Yoga Pt 3

Last week I spoke about my beginning experience with yoga.  Now you know where I stand in this journey.  So let us continue together.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in yoga, but not enough to really do any research on it.  After all, I couldn’t even sit up straight on the floor, how on earth would I be able to do yoga?!

Then God brought Beth into my life.  I attended on Sunday evenings, but not as regular as would be optimal.  Nor did I practice much at home.  Still, after a while, I thought I could see a difference.

I told a friend of mine about the class, told her she should join me.  Her reply was typical.  “I can’t sit on the floor.  I can’t get up off the floor.  I can’t…[fill in the blank]”.  For every excuse she laid down, my reply was the same, “Neither can I”.  She asked me why I did yoga, then.  I told her the answer was simple –  So someday I can!

My friend never did join me & now Beth has had to close her classes.  So, I must use what I have learned from Beth, the Tai Chi I took before & from watching my kids at Tae Kwon Do.  And in this wonderful age of the world wide web, I can find countless YouTube videos on the subject!

I have a fairly simple routine.  I start with what I know as The Mountain.  Move into Giving Glory, hold before hinging at the waist to reach for the floor with my hands.  To manage that I bend my knees until my knuckles are touching.

My goal from there is to lower my butt to the Frog position.  Lean forward, placing my hands in front of me, tucking my toes & moving into the Table.  Untuck toes, bring Table to Child’s Pose.  Come around to cross-legged into meditation.

Ok, so that’s not exactly the routine.  It’s more like the goal.  Most days I’m not even able to obtain Frog, let alone drop my self into it.  My knees need to be strengthened a lot more before that happens.  In the meantime, it’s been rather un-graceful.  Lol

Then I heard about Stick Yoga.  Checked out some YouTubes & saw where they were going with it.  I make Stick People (topic for another time).  I saw how my personal Stick Person, Dreamer, could be of assistance to me.

The Mountain is standing on both feet about three feet apart.  Each foot has three points to help you balance.  The heel, the pad under your big toe & the pad under your little toe should all have equal weight.  Your arms are down to your side, palms forward.  I imagine I’m being pulled up by my ears, which tends to line everything up.  Balances the head on top of the spine, stretches the spine & activates the legs.  I find the balance spot for the hips & bend the knees ever so slightly.  (You should always keep the knees slightly bent to maintain circulation throughout your body.)

I inhale slowly & deeply into the gut.  As I exhale I pull my gut in until it’s concave under my ribs.  On each inhale I feel the oxygen fill the spaces between the vertebrae.  The exhale dissipates tension & stress.

I like to close my eyes, I feel it helps me focus better.  I look for the tense areas, I feel for the balance.  I open up to the energy flowing around me.  I feel it coursing through my legs, up the spine, out the crown of my head & also coming back from heaven, through me, returning to the earth.

I hold each pose at just that perfect place between relaxed & strained.  I take time to breathe into any tightness.  For me it’s my back muscles.  Certain ones want to cramp up on me.  In the beginning I would have to pull out of the pose to stop the cramp.  Now, most of the time, I can breathe through it.  I’m learning to use the correct muscles for the job & that takes time to build them.  In the meantime, they protest.

Although I have an idea of what I want to work on, I listen to my body.  Some days I can do a pose & it feels good.  The next day I’m unable to even get close to that same pose.  So I do what I can.

Ok, that’s it for today.  Join me next week, won’t you?  Until we meet again, Be Blessed.

LB

https://www.lbelitearomas.com/

@LadyBonser

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Yoga Pt 2

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I always thought there is just yoga.  You know, you see the instructor easily twisting around while you’re thinking that kind of flexibility only happens from birth.

Well, turns out there’s at least one other kind.  Yoga Therapy.  I’m just learning about it, so let me explain it through the words of Kat Tillinghast, Certified Yoga Therapist.

“Yoga therapy is the application of techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges at any level, manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve overall health and attitude. Pain and injury can cause many other problems in the body such as digestive problems, muscle tension and even anxiety and depression.

Yoga Therapy focuses on individuals and small groups with any type of physical or emotional imbalance, including injury and trauma. A Yoga Therapy practice is specifically designed and created with compassion, to target the imbalance utilizing all of the tools of Yoga, a natural prescription. This can include poses, breathing, meditation, guided visualization, mantra, whatever practice is required for the individuals to manage their condition and get closer to a personal goal.

In addition, Yoga Therapists possess particular knowledge and understanding of common back conditions, as well as various other sports and other related injuries and health conditions and how to specifically treat them according to the student. Yoga stimulates the Autonomic Nervous System, by way of breath-centered movement and this helps to reduce chronic pain, calming the area of the brain which controls pain. The treatment may also include techniques to manage underlying psychological & physiological imbalances.

Yoga in general and Yoga Therapy is widely known for increasing overall health and an overall sense of well being.”

Now, like I said, I’m just learning about Yoga Therapy, so I haven’t gone to Kat…yet.  The other day on my FB time line I came across an incredible deal she was offering.  It was being held just 3 hours from me.  But the timing isn’t right.  It will happen though.

Anyway, I reached out to Kat & asked her to write something out for me about Yoga Therapy.  Here’s what you can look forward to when you schedule with her:

“How can yoga therapy help you? Yoga Therapy is much more than a physical yoga practice. It is specifically designed to treat many physical and psychological conditions, imbalances and disease. A yoga therapist works with an individual or small groups, applying specific movements, breathing practices and other tools designed to directly manage symptoms and causes. Because yoga therapy is designed specifically for your needs, a healing space is created without any pressure to “perform” uncomfortable postures or techniques. Yoga as medicine then, is simplified and the only tools chosen are those which can manage specific conditions. Simple practices are taught and can be given as a daily 10 minute practice that over time has helped many individuals heal and become healthier and happier.”

Check it out –

FB -Yoga Kat – West Coast Yoga and Sports Therapy

http://westcoastyogatherapy.com/

Thank you for joining me.  Until next we meet, may you be Blessed.

LB

https://www.lbelitearomas.com/

@LadyBonser

Yoga Pt 1

“Merriam-Webster

  1. capitalized : a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation
  2. : a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being

Yoga.org

The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means “to join” or “to yoke”.

Yoga is a practical aid, not a religion. Yoga is an ancient art based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind, and spirit. The continued practice of yoga will lead you to a sense of peace and well-being, and also a feeling of being at one with their environment. This is a simple definition.”

There you go, that’s what two of the experts say about it.  For me yoga is a way to meditate.  I believe you can mediate with out yoga, but I don’t believe you can do yoga without meditating.  I like to start my time with yoga working on just the basics.  I struggle standing balanced & flowing my breath, so that’s where I begin.

Let me interrupt right here & tell you straight, I AM A NOVICE.  I HAVE NO FORMAL TRAINING.  THIS IS JUST MY THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCES.

With that being said, let us continue in understanding.

Shortly after we moved into our home I was blessed with the opportunity to meet one of my neighbors.  She showed me this room in her house that she had prepared as her yoga studio.  She mentioned she would like to give classes there & I told her to sign me up.

A few years later she did just that.  I was only able to make her Sunday evening class, but I think that was the best one anyway.  Everything we did we did slowly & held.  I learned from her that while my muscles are strong, but they’re also very tight.  So moving slow & holding is what works best for me.

Another, more basic lesson I learned from her is the breath.  Before I started joining her if I lied down on my back & attempted to stretch, the one side would just cramp up & not let me relax.  Then I learned how to breathe.

Did you know you can inhale oxygen & direct it to parts of your body?  Yeah, me neither, but you can.  I’ve done it.  See, I learned that when I would get that cramp in my back to inhale & focus on the air filling the muscle.  That helps unlock it, loosen the knot.

The exhale expels the tension & I could continue.  Sometime it takes a couple of those breaths, sometimes one & still other times, none.

My point is that I like the slowness of yoga.  I like taking my time on the stretch.  I take it right to the perfect edge, right before it hurts.  I breathe into the tightness.  I check my body over for tenseness & relax it.  I check for the old way I held myself & exchange it by activating the correct muscles.  And when that perfect edge has moved, I move to it again, remembering to breathe.

When I started going to Beth I would pretty much only practice during our hour together.  This one time, though, she challenged us to do any stretch every night for ten days & see the difference.  I took her up on it & she was so totally right, it made an amazing difference.

Well, now life has changed for Beth & I no longer have a leader.  So I become my own leader & student.

A good leader realizes she does not know everything, so she reaches out to you, her friends.  She, I, ask you for your experiences.  What are some of the ways you’ve learned yoga?  Are you under someone’s guidance or are you practicing on your own?

Thank you for joining me today.  May you be Blessed.

LB

https://www.lbelitearomas.com/

@LadyBonser

 

Meditation & Aromatherapy

Hi & thank you for joining me again.  I’ve read back over my intro & I noticed the way I refer to Aromatherapy, Meditation & Yoga.  It’s a trio, each needed to help support & assist in our balance & spirit.meditation

The last couple of weeks we discussed Aromatherapy.  You’ve decided the aromas you want to try.  Now you’re ready to move to the second leg of the triad.  Meditation.

Yoga International defines meditation this way: “Meditation is a word that has come to be used loosely and inaccurately in the modern world. That is why there is so much confusion about how to practice it. Some people use the word meditate when they mean thinking or contemplating; others use it to refer to daydreaming or fantasizing. However, meditation (dhyana) is not any of these.

Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.”

To reach this state takes time, practice & desire, but the benefits of the journey are very rewarding.  You will experiment with different locations, different aromas & different ways of diffusion to find what works for you.  You will try different positions to find the one where you feel the energy flowing into you, through you & returning to the energy of the universe.

The aromas we have already discussed.  You want the fragrances that promote relaxation, focus & concentration.  Roman Chamomile, Lavender & Peppermint are excellent for just these purposes.

You need to think about your location.  You need somewhere that’s quiet & you’ll be left alone.  A public park would probably not be a good choice.

In a perfect world your home would be ideal.  There you can control how strong the fragrance is & what’s in your surroundings, the sights & sounds.

I utilize my living room.  I have a fireplace for my ambiance.  Whether my eyes are open or closed I see the flickering of the flames.  I have my diffuser putting my aroma into the air.  I bring my focus into my body, looking for the places to be addressed.  Keeping my mind open.

On nice days I can travel a bit into the desert & find a place of solitude.  I would definitely set up incense sticks or cones out there.  I would want the higher concentration out in the open.

Your location can also influence the positions you can try.  And vice versa.  When I started meditation I couldn’t sit cross-legged on the floor with a straight back.  So I started meditating lying on my back.  Not exactly something you would do out doors.

And while that was a place to start, I wasn’t content with the flow of energy.  So I started sitting up.  I pushed my bottom as close to the door as I could & then used the support to help hold my back straight.  I concentrated on strengthening those muscles & stretching out my leg muscles at the same time.  I can now sit on the floor, either straight legged or cross-legged, with a straight back.  I’m happier with the flow of energy.

The goal of Meditating is to bring you into a state of consciousness that brings rest to our minds.  A rest that is not attainable in our normal waking state.

Join me next week as we put the third leg in place, Yoga.

Thank you for joining me today.  May you be Blessed.

LB

https://www.lbelitearomas.com/

@LadyBonser

 

Meditation

Hi & thank you for joining me again.  I’ve read back over my intro & I noticed the way I refer to Aromatherapy, Meditation & Yoga.  It’s a trio, each needed to help support & assist in our balance & spirit.

The last couple of weeks we discussed Aromatherapy.  You’ve decided the aromas you want to try.  Now you’re ready to move to the second leg of the triad.  Meditation.

Yoga International defines meditation this way: “Meditation is a word that has come to be used loosely and inaccurately in the modern world. That is why there is so much confusion about how to practice it. Some people use the word meditate when they mean thinking or contemplating; others use it to refer to daydreaming or fantasizing. However, meditation (dhyana) is not any of these.

Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.”

To reach this state takes time, practice & desire, but the benefits of the journey are very rewarding.  You will experiment with different locations, different aromas & different ways of diffusion to find what works for you.  You will try different positions to find the one where you feel the energy flowing into you, through you & returning to the energy of the universe.

The aromas we have already discussed.  You want the fragrances that promote relaxation, focus & concentration.  Roman Chamomile, Lavender & Peppermint are excellent for just these purposes.

You need to think about your location.  You need somewhere that’s quiet & you’ll be left alone.  A public park would probably not be a good choice.

In a perfect world your home would be ideal.  There you can control how strong the fragrance is & what’s in your surroundings, the sights & sounds.

I utilize my living room.  I have a fireplace for my ambiance.  Whether my eyes are open or closed I see the flickering of the flames.  I have my diffuser putting my aroma into the air.  I bring my focus into my body, looking for the places to be addressed.  Keeping my mind open.

On nice days I can travel a bit into the desert & find a place of solitude.  I would definitely set up incense sticks or cones out there.  I would want the higher concentration out in the open.

Your location can also influence the positions you can try.  And vice versa.  When I started meditation I couldn’t sit cross-legged on the floor with a straight back.  So I started meditating lying on my back.  Not exactly something you would do out doors.

And while that was a place to start, I wasn’t content with the flow of energy.  So I started sitting up.  I pushed my bottom as close to the door as I could & then used the support to help hold my back straight.  I concentrated on strengthening those muscles & stretching out my leg muscles at the same time.  I can now sit on the floor, either straight legged or cross-legged, with a straight back.  I’m happier with the flow of energy.

The goal of Meditating is to bring you into a state of consciousness that brings rest to our minds.  A rest that is not attainable in our normal waking state.

Thank you for joining me today.  May you be Blessed.

Join me next week as we put the third leg in place, Yoga.

Safe travels my friends & until we meet again, Be Blessed.

LB

https://www.lbelitearomas.com/

@LadyBonser

Aromatherapy Pt 2

Last week we talked about the history.  This week I would like to explore more about how Aromatherapy can be used.

We hear Aromatherapy & Essential Oils used almost interchangeably.  But this isn’t the full picture.  “Aroma” means “Fragrance” & “therapy” means ‘treatment”.  That means when we diffuse the oils we are utilizing a treatment plan of fragrances.  The essence of the plant is the fragrance oil, held in its cells.  So, whether we use the actual plant or the extracted oil, we are administering Fragrance Treatment or Aroma Therapy.  aromatherapy

Now, once these fragrance essence oils or essential oils are extracted from the plant, they are diffused in several ways.  There is warming the oil by a heat source or burning incense, placing crystals or beads soaked in your favorite aroma, diluting oils to be applied to the skin, & more.  Let’s touch on some of these ways.  pure essential oils

reedIt appears the favorite way of infusing our space with oils today is to gently warm them.  If you’re in your office space, you may not be able to use a warmer.  The alternative is Diffusing Reeds.  They diffuse much slower & may not be as offensive to those who are sensitive.  Always be considerate & check before diffusing in open areas.

eo jewelryIf you find you aren’t able to use the Diffusing Reeds, there is always the personal Diffusing jewelry.  I personally use a small, terra cotta disc worn around my neck with a hemp cord under my shirt.  I also place a couple of drops on the bottoms of my feet before putting on hosiery & shoes.  Doesn’t seem to bother those around me & yet has the desired effect on me.

Now, what about around your home?  I recommend that if you live with others, check how they feel about essential oils.  For some, a strong infusion of a certain aroma can trigger headaches, allergies etc., so always be considerate.  Aromatherapy is always meant to assist in the positive.

HeartYour choices in your home are almost endless.  Candles stick or cone incense, diffusers, sachet bags, decorative bathroom beads, etc.  In my home my husband does not respond well to burning incense.  The smoke that tends to fill the rooms is unpleasant for him.  He’s also not fond of burning candles.  Again, the aroma is too concentrated for him

So I use a simple electric diffuser.  Some water & a couple of drops of the fragrance & it gently fills the air.  Mine runs for about two hours before automatically turning off.  I place it in our room, infusing the area with moisture & aroma.  When we retire for the night we fall asleep quicker & are well rested in the morning.

At the Yoga studio I visit there burns either the incense sticks or cones.  Occasionally candles are used as our fragrance source.  The ceiling is higher & the space open, so the concentration does not overwhelm the senses.  This is the goal you seek when you are using Fragrance Treatment.  You want the fragrance to waft around your nostrils, tantalizing your olfactory receptors.dog-sense-of-smell  This in turn triggers the limbic system of the brain.  This is where emotional behavior & memory get involved.

Most aromatherapy is usually done with specific intention.  You might use lavender or chamomile to bring on feelings of relaxation.  Eucalyptus oils for helping to clear your breathing.  Wild orange oils to energize & up lift you for the day.  The aroma of Jasmine oils to bolster your confidence.

You can also use sachets filled with crystals or beads to keep you drawers smelling fresh & homey.  Cedarwood oil is a natural deodorizer & its pleasant wood smell improves personal outlook.  I find Pine oil to be rather comforting also.

You can use Peppermint Oil in your car.  Peppermint oil helps enhance alertness & stamina.  Good qualities when you must drive in traffic or long distances.  4_Care2Traffic-Advisory_443x267_72

You decide what you want to surround yourself in & then look for the corresponding fragrance.  You can check out my links below.  They will take you to sites where you can learn more about moods & essential oils.

Thank you for joining me today.  May you be Blessed.

LB

https://www.lbelitearomas.com/

@LadyBonser

*Warnings* 

Never apply a pure essential oil directly to your skin. Essential oils are extremely potent in their undiluted form and need to be added to carrier oil, such as almond, apricot kernel or olive oil. Do not ingest essential oils. If you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition, check with your doctor before using essential oils, as some can interact with medications. Pregnant women and young children should not use essential oils unless under the guidance of a medical professional.

Aromatherapy Pt 1

I thought a good place to start would be to explain what are aromatherapy, meditation and yoga.  How can they help us to be better & how to use them.  We’ll look at the different facets of them & how they intermingle to affect our balance & spirit.

This week we will talk about aromatherapy.  We’ll look at the different ways we can infuse the air around us with aromas.  We’ll look at how aroma oils have been used to   ease many discomforts.

I feel Wikipedia covers it best for our purposes: “Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for improving psychological or physical well-being.

It can be offered as a complementary therapy or, more controversially, as a form of alternative medicine. Complementary therapy can be offered alongside standard treatment, with alternative medicine offered instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.”

Aromatherapists, who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be issued through topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate a desired response.

There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent or cure any disease, but it might help improve general well-being.”

That being said, let’s take a quick look at aromatherapy history.

Aroma Therapy (fragrance treatment) has been used for more than 6000 years, but the term was only recently coined.

Fragrant oils such as myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon, cedarwood & juniper berry are all known for their use in Biblical times.

China has a medical book, dated around 2,700 BC, that contains over 300 different aromatic herbs & how they were used as cures.

Hypocrites (400 BC), Father of Medicine, believed that a daily aromatic bath & scented massage promoted good health.

It was in the early 1900’s when a French chemist accidentally burnt his hand & immediately immersed it in the nearest liquid.  That liquid happened to be lavender oil.  His injured hand healed quickly, without infection or visible scar.  Since then there have been numerous studies conducted on the healing powers of essential oils.

Now you may be wondering just what is an “essential oil”?  It’s the essence of the plant’s fragrance.  The oil is produced then held in specialized glands of the aromatic plants.  It is usually extracted by distillation or expression (cold-pressed).

There are other methods, but these are generally considered to be the best methods & the purest oils.

Essential oils are divided into two groups.  Some oils consider “hot” or “inflamation”.  These are generally the spices.  Cinnamon, ginger, oregano, clove, even peppermint need carrier oils for any kind of topical use.

Others are considered “cold” or “hypo-function” oils. Flowers make up this group.  Lavender, gardenia, plumeria & lotus are some examples.  These aromas usually calm & soothe.  Usually anti-inflammatory, excellent when mixed with Epsom Salt & dissolved in a warm bath.

Other terms I will be using for these two groups comes from Ayurveda & Chinese medicines.  The hot oils are consider of the sun or agni.  The cool oils are of the moon or soma.  We’ll talk more about that at another time.

WARNING:  DO NOT ORALLY INGEST ANY ESSENTIAL OIL BEFORE CONSULTING WITH A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL.

Please join me next week for the next installment on Aromatherapy.

Be Blessed to our next meeting.  LB