From the sunny side of Canmore: 

Head to Harvey Heights on Palliser Trail(road to Harvey Heights). The spring trail head is just past the yellow and red stop sign on the right side of the road just before you get to the overpass.

 

  YUMMY! It really is delicious and if you are a person that can also feel the vitality of things you eat or drink you will be pleasantly surprised on that level too…

YUMMY! It really is delicious and if you are a person that can also feel the vitality of things you eat or drink you will be pleasantly surprised on that level too…

My kids being goofballs ‘directing’ you to the spring! (-: My kids have grown up getting “Mother Earth” water - that’s what they call the water from the spring. I love the weekly ritual of it - it is such a peaceful spot to visit.

 This picture was taken before we were told that bylaw prefers you DON’T park on the lawn but instead on the shoulder of the road. I’ve kept it in so you get a really good idea of where it is.

This picture was taken before we were told that bylaw prefers you DON’T park on the lawn but instead on the shoulder of the road. I’ve kept it in so you get a really good idea of where it is.

Winter Help for Dry Skin and Lips

Yes, it's that time of year when the cold and dryness can really show up on our skin so here are some internal and external supportive measures ...

1. Get hydrated!  

Having a glass of water/water bottle handy and take sips throughout the day. One glass on waking, one while preparing meals, one before leaving home, one when you get home .... find a doable rhythm with it.

* 1 L for every 100 lbs body weight daily or another recommendation is to drink in ounces half your body weight in pounds. Add a cup extra for every cup of coffee, sugar and other dehydrating substances.

*  add fresh lemon juice to your morning water to aid liver function and detoxification or after dinner to curb that late night dessert/carb craving. 

*  avoid gulping down huge amounts of water when eating - this dilutes your digestive enzymes and further weakens digestion. Sipping is fine. 

2. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)- healthy oils - key not only to immune system health and brain power but a key nutrient in skin health. Super EFA Liquid and Super EFA capsules are my favourite fish oils and are available at the office in Canmore (403) 609-8385. Whichever EFAs you get just make sure they are clean from contaminants/heavy metals - asking the company if they have third party testing and getting a copy of current evaluation is a way to make sure you are buying one that is healthy for you.

3. 100 % Natural Oils/Lotions/Lip Balms for topical use - Antioxidants are protective and strengthen our skin - pick oils/lotions free of chemicals you can't pronounce and high in antioxidants - Rocky Mountain Soap Company, Uriel and Weleda are our family's favorites.  

* For cracked lips and painful, cracked skin on the fingers the Universal Ointment R30 (I special order this for clients) has gotten rave reviews! $24.95 for a tube. (403) 609-8385.

4. Skin brush daily before your shower - aside from being a powerful daily way to support your immune system, skin brushing sloughs off dead skin cells and increases circulation to your skin. Increased circulation brings increased nutrients and of course healthier skin. Check out  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoTBP_WJy9E for a basic short video on skin brushing.    

5. Decrease daily chlorine exposure - chlorine in our water is drying. Especially is you have children, a chlorine filter for your shower is a good, simple investment to help your skin and body be healthy - it's easy to install and a client told me that they are available at home hardware. I had bought mine through www.aquasmart.com.  

6. Lastly, make sure your dry skin isn’t a sign of something bigger like a subclinical hypothyroid state or a call for some support adrenally. Stress can have a drying effect on the tissues of the body and when the thyroid is low your mood, weight, energy and digestion can be affected. Your Naturopathic Doctor is trained to look at the big picture of your health. She/he can do tests that preventatively test for the health of the thyroid and adrenals and help you get to the bottom of symptoms so your whole system can thrive. (-:

 

Mama Essentials: What I Wish Was Attached To The Pregnancy Test Kit I Bought

If you’re a mom reading this (which I’m guessing you are) this stat from Dr. Oscar Serrallach might not surprise you, “on average mothers lose 700 hours of sleep in the first year".

OK, so I’ve never done the math but if I quickly do it I realize that even more surprising to me is that I think that number is low (!) … for many of the women I’ve worked with it’s actually more …

Truth is we know that we are getting less sleep and that we are tired and most moms I know feel there is nothing they can do about the tiredness … there is. I teach moms 6 foundational principles to help motherhood be a nourishing rather than depleting time. One key foundational principle is around rest … restorative rest. There are actual several pleasurable ways that mothers can enter a restorative restful state that they (and I) had no idea about but I always start with this. Drum roll …

This healthy-happy mama hack that addresses the ‘less sleep’, imbalanced nervous system and adrenal glands and gives your body and mind a true rest (well according to Jana Roemer “it basically makes motherhood possible”) is Yoga Nidra.

I hope to see the day when attached to every woman’s pregnancy test is a little USB with some Yoga Nidra recordings as well as some core instructions on how to use this tool to the maximum benefit.

“30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is said to be equivalent to 4 hours of rest.”

6 years ago when I heard the above quote I was in. Since then every client of mine gets Yoga Nidra woven into their healing protocol as in the same way that stress can negatively impact most disease, de-stressing can positively affect everything from headaches, to weight gain, to thyroid problems, to PMS, to infertility, to digestive problems and … well basically. kinda. everything … really …

Here’s more on what it is and how it works …

Yoga Nidra (YN) is the mindfulness meditation of choice for moms and moms-to-be and moms going through peri-menopause and menopause. Anytime you’d like to be sleeping more than you are or feel stress accumulating.

Basically YN is a guided, restorative mindfulness technique that you do lying down that has you aging well and keeping you resourced and connected to your joyful, relaxed, loving, confident, content Self.

What is it and how is this possible? Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleep and basically our bodies are taken through the biological process of sleep during this guided mediation.

What does that mean? It means that the changes that happen to the brain and body during sleep happen in yoga nidra with the difference being that you are awake during the changes. What are these “changes”? Brain wave changes which affect everything else. Essentially the brain waves slow down - going from Beta, to Alpha, to Theta, to Delta. To give you an idea of what this means let’s talk about thoughts per cycle. Say in Beta you experience over 40 thoughts per cycle and as you progress through a sleep cycle (and a nidra) these decrease with as little as 2 thoughts per cycle happening at the Delta brainwave state.

So? So all the energy that is normally tied up in the Beta wave 40 thought per cycle state is free to (among other things) 1. heal, restore and repair the body, and 2. to work on completing unresolved/uncompleted emotions of the day … just like when we sleep. We are in the subconscious brainwave states of theta and delta so we can use this to a great advantage as well but that’s another piece I’ll go into at another time. (-:

To learn more about when the next yoga nidra retreats/classes are or to host one in your community contact us at retreats@opentowellness.ca.

Save the date! November 23 - 30, 2019. Nourish Your Feminine Soul: Restorative Mindfulness, Art and Yoga & Nidra Retreat at the gorgeous Xinalani Retreat Center in Mexico - the food and beauty of nature there is exquisite … (-: