Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Yoga or Qigong or Both

As with most healing practices, we evaluate where we are in our life and body, in our mind state, and then let ourselves feel or intuit which practice might suit us best at this particular moment. Perhaps sharing my own experience may help you feel more at ease with how to choose a healing movement practice.

Many practitioners (I'm not a teacher, rather a forever student) concur that Hatha Yoga (postures or asanas) moves at a moderate or fast pace, focusing upon static postures that strengthen; it has always felt to me very much a masculine or yang system, no matter how much I slow it down or try to soften the postures. Qigong is felt to be a distinctly more flowing movement practice, often quite slow; far more feminine or yin in its character. Yoga usually requires greater athleticism while Qigong can be done by nearly everyone, no matter their physical limitations. That said, there are certainly some Yoga vinyasas (flows) that are less rigid while some Qigong videos present far less flow than others (I've found those to be presented by teachers who began with Yoga and added Qigong later so they seemingly still retain the rigidity.

I began practicing Yoga more than a decade ago, which led me to the holistic medical system of Ayurveda, both traditional practices in India for many thousands of years. The practice of Hatha Yoga suited me for a while, granting me greater strength and focus (even though I didn't 'advance' very far in the postures). As I had never been an athletic or "exercise" person per se, I surprised myself in keeping to a fairly consistent practice. That was then.

Moving through my mid-fifties, and following an accident that limited my mobility for several months, I found myself less satisfied with the practice of Yoga as it pertained to postures. My body felt so much more stiff than ever before and most of the postures weren't just uncomfortable but downright painful. I kept at the Yoga I knew for a while but began to realize something needed to shift. This is now.

Last week, as it happens, I received an email invitation to observe a free Qigong Summit (via the Shift Network, an organization that has provided me with many helpful programs over the years). Yes. This resonates on multiple levels. I'm ready for a change. I had tried Tai Chi many, many years ago but found it too difficult; Qigong is much more simple, especially in the beginning. Not that I will completely abandon Hatha Yoga but can feel an inner knowing that Qigong is where I need to be residing right now for movement and healing and wellness as I edge closer to turning sixty.

All of us need to move consciously in our lives, to keep the energy (Prana or Qi or Chi) flowing, the energy that heals.

What do YOU need? Where is your body, mind, and spirit guiding you?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Modern Manufacturing of Homeopathic Remedies

Here is a marvelous short video of the process through which Boiron creates their Homeopathic remedies

I learned all this back when I was trained in Homeopathy, and have made some of my own remedies through the years, but it's fascinating to watch the modern industrial process.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

America Needs Homeopathy

There is a great compendium available - "Why Homeopathy Matters in America" - for those curious about Homeopathy -- and explains a bit of why those of us who use it are passionate about it as a viable effective health care modality, from reducing the need for antibiotics to alleviating pain (and opioid addiction) to boosting immune systems and improving health overall - including mental health. (Just go to the link and download the ebook.)

Homeopathy is one of many different modalities that fall into what is now often called together Biofield Therapies. But no worries - "biofield therapy" is simply a term chosen because it sounds more like a scientific method than does "energy medicine" or "vitalism."

Friday, May 31, 2019

Multiple Sclerosis - An Excess of Air and Fire

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a mysterious sort of disease, one that is hard to pin down and even harder to halt and/or reverse. My introduction to MS has been through my younger brother who developed recognizable symptoms in his early forties, and has been heartbreaking to watch as it progressed. Each medical system generally has its own approach to healing, and with MS that's true as well. I want to offer an Ayurvedic window into understanding and treating MS, a perspective that may be particularly helpful in the early stages of the disease.

Ayurveda is an ancient medical system, one that looks at our health problems from both a material and an energetic perspective. It can help us see that when we understand our own innate constitution, we can bring a broader vision to self-care, showing us our individual weaknesses and susceptibilities.

The online resource "The Ayurveda Experience," reveals this modality's insights into MS in its essay "Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms, Treatment, Causes and Ayurvedic Treatment." What I particularly appreciate in this article is how the author blends modern with ancient in her descriptions of what is happening within a person that has developed MS.

Individuals with a Vata-Pitta nature (prakriti) seem to be more susceptible to developing MS than those who are predominantly Kapha; they need to make sure they are keeping enough healthy fats in their diets (the myelin sheath needs cholesterol; Vata is dry) and not ingesting too many foods or drinks that are excessively heating (because dryness is exacerbated by fire/Pitta). Every situation is unique, however, and anyone can develop MS depending upon causative factors; another Ayurvedic article is "Multiple Sclerosis Protocols" and points out, in contrast to the earlier article, how the treatment approach can vary depending upon whether MS reveals itself as an auto-immune or an inflammatory disorder.

This above is a simplistic description but I hope it encourages the reader to explore what benefits Ayurveda may offer to those suffering from MS.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Emotional Support and Dogs

I was reflecting upon how the USA approaches dogs and their people. Sadly, though many of us consider our dogs to be members of our family, many other people don't treat them that way. Instead, the majority of Americans continue to treat dogs as commodities. "No way!" you say? Think about it in relation to not only the hundreds of thousands of dogs killed every year in shelters but also the latest trend of getting dogs (and other animals, but here I'm speaking only about dogs) for "emotional support."

Now, I'm the first one to speak up about how blessed I feel to be living with canine companions, and I do feel emotionally supported by them. But when I bring a dog into my household, the primary consideration is not what they can do for me (although I am aware of that aspect) but rather how can I care for them and provide them with the best life possible. We will be in relationship with one another. This is in direct contrast to the trend of acquiring dogs as a tool, a commodity, or an object to use -- this is uncomfortably close to the mindset that continues to use dogs as experimental objects for science as well as factory farming. I see many dogs being used rather than related to as beings in their own rights.

So, back to the action of getting an "emotional support animal (ESA)." I've seen dogs turned in to rescue groups because they weren't what someone was needing in an ESA; people try them on for fit and if they don't -- fit that is -- then the dog is abandoned. Dogs are not machines or automatons; they are individual and unique creatures with as many temperaments as we find in people. They aren't a one-size-fits-all solution to mental health therapy and can become a crutch rather than allowing the person to find true healing.

How might this be different if the USA already allowed well-trained dogs to be in public places with their people, similar to many countries in Europe? (Please note I said "well-trained" - any dog taken into public places needs to behave; one advantage of tiny dogs is they can travel with us in carriers, thereby having very little impact on or interaction with other people and animals. But they still need to be socialized properly.) When a society has a dog-friendly culture, I'm going to hazard a guess that it's not nearly as necessary to acquire a dog specifically as an ESA. Why? Because our companions already attend outings with us and both species are welcomed, thus reducing the anxiety of human and dog before we ever leave our home.

Maybe our American problem where more and more people are desperate for canine emotional support is directly related to our cultural objection to and intolerance of dogs accompanying their people into public places.

If you need emotional support, please consider all therapeutic options -- especially natural ones like Flower Essences or EFT (tapping) or mindfulness -- before using a dog to "fix" your mental health problem. 

Living with a dog is a privilege and the relationship needs to be one of mutual respect while acknowledging that we are wholly responsible for the health and well-being of the dog, not the other way around. The gift a dog provides in the form of emotional support is a beautiful legacy of enjoying a good relationship with him or her -- not the ultimate purpose.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Please, Try Alternatives First

I see so many people struggling to pay medical bills, seeking financial assistance for medical procedures through Go Fund Me and other sources, becoming addicted to conventional drugs with multiple dangerous side effects, and other complications associated with Big Pharma and the expensive conventional medical system. Sometimes there are no other options, I get that - and surgeries for emergencies are vital in saving lives.

However ... please consider alternative natural therapies first, not just one or two - explore the many varied options available, most of them quite inexpensive, and you may find one or three that provide optimum support for your needs and allow you to bypass dangerous, expensive drugs and procedures. My heart aches for people spending tens of thousands of dollars before trying "may help, won't hurt" alternatives.

If your condition is acute or chronic, but not a critical trauma or life-threatening, please try the many natural healing gifts available. I posted in the past about how I used natural remedies during my healing from broken bones or take a look at the conditions that have been helped in animals. Also, many energy medicines can provide just as good support as drugs but without any side effects.

I'm partial to Homeopathy as a primary healing modality and below is an excellent meme provided by the Canadian Society of Homeopaths that lists 10 Reasons to Use Homeopathy.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Essential Oils

I freely admit that Essential Oils are not one of my go-to natural remedies. Why? One very simple reason is because I am, instead, drawn to the realm of subtle energy modalities. This doesn't mean I don't use essential oils at times, but they are usually on my 'back shelf' of remedies and sparsely used. (For more on this concept of subtle and substance, see my post "Herbs or Subtle Energy Remedies." Another aspect of how I come to my choices is relayed in my post "Sustainability and Flower Essences."

All that said, when I do use essential oils, I turn to the wisdom of my favorite expert in this field: David Crow. His new FREE video "The Pharmacy of Flowers" (part 1) is now available and, if you are drawn to essential oils, I encourage you to check him out!