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Build Your At-Home Yoga Retreat October 17, 2017 10:43

It's time for a yoga "staycation."

yoga staycation

Feeling a little off-balance? Ashleigh Sergeant, Head of Yoga Content for Gaia.com and Certified Anusara Yoga Instructor has some thoughts.

According to Sergeant, yoga is more than just an "on-the-mat" experience.

"The masters who brought yoga to the masses meant for the practice to enrich your entire life with mindfulness and conscious connection, not hurried schleps to a sweaty studio," says Sergeant. "Yoga is, at its essence, the practice of self-inquiry as a pathway toward self-realization."

Find yourself through yoga and become more in-tune with your body.

in tune with your body

"When your practice feels like it is missing something, it is often the rest of yoga you have been leaving out, whether that’s the deeper philosophical practices of yoga or the general idea of 'yoking' (uniting) with something more," she adds. "A purposeful 'staycation' in the form of a DIY yoga retreat nurtures your whole health and wellbeing with loving self-inquiry and care, because you get to design it with yourself in mind."

That being said, it's time to build your at-home yoga retreat.

"When you step beyond the studio, you allow yourself the time and space to truly be with and learn about yourself so you may become the most authentic and empowered version of you," Sergeant adds. "A yoga retreat offers a holistic experience, a total shift from the demands of daily life into a sacred space in which you set aside the cares of a busy daily life and gift yourself a deeper yoga practice, a mindful living, healthy eating, self-care, and self-study."

Don't just practice yoga, but also integrate it into your daily life.

integrate into your daily life

"The idea appeals to practitioners of all levels and styles for reasons of comfort, lack of competition, and the sweetness of privately deepening your practice," she says. "Plus it takes the money out of the equation! It’s about desire and discipline, effort and acceptance. This is an opportunity to connect with yourself and ritualize new ways to cleanse, nourish, and rejuvenate as part of your yoga practice. Diving into a deep and disciplined practice may feel like a bit much for many modern practitioners, so these little tips were designed to help you step into ritualized self-care and self-love, practically, for a transformative yoga retreat in your new at-home sanctuary."

Schedule a mindful self-care ritual
create a yoga retreat

Create a schedule for yourself that infuses a ritual into each step. For example, wake up and start your day with a glass of warm lemon water, meditate, journal, do a morning yoga practice, eat a healthy meal, make time for reading, or take a walk. Plan time for yourself to take a bath, use aromatherapy, or even get a massage.

Be gentle, and if you need to skip something in order to nurture yourself as this practice opens you up, listen to your needs. Remember, yoga isn’t about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the journey to the ground.

Step out of your comfort zone
step outside yourself

Yoga, be it asana or meditation, releases us from our stories to live free and loving lives. Bringing your attention to yourself can, and likely will, bring up new thoughts on old patterns of fear, violence of thought or action, diseased habits that no longer serve you, and so on.

When you feel this edginess arise, sit in the discomfort without judgement.  Love who you were, are, and who you hope to be. Write, speak, sing, or sit with these new discoveries in silence. This is the true power of retreat.


Why You Should Cut People Who Suck Your Time October 12, 2017 15:40

We deal with the time vampires in our life.

life is too short

Today we deal with the time vampires in our life. You know who they are. They are the people who through conversation, drama, neediness, or some genuine problem, latch onto you and take you away from your plan for your day (or week or life). They are often people close to us, but we’ve entered a codependent relationship with them. The time together becomes wasted and doesn’t serve us (or them) when we feel more tired, stressed, edgy, or even upset after hanging with them.

self worth

Your time is the measure of your life force, and it’s all you have. Spending it recklessly with people who don’t serve and support your mission in life is an easy way to feel empty, drained, and derailed. If you sense that the days are going by and you’re not feeling better or getting closer to your goals, then it’s time to investigate and find where the time is leaking.

got negatively

Ask yourself where you may be trying to be polite a little too often with your time. Do you entertain conversations or interactions that don’t serve you? Do you know how to protect yourself from the people who drain you so that you’re not spending your energy on them without getting anything in return? That’s the first place to start.


Be a Happier Person Every Day of Your Life October 10, 2017 13:03

Learn to be more fulfilled by invoking the gardener, artist, lover and spirit-weaver within!

fine your fulfillment

How do you define true happiness? Being fulfilled in your daily work? Enjoying the beauty of a sunset? Or just getting through the day from sunup to sundown without any major disasters?

We all have our own view of the ideal life, the one that I call a life in "full bloom"—a life that's good, meaningful, and full of creativity and compassion for others. To achieve that life, as I write in my book Living LIfe in Full Bloom, you have to foster and develop the qualities of four distinct personality characteristics that each one of us harbors deep within: the gardener, who nurtures and observes; the artist, who uses creativity to discover new possibilities; the lover, who is guided by her heart and passions; and the spirit-weaver, who expresses gratitude and recognizes blessings.

passions and gifts

"define the purpose of your busy life, figure out who you really are, and unearth your passions and gifts."

Breathe

Breathing as a relaxation technique is an ancient practice and can be used at any time to increase your vitality and happiness.

Greet the dawn

Choose a day to awaken before dawn and be ready to greet the day's first light.

Rise before dawn. Light a candle to guide your way outside or to a large window. Admire the soft colors as they appear on the horizon. Let the dawn light inspire you. Appreciate this new day as a gift like no other. Choose to embrace it with intention and mindfulness. What would you like to dedicate this day to—a loved one, an action you want to take, or an opportunity to express peace, love, courage, clarity? Gather your dreams and consider what they say about your aspirations for your inner personal garden and the garden you share with the world. 

greet the dawn

Savor food with gratitude

Blessings on the meal!

Embrace the night

As cosmologist Brian Swimme tells us, we are all made from stardust.

Go outside to the darkest place you can find and lay down under the night sky.

Make generosity a habit

Because of salmon-rich rivers, gigantic forests growing on the edge of bountiful seas, and a profuse plant life of berries, food, and medicine, the native people of the Pacific Northwest had time to develop rich animistic mythologies and art forms reflecting that abundance.

generosity

Live on purpose

To live on purpose means bringing your unique contributions to the world as a meaningful offering of service to something greater than yourself.

learn from animals

Learn from animals

Since time began, people have had close relationships with animals: in the wild as a food source or threat, as a spirit totem connecting us to other higher domains, as allies, as domesticated work animals, or as companions and pets.


Positive Habits That Will Change Your Life October 04, 2017 11:23

Relatively simple, daily practices can bring great happiness and success to your life.

daily habits

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." That old Greek understood how important positive habits are to overcoming adversity and enduring the quest to become a champion. I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.

Over the years, I began adding positive habits and noticed a dramatic change in my results and the way I felt internally as well. Some of these include:

Constantly expressing gratitude

Try a gratitude dance or daily gratitude practices.  

changes

Smiling at as many people as possible

It makes you look better, and not just in pictures. 

smile

Going to bed early

It's just one of the expert-recommended ways to sleep better tonight.

Getting 7 to 8 hours of committed sleep

Those hours are vital to your performance all day long. 

Making my bed in the morning

You'll thank yourself later. There's nothing better than getting into a well-made bed at the end of a long day. 

make your bed

Staying organized

It's a quick and easy way to work clean throughout your day and finally finish that to-do list. 

Acknowledging myself and others

Take a moment and recognize the special people in your life—including yourself. 

recognize the special people in your life

Loving people wherever they are on their personal journey

Share love and you'll receive it right back. 

respect others

Respecting others

And I mean, everyone

 

 


Prepare for Your Deep Listening Practice September 28, 2017 13:05

If you're new to a daily practice, the idea of doing something every day may seem daunting. But these steps will make it easier.

time for yourself

Anyone can do a little bit often rather than feel they have to take on a lot all at once. I've always believed that we get the best results when we work at a pace that feels right for us personally. 

Take time for you

The best time to practice is anytime you can commit to it regularly. Personally, I like to practice first thing in the morning, as it sets the tone for my day and ensures that I don't get sidetracked by responsibilities and distractions.

yoga

What is important is regularity. Find a 10- to 30-minute slot in your day that you can dedicate to your practice. If you can stretch out one to three longer practices (20 to 60 minutes) during the week, add those in to your weekly schedule. Remember, a little + often = a lot.

Creating your space

The more comfortable and happy you are in your practice space, the more you will want to show up there. Think of this as a special space where you feel cared for and at ease. Choose a spot that is private, warm, and quiet. It's helpful if there are no phones or distracting devices. You should have enough space to stand on your yoga mat and reach in all directions.

mindfulness

Props

You can find yoga props online, at your local yoga studio, or at a sporting goods store. However, you can also use items from around the house.

Yoga mat: I recommend practicing on an actual yoga mat, as their grip offers more safety than a towel or carpet.

Yoga strap: For this practice, you don't need a fancy strap. You can buy one if you wish, but truly, a belt or scarf will do.

Yoga blocks: Yoga blocks are made from wood, cork, or foam. I find that foam is most comfortable for use underneath the body in resting poses.

Yoga blankets: Yoga blankets and traditional Mexican blankets are made of finely woven wool or cotton and offer consistent, even support. However, you can use oversize beach towels as well, if they have a consistent, even density.

Bed pillows are great replacements for blankets in many poses, too. Usually, a king- or queen- size pillow will work best. However, ensure that the pillow offers consistent support and that its fill is not lumpy or uneven.

 


The 'A-Ha' Moment That Led Me to Hope September 26, 2017 13:12

I was feeling like I needed to get some perspective and recharge and get out of a rut, and here's how that one decision changed me.

A few years ago, I was feeling disconnected. New York City's the most wonderful place in the world, but you need to take breaks from it. I had been working hard on launching Remedy Health, but the company wasn't clicking yet. I was feeling like I needed to get some perspective and recharge and get out of a rut.

getting out of a rut

Because I was resilient, I went looking for another avenue that would open something for me so that I could go forward on a more positive path. If I had been committed to having the company work out the way that I had initially dreamed, then I would have kept pushing what we were doing, not made any changes, and given up and gone to work somewhere else or tried to start somewhere new. But I knew that it would work out. How—I wasn't completely sure.

So I went on a spiritual retreat in the Arizona desert. I had learned about it from some friends who were working in Tucson. It was called a soul journey. I wasn't sure exactly what would happen, but I knew I would get to work with horses, learn about Native American shamanistic energy healing, and have some cool experiences that were the complete opposite of what I was currently doing.

Aha moment

At first I spent a lot of time meditating and allowing myself space to think about what was next and how things could work out as well as to hope for what I really wanted. It allowed me to have a much more open mind about what I should do differently and how I should pivot and change and keep going instead of following the same route.

But it wasn't until I began connecting with the other people on the retreat that I noticed a strong change in the way I was feeling and thinking. The people on the trip were great, although I can also say that they were neither special nor unique. They were regular people living ordinary lives; yet despite their struggles, they were doing well. over the course of a few days, we learned about one another by listening to one another's life stories, and I became overwhelmingly inspired.

more resilient

I realized that everybody has a story and people are in different parts of their story. No matter where they were, their story became a great catalyst for me to get to the place of thinking, if they can do it, so can I. As I spent time in the desert and meditated in the sweat lodge, I realized that with these real stories, more than anything I was learning on a spiritual level what inspired me to be . . . better. Being with other people and being infused with the inspiration of personal stories, I felt more hopeful and ready to overcome the obstacles in my life. I was motivated to do what I had previously thought was too difficult. I knew I was ready to change. I was eating better. I was exercising more. I wasn't feeling like I had to force things.

ways to engagement

In our modern life, people need to connect in an authentic and safe way with others who are going through the same things. They can learn from their experiences and be inspired by what they've accomplished. I realized that was incredibly easy to do online.


Rules for Optimal Thyroid Health September 21, 2017 14:13

Your thyroid health is dependent upon your diet, so follow these steps to balance your hormones.

The USDA food recommendations have undergone revisions in recent years, as our understanding of vital foods has changed. People are beginning to recognize that we are only as healthy as the foods we ingest.

thyroid health

We start by suggesting you consider eating as much organic food as possible. Thyroid function is very sensitive to synthetic chemicals and appreciates when you minimize your exposure to these in food, air and water. The fewer toxic substances you ingest, the less your liver has to work to overcome the burden of these substances. This means eating organic whenever possible, and choosing your restaurants and markets as carefully as you can.

For general purposes, we suggest that you keep away from fatty foods, fried foods, and heavy use of salt or spices. In other words, eat lightly and moderately, and follow these other food rules: 

1. Go high in fiber, low in calories

We recommend a diet high in fiber and low in calories, featuring more vegetables and fruits, beans, seeds, and sprouts. High fiber foods, including prunes and prune juice, keep the bowels moving. Having sufficient bowel movement is key. Slow bowels allow toxins to accumulate in the intestines, contributing to our feeling poor. 

2. Cut some meat and dairy from your diet

We also advise eating less meat and less dairy. This will help to lower autoimmunity, allowing you to feel better. Many of the chemicals that are best to avoid are concentrated in the fat of meats and dairy products. The less meat and dairy you eat, the less is your body's burden of these thyroid-hormone-disrupting toxins.

When you do eat meat, consider cutting your portion in half, eating smaller amounts at each meal. In addition, if you choose to grill, remember that the black charcoal's effects that make the food taste so good are contributing to cancers. Go easy on the grilling (it's one of the most toxic cooking methods); stop before it's burned. As with so many situations, moderation is the key to a healthier life.

thyroid health

3. Eat simply

You might try to find ways to purchase more of your food in bags you fill yourself from bulk bins, or shop at health food stores more often. There are a great many nonanimal protein sources, including avocado, olives, nuts, tofu (in small amounts), and others to sustain you.

4. Use good oils

There are "good fats," as opposed to the hydrogenated vegetable oils used in many processed foods we eat. We urge you to try to avoid these hydrogenated oils, as they interfere with metabolism. 

5. Munch on nuts

For those with ups and downs related to sugar metabolism, eating a small handful of nuts every few hours will ensure adequate protein supply to balance out sugar. Chew carefully.

 


Build a Natural Travel First-Aid Kit September 19, 2017 15:04

Summertime is prime time for packing your bags and taking a trip. But getting away can mean getting hit with some common travel ailments, from bug bites and stomachaches to sunburns and colds. Fortunately, it’s easy to build a natural travel first-aid kit that keeps you and your family healthy without having to worry about medication side effects.

herbal travel kit

Before you take to the road this summer, grab these items for your natural first-aid kit:

Bug Bites

Badger’s After-Bug Balm
“It contains colloidal oatmeal, which helps calm inflammation and itching, and tamanu oil, which is amazing for healing the skin,” says Stacey Donelson, a clinical herbalist in Longmont, Colorado. “It’s perfect for infants as well as adults.”

Tick tweezers
“Always carry a tick tweezer if you are camping or in the wilderness,” says Ellen Goldsmith, a certified herbalist in Portland, Oregon. “Always check for tick bites at the end of a day and take a shower if you can.”

Essential oils
“Combinations of lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, thyme and tea tree essential oils can be helpful for mosquito protection,” says Goldsmith. “Mix 10–20 drops of your preferred oils with 2 Tbsp. of a carrier oil such as almond, avocado or olive. You can apply the mixture directly on the skin.”

Salt and baking soda
“For bites, bring salt or baking soda,” says Goldsmith. “You can make a paste and apply it directly to the bug bite for relief.”

herbal travel kit

Digestive Issues

Ginger
“Ginger has a natural calming effect on the digestive system,” says Donelson. “I recommend crystallized ginger for kids—preschool-age kids and older can suck on it like candy.”

Goldsmith adds, “Ginger tea is always good for minor digestive disturbances.”

Probiotics
“Probiotics are helpful in maintaining beneficial gut bacteria while you’re traveling,” says Goldsmith. “They’re especially useful if you are traveling to an area where the food and water are dramatically different from what you’re used to at home.”

Magnesium Citrate
Due to the break in routine, constipation is common while traveling. Fortunately, magnesium citrate can work wonders as a gentle laxative. It helps to relax muscles within the intestinal wall, increasing your ability to go to the bathroom; and it works as an osmotic, pulling water into the bowels and making your stool softer and easier to move.

Sunburns

Aloe gel
“Aloe gel is great for sunburns and easy to find in health food stores,” says Goldsmith.

 Ching Wan Hung and Magnesium Cream       
“For sunburns, I recommend an herbal burn cream called Ching Wan Hung and magnesium cream,” says Donelson. “First apply Ching Wan Hung to the area; then spray the magnesium on top. The Ching Wan Hung helps the skin heal and stops the burning, while the magnesium helps your body maintain proper magnesium levels. Magnesium also can help with sleep and muscle cramps. If possible, keep both stored in a fridge or cooler for added relief.”

herbal first aid kit

Colds

Yin Qiao San  
“Yin Qiao San is a Chinese herbal formula that you can take at the first signs of a sore throat, chills or fever,” says Goldsmith. “It can usually be found in a natural food store or Chinese herb shop, or easily online. “It is best to take it right at the beginning of a cold. Take as directed.”

Socks
“Bring a pair of 100 percent cotton socks and 100 percent wool socks for a hydrotherapy treatment that can ramp up the immune system,” says Goldsmith. “Here’s what to do: Take a hot bath or shower. While you’re in there, be soaking your pair of cotton socks in the coldest water possible. When you get out of the bath or shower, wring out the socks until they’re damp but not dripping. Put on the cotton socks first then put the dry wool socks over them. Go to bed and keep the socks on all night long. When you wake up, they will be dry and you should feel better. Repeat for three nights. This treatment can turn a cold right around!”

Pains and Sprains

Arnica
“Always travel with Arnica cream and Arnica 30C as a homeopathic remedy for sprains and minor injuries,” says Goldsmith. “Arnica cream is great if you are feeling sore after a lot of activity, or if you have a mild injury. Arnica 30c, available in most health food stores, can also be taken 3–5 times daily to help prevent bruising and swelling.”


Ways to Boost Immunity and Stay Well September 14, 2017 10:37

The truth is that we are constantly exposed to germs. But there are certain things that we engage in more often during the holidays that can impact our immune systems.

improve immunity

Immunity is a complex and robust system with many checks and balances. Think of your immune system less like a fire truck—simply responding to emergencies—and more like an ecosystem. Here’s how to nourish that ecosystem.

sleep

Sleep
Remember the time you pulled an all-nighter (or two, or three) and then got sick as soon as the semester/project/deadline was over? Studies back up your experience: Not getting enough sleep makes you more susceptible to illness. Research also shows that a lack of adequate sleep (for adults, that’s at least seven to eight good hours) makes it more difficult to recover when you do get sick. Why? When you sleep, your body does important repair work, producing protective cytokines as well as infection-fighting antibodies and cells.

eat less sugar

Limit Sugar
Sugary foods can depress immunity and cripple cells that protect you from bacteria for several hours after consuming them. Plus, starchy processed foods mean you’re eating less immune-supporting foods—whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, and clean/lean proteins.

Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene–Rich Foods
Orange and yellow foods—winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots—are rich in beta-carotene, the precursor to immunity-enhancing vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat soluble. Cooking these foods and pairing them with healthy fats will increase your absorption of beta-carotene.

deep hue berries

Deep-Hued Berries
Elderberries, long used in folk remedy for respiratory illness, have been shown to help prevent the flu. But other dark-hued berries may also offer some protection and are chock-full of antioxidants that help cells recover from oxidative stress.

Probiotics

Probiotics
Your gastrointestinal tract is a first line of defense against invaders. Healthy gut bacteria not only help keep “bad” bugs out, but they also appear to “modulate” the immune system by keeping inflammation in check. Bored with yogurt? Add kefir, raw cheese, kimchi, or sauerkraut to your diet. Make sure these are unpasteurized or contain live bacteria.

relax

Relax
Remember Patch Adams? It’s no joke: Studies show that laughing has a positive effect on white blood cells. Stress-lowering yoga, meditation, and friendships also have positive impacts on immunity. So don’t let a busy schedule deprive you of these essential life vitamins this season.


Do You Know About Sound’s Healing Powers? September 12, 2017 11:20

Anyone who has danced with joy at a live concert has experienced the positive effects sound can have on mood. Beyond the fun of rocking out, sound has an ancient history of use as a healing tool in traditional cultures, from sacred mantra in India to the didgeridoo in Australia to the icaros (medicine melodies) sung by shamans in Central and South America.

sound therapy

In our often loud, busy and distracted modern world, sensory healing modalities—including sound therapy—are on the rise. Studies show sound and music therapy can have a range of benefits, from easing stress, pain and anxiety to helping improve focus, reduce tremors in Parkinson’s patients, and revitalize people with memory loss.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that intensive-care patients who listened to music, as well as patients who blocked out noise with headphones, had less anxiety compared to the patients who had no intervention. Even better, the music group used less sedative medication compared to either of the other groups.

sound therapy

To find out more, we reached out to Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, who told us about this healing modality, along with some easy ways to integrate its benefits into your daily life.

What Is Sound Therapy?

“Sound therapy is the use of sound and certain combinations of sounds to help improve health and well-being,” Cooper explains. Like many healers, Cooper found sound therapy on her own journey to health, after suffering a life-limiting chronic condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis, which affects the nervous and immune systems. “I began to use a voice technique called toning, or singing one note for a sustained period,” she says. “I was amazed when I began to feel better after only a few minutes.”

sound therapy

Intrigued, she has spent over twenty years researching different sounds, instruments and playing techniques in order to pinpoint certain tone and frequency combinations—“sonic vitamins,” she likes to call them—that enable people to achieve a very deep state of relaxation. In this altered state of consciousness, Cooper explains, brainwave frequencies drop into a lower state that can facilitate various layers of healing. The technical term is entrainment: using frequency, pitch and rhythm to help synchronize our waking, or beta-state, brainwaves and produce a calming effect. (“Dream machines” work on this principle.) Brainwave entrainment can be an effective tool for cognitive functioning deficits, stress, pain, headaches and premenstrual syndrome, according to a 2008 review of studies.

How Does Sound Therapy Work?

Clients experience effects on three levels, Cooper says. “Physically, muscle tension reduces, helping with pain and flexibility; blood pressure drops; the autonomic nervous system relaxes; stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline), may reduce; and potassium and sodium levels balance.” Because these sounds facilitate the release of dopamine, the “pleasure” neurotransmitter, emotions also tend to improve. “Research has shown that when the brain is in a deep state of consciousness—not quite sleeping, but in that warm fuzzy place just before sleep—a person experiences a deep sense of well-being, contentedness and positive mood,” she says. “This state is also associated with creativity, an appreciation of life, sociability and confidence.” At the end of sessions, Cooper leads clients through a self-reflection process that often raises insights they are able to explore with a very relaxed, open state of mind.

sound therapy

Like other mindfulness practices, raising our awareness of how different sounds affect us—and consciously tuning into sounds that delight us—can be a simple but powerful way to come back to balance amid the fullness of our family lives.

4 Easy Tips for Healing with Sound at Home

  1. Give yourself time and space: Immerse yourself in the music. Cooper recommends using headphones. Just make sure the volume’s not too loud.
  2. To boost your mood: Choose faster tempo music with higher pitches and pieces that ebb and flow quickly.
  3. To relax: Choose slower and more spacious pieces with lower pitches.
  4. Tune into yourself: Don’t just hear the sounds. Listen inwardly, noticing how the music is moving you.

Looking for Longevity? Start Walking September 07, 2017 16:01

It may not be as flashy as spin class or as hard core as running, but according to a growing body of evidence, when done properly, walking can deliver health benefits equal to or greater than more rigorous exercise regimens. In fact, a recent study showed walking briskly for just 1–2.5 hours a week can lower your risk of death by a whopping 25 percent.

walking

There’s quite the laundry list of ways walking improves health, including strengthening the heart and lungs, improving muscle strength, decreasing the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes, and boosting energy. “Walking is also the best medicine for achy backs,” says Judy Heller, a fitness and walking coach and master race walker. Heller helps her clients take better control of their health, and walking is often the first line of defense.

Just because we all learned to do it as very young children doesn’t mean that when we lace up our sneakers and head out on a walk we are doing it right. “I teach clients how to walk more dynamically—how to use more muscle mass, burn more calories and support their joints,” says Heller.

walking

To figure out your best walking posture, Heller recommends checking yourself in the mirror. “When your arms are at your sides, where are your hands? If you see the backs of them, roll your shoulders back and down until your hands are parallel to your body,” she says. Stand tall and look straight ahead.

Once you get going, walk at a pace that feels fluid. Land on each heel and roll through. Let your arms swing from the shoulders, either with arms hanging down or at a 90-degree angle. “You don’t need to swing your arms out in front of your body; the swing should be more toward the back,” says Heller.

How Hard and How Often?

As far as how hard to push yourself, Heller jokes that if you can sing, you aren’t going fast enough, but only being able to converse in one-word answers is likely too hard. Focus on your breath and adjust so that nothing hurts.

walking

Consistency is what will deliver the most benefits when it comes to walking. Shoot for 30 minutes most days of the week, but that can be broken up into smaller increments if your schedule or fitness level demands it. “I had a client that started just going to the end of the driveway and back,” says Heller. “After a while it was to the next driveway, and eventually it led to blocks and then miles. Just start where you are and build as you get stronger,” she says. The same as you did when you first learned to walk.


Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home September 05, 2017 10:30

Is your house making it hard to breathe? Here's how to fix it.

allergies

Outside of our homes, we are constantly surrounded by toxic fumes coming from all sorts of places, such as vehicles and factories.

But what may be even more harmful are the toxins we're exposed to inside our homes on a daily basis. Yes, the place you call your sanctuary can be the most poisonous of all.

In addition to the toxins, there are also a number of potential allergens lurking in our living spaces. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times higher than the levels of pollutants outside.

Indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental threats to human health. Considering that most Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, this is a major concern.

filter your air

Filter your air

Look for an air filter that handles particulate matter, such as dust and dander, as well as chemical matter.

I have freestanding air filters in my office and home, and they work quite well. The best kinds of filters for people with allergies are high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are specially designed to remove allergens from the air.

The most important place to run an air filter is in your bedroom, which is where you spend most of your time. It's also frequently the most polluted room in the house. It's a good idea to try and adjust the filter so it directs clean air toward you as you sleep.

You can also help remove debris from the air by installing a furnace filter, which traps pollen and dust before these allergens have a chance to circulate throughout the house. Furnace filters are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive.

essential oils for pest

Combat pest problems

Deter dust mites. Microscopic dust mites are a common asthma and allergy trigger. They feed on sloughed-off skin cells and lurk in bedding, stuffed animals, storage boxes, carpeting, and upholstered furniture. To discourage them, do the following:

• Encase your mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergy-proof or airtight zippered plastic covers.

• Wash all bedding weekly in water that is at least 130°F, and dry everything in a dryer on the hottest setting.

• Keep your home cool by turning down the heat or turning up the AC; dust mites don't reproduce in temperatures colder than about 77°F. 

cleaning a must do

Make weekly cleaning a "must-do"

Not only does a clean house make for a more pleasant and enjoyable living environment for all, but clean conditions also help keep allergens under control.

If you can, try to clean your home weekly. Mop all of your floors with a damp mop and vacuum all carpeting and rugs with a vacuum cleaner that has a small-particle or HEPA filter. (Don't forget to vacuum the backs of chairs and couches, where dust, dust mites, and mold can hide.)

Wipe the dust from windowsills, furniture, and other surfaces. If you have allergies, wear a dust mask while you clean, or ask a family member who doesn't have allergies to do these chores. 


Yoga Moves That Will Give You All-Day Energy August 31, 2017 10:33

Recharge both the body and mind to fight fatigue.

Feeling a little run down? Take a yoga break and boost your energy with the moves from Dana Trixie Flynn, the founder, director, and instructor at Laughing Lotus. Grab a yoga mat and get ready to awaken your inner soul.

It's time to change your mood and your mindset.

"I’m a big believer that words can change your mood and energy quickly, as can clapping, which awakens the heart and energizes your body," says Flynn. "By allowing your lungs to expand, and get extra oxygen into your blood (by belly breathing) and into the body, it can be a game changer in your day—and life!"

Below are a few of Flynn's favorite yoga poses to recharge both the body and mind. Skip the coffee, and try her poses instead.

Wild Warrior

1. Inhale the arms wide open parallel to the floor, exhale.
2. Clap the hands together and repeat. Inhale to open, then exhale and clap.

yoga

Powered By LOVE!

1. Take a wide stance with knees bent. Flex your (spiritual) muscles.
2. Straighten your legs and cross your heart with your arms.
3. Fly your arms high in the air and find a rhythm on your breath with the movement

yoga

 

Thunder Bolt Twists

1. Inhale standing tall.
2. Exhale bend your knees into Utkatasana (chair pose) and prayer your hands to the right.
3. Inhale up to stand with long legs.
4. Repeat to the left side, hands in Namaste (prayer).
5. Pick up the rhythm to a comfortable pace.

yoga twist

Magic Takes Guts

1. Drop into a squat, lift your heels if that helps and clap your hands together.
2. Throw your arms open to the side.
3. Breathe the hands back into a prayer.
4. Repeat to the other side. It takes guts to keep showing up, and never give up. Each time you practice, you step into the magic.
5. Feel the breath and movement get bigger and possibly faster as you open your shoulders and the life force (Prana) uplifts you.

yoga

Breath of JOY

1. Sitting cross-legged, inhale your arms open.
2. Exhale and fold into yourself.

yoga


Move at your own pace. If you speed up the breath, the moment will flow more quickly or you can enjoy slow and deep breathes.


The Key to Having 'Nothing to Lose' Confidence August 29, 2017 12:30

A message from an annoying airplane passenger reminded me what it means to live your happiest life.

abundance

As I was considering the best way to get him to end his call sooner rather than later, I heard him say, "The sooner you give up feeling loss the sooner you will have nothing to lose." 

My seat mate had given whomever he was talking to a piece of sage advice, and it flashed into my mind like a lightning bolt and thundered around in my stomach and chest for a moment until it settled into a calm remembrance—a temporarily forgotten truth, that once remembered, resulted in a wave of confidence and relief

sun shine on my mind

His conversation was soon over and we were up in the air. I did not speak with him. He was fast asleep but I did think of his words for the entire duration of the flight. 

The happiest life lived is not attached to how something works out, but simply, that it will work out. This is a true abundant state, and one that allows us to release stress and anxiety and bring down inflammation in our body.  The abundant state is what allows us to access happiness and flow more often and to be our healthiest. If we are confident that the events in our lives will work out one way or another and no matter what happens, we will be able to roll with the punches and be grateful for the pleasures, there is nothing to fear as there is never anything lost. 

what you have to gain

Repeat after me: I am calm and confident because everything always works out one way or another. I cannot lose anything I don't have yet. If what I want and expect to happen, doesn't, I am resilient enough to find value in what I receive. This daily mantra will help you live in abundance.


Get the Most Out of Your Oasis Time August 24, 2017 10:37

These gateways ideas will start you down the path that shifts you out of the world of action and into the world of renewal of the soul.

renewal of the soul

 

From years of practice and study, as well as talking to and learning from hundreds of people, I have found a few gateways that will help structure your journey and shape your oasis time.

Taken together, these strategies and reminders will open the way, starting us down the path that shifts us out of the world of action and into the world of renewal of the soul.

Protect your time off and guard it fiercely. Prepare and plan for it. Planning makes all the difference in creating an oasis that is truly restoring. Consider what social time, activities, food, and spiritual connection your oasis time will include. 

protect your time

Name your starting and ending times, and stick to both as best as you can. Oasis time can come to shape your week, and it works best when it is clear and time limited. The rhythm of a regular oasis time gives you essential boundaries that help you focus at work and let go when not at work. 

Put down your digital devices. Experience life without checking for text messages, social media updates, or e-mail. instead, connect with yourself, with others, and with your sense of what has greater meaning and is life sustaining.

put down your digital devices

Slowing your movements helps to slow your mind, and vice versa. This is key to savoring the delectable aspects of now, which is all about pleasure, enjoyment, and entering the present moment. Even a painful now can be savored for the innately fulfilling texture of a well-lived life.

slow down

Release the tension of going after any goal, large or small. When you do this, you let go of worries and expectations. Then you can finally rest well, reflect deeply (alone or with others), and play more freely.


Cleansing Foods to Naturally Detox Your Body August 22, 2017 13:14

See which foods will power your liver, and why.

You don't have to be on a cleanse to incorporate foods in your daily menu that will detox your body and cleanse your liver. These foods will give your liver a helping hand so that it works at peak efficiency all the time to keep you clean from the inside out.

de tox body

Do your best to eat some of these foods each day. If you do, you are giving your body a daily cleaning service. You've worked hard to reduce your toxic load. Now it's your job to stay clean. It's easy if you do a little every day to tidy up. You need to support your body in doing what it does naturally.

1. Apples

The fiber pectin helps detox metals and food additives that have accumulated in your body over the years, so the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" comes right back into play. 

2. Artichokes

Artichokes naturally increase bile production and are loaded with vitamins C and K, antioxidants, and nearly 10 grams of fiber in just one unit, so if you haven't hopped aboard the artichoke train yet, this is a reason to start. 

artichoke

3. Asparagus

Apart from being one of the best stress-reducing foods and a great way to prevent a hangover, asparagus is also a a natural diuretic that helps with liver drainage.

4. Avocados

Avocados are having a moment right now. Sure, you eat them as guacamole, or throw a few slices on your breakfast toast, but the heathly-fat fruit is actually also a detox superstar. Avocados contain glutathione, which helps the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals, helping to rid your body of the unwanted toxins.

avocado

5. Basil

As an herb, basil helps the metabolic breakdown and elimination of chemicals in the blood, and can give your salads (and even pizza) a refreshing after-taste you didn't know you were missing. 

6. Beets

The red vegetable contains a mix of phytochemicals and minerals that makes it a great blood purifier and liver cleanser. The super-foods are known as one of the best vegetables that boost athletic performance, and can help you better perform in high-intensity interval workouts. 

beets

7. Brazil nuts

Packed with selenium, which is vital in flushing mercury from your body, Brazil nuts contain a balance of sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which will work wonders for your blood pressure and heart health. 

8. Broccoli

Not only does broccoli increase glutathione, which helps the liver transform toxins into a form that can be easily eliminated, and science has even linked the cruciferous vegetable to longer life.

9. Brussels sprouts

High in sulfur, so they helps to remove toxins from the blood, Brussels sprouts are high in indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, and antioxidants, and have even been proven to be great cancer fighters. 

Brussels sprouts

10. Cabbage

Much like Brussels sprouts, cabbage also contains sulfur and stimulates the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes.

11. Carrots

Because they're rich in glutathione, carrots are one of the most powerfully detoxing vegetables. As a bonus, they're loaded with beta-carotenes and vitamin A, and have cardiovascular benefits, and help improve immune function.

12. Cauliflower

As the other major cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower aids in the production of enzymes that flush out toxins and carcinogens, making it also a powerful disease-fighting food. 

13. Cilantro (coriander)

This small, but powerful, herb helps mobilize mercury and other heavy metals out of the tissue so that the metals can attach to other compounds and be excreted from the body, helping to expel the unwanted toxins. 

cilantro

14. Collard greens

The often overlooked greens have high cleansing properties, and pack a serious vitamin K punch into your dish.

15. Dandelions

Think they're unusable weeds? Think again. Dandelions act on the liver by straining and filtering toxins and waste from the bloodstream. Dandelion root tea has been shown to rid the liver of toxins.


Ways to Avoid Back-to-School Asthma & Allergy Flare-Ups August 17, 2017 13:58

Millions of children with asthma and allergies are returning to school as swine flu circulates around the globe.

back to school

Children across the country are gearing up to head back to school, but millions of them will need to manage asthma and allergies along with homework assignments and soccer practice. This time of year, the mix of pollen's and mold spores in the air, coupled with allergens and viruses that build up inside the school, is prime time for asthma and allergy attacks.

Asthma, which can be triggered by allergies and respiratory illnesses, causes nearly a 50 percent increase in emergency room visits among children during the season. It's also the number one reason why students chronically miss school. This year, it's more important than ever to keep your child's lungs healthy because the novel H1N1 virus, known as swine flu, invades deeper into the lungs and sickens children more than the regular flu. Kids with asthma may be especially vulnerable.

back to school with asthma

What should parents do to make sure their kids breathe easier this school year? We asked representatives of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), and they suggest taking several steps:

1. Schedule a back-to-school checkup

Visit your allergist to be sure your child’s allergy and asthma symptoms are under control. If your child suffers form allergies but has never seen an allergist, before school starts is the perfect time to schedule an appointment to find out what triggers his or her symptoms and develop a plan for treatment.

2. Share your treatment plan

The school staff should have a copy of your child's treatment plan, which should include a list of substances that trigger your child’s allergies or asthma, a list of medications the child takes, and a list of those to contact in an emergency.

3. Meet with the school nurse, teachers, and coaches

All caregivers who supervise your child during the school day should have a copy of the treatment plan, and you should meet with them to discuss how they can help control your child's symptoms. Signs of irritability, an inability to concentrate, or temper tantrums may be signs that your child is having symptoms of asthma or allergies. Ask school staff to tell you when and where the symptoms worsen, so you can work with the doctor to adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

back to school

4. Discuss how to handle emergencies

With an allergist's recommendation, children should be permitted to keep inhaled medications  with them at school, and most states have laws protecting this right. Children who are at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) also should have an epinephrine kit to prevent the dangerous reaction that may be caused by allergies to certain foods or insect stings. Be sure that your child knows, as do school staff, how to use emergency medications. Complete a permission form that allows school staff to administer medications if needed.

asthma triggers

5. Make sure your child understands the triggers

Discuss steps to avoid triggers while at school, like sitting far from the blackboard if chalk dust triggers asthma.


Simple Tweaks for a Healthier Home August 15, 2017 09:13

Upgrade your home to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

healthy lifestyle

Nicole Kidman has it all: the talent, accolades (an Oscar and three Golden Globes), family, and a totally toned bod. Oh, and she's married to the oh-so dreamy country singer Keith Urban. So how does the mommy of four juggle it all and maintain her figure? With balance, she told the LA Times, which starts in the home.  Kidman addressed how important fitness is in her family, saying "We try to exercise as a family, which makes it much easier to squeeze in among everything else and, of course, much more enjoyable," Kidman says. "I try and mix it up with sports, running, yoga and even just going for a walk  with my husband and the kids."

Want to "healthify" your humble abode for a fit fam a la Nicole Kidman? Great! Sure, getting out and being active as a family is rewarding, but the foundations of a good, healthy lifestyle start right within the home. Like anything, it's all about the baby steps. "While some aspects of changing your physical environment may seem daunting, take heart. "You can incorporate some things into your daily routine immediately," advise Thinfluence authors Walter Willett, MD, DrPH and Malissa Wood, MD. Here are their 3 easy at-home tweaks red carpet results: 

healthy lifestyle

Get up and march

When you are watching television, get up and march in place or do some deep knee bends  while the commercials are running. It may feel silly at first. But consider for a moment that each half hour of television programming contains seven to ten minutes of commercials, and it quickly becomes clear that sticking to this simple rule can burn some serious calories. And you don't have to miss your favorite shows!

healthy lifestyle

Plan outdoor exercise

Try planning a "green space treasure hunt" in your neighborhood, in which you aim to find at least three good places to get out door exercise near your home. Better yet, spread the idea around your social connections to start up some friendly competition to find the best spots.

healthy lifestyle

Establish "no eating" zones

Establish "no eating" zones in your home. These could be areas close to the television and other distractions. It's a simple and easily enforceable rule and it could improve your whole family's health and weight in the long run.

 

 


Relaxing Mini-Spa Day at Home August 10, 2017 15:01

Take a moment out of your week to reconnect with your body and give it some much-needed pampering.

A home spa day is an easy treat that you can give yourself. I found it especially helpful in reconnecting with my body, which, during pregnancy, can often feel more like a vessel for a foreign object than a thing to be pampered. Here's a couple of things I do. 

1. Enjoy a nice, long bath

Grab a good book and settle in, you can add a few drops of lavender oil  for a relaxing bath or a couple of drops each of peppermint and lemon oil for a pick-me-up. Rose oil is another girly option I love for its beautiful smell. It's also very sensual. 

relaxing bath

2. Exfoliate

In the bathtub with the bathwater running, exfoliate your face, then wipe off the scrub with a washcloth.

exfoliate

3. Indulge in a face mask

Apply a natural face mask, leave it on for your time in the bath. 

face mask

4. Hydrate your hair

If your hair is dry, apply a coconut oil hydrating mask, then pull your hair back with a hair tie while the mask works its magic. Make sure to wash your hair before getting out of the tub. Coconut oil is great because one wash and it's gone. 

hydrate

5. Moisturize

After the bath, moisturize with body oil and whatever moisturizer you like for your face

moisturize


Foam Rolling 101 August 08, 2017 14:24

What is it? Why and how do you do it? Sports doc Jordan Metzl explains why it's so great for your body.

In a perfect world, we’d all get deep tissue massages every day and chocolate-dipped doughnuts would be calorie-free and packed with antioxidants. I’m still waiting on those magical doughnuts, but it turns out that daily massages are no longer a perk reserved for the under worked and overpaid. Meet your body's new best friend: foam rolling.

foam roller

“If you only buy one piece of exercise equipment for the rest of your life, make it a foam roller,” says Jordan D. Metzl, M.D., author of The Exercise Cure and The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies. “It’s the most convenient, reliable, and inexpensive massage therapist money can buy." The simple Styrofoam cylinders cost around $30 a piece, and it's money well spent when you consider that you're investing in improved flexibility, upgraded mobility, peak muscle performance, and injury prevention and treatment.

How It Works
The brilliance of the foam roller is in its ease of use: You just place the target body part on top of the roller and roll back and forth. This basic movement targets your myofascia -- the mesh-like fibers that form around your muscles in response to damage caused by both working out too much (inflammation, injury) and not working out enough (inactivity). When myofascia get stuck on your muscles, they can cause pain and prevent normal muscle movement.

foam roller

The good news is that stretching the fascia using a foam roller releases the muscles so that they can work the way they’re supposed to. Case in point: A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchfound that foam rolling the quads increased participants range of motion by as much as 10 degrees.

“You’ll notice immediate changes in your ease of movement, posture, and mobility,” says Metzl. “Without stretching at all, you’ll feel looser and more flexible -- as if you’ve developed a healthier body almost instantaneously.”

Myofascial-Release-Technique

Metzl recommends foam rolling three to five times per week after exercising, but you can also do it nightly before bed if you have chronic muscle tightness.


Ways to REALLY Take a Break & Destress August 03, 2017 09:31

If you want to be as passionately committed to your time off as you are to working and taking action, you need to find a way to safeguard that time off, no matter what forces try to invade it.

oasis

Every week, reasons not to step into your rest and renewal time will crop up. Prepare yourself to handle them. Plan to stick to your goal of creating oasis time. People exhaust themselves by doing so many things that they think will please others or even please themselves but that don't actually fill their own reservoirs even during their leisure time.

"Protect and prepare" is the meta-gateway, the gateway of gateways to oasis time. Protect and prepare my oasis time, planning and preparing for the other gateways. This is the pivot point of happy, satisfying oasis time.

time off

If you want to be as passionately committed to your time off as you are to working and taking action, you need to find a way to safeguard that time off, no matter what forces try to invade it. Then you prepare for it. But how do you do that?

Start by enumerating the reasons you need, want, and must have regular time off. Do this now. Set a timer for two minutes, and list every reason you can think of for committing to oasis time. Don't fret about why you can't get oasis time, simply focus on why you need it.

renew

Be intentional so that you don't fritter away your precious time oasis. Perhaps you plan to take a morning of rest; or open a book that you have been meaning to read; or, in a quiet, mindful way, finally make that big pot of soup you have wanted for a while. Remember: You will always be able to think of reasons not to rest and renew, but over time, the reasons for renewal will increase and seem greater.

 


Toxic Triggers: Damaging Habits You Need to Fix Now August 01, 2017 16:05

Jump start the healing process.

Toxic avengers surround us every day. It's time to ID them and start healing!

overworking

Toxic Trigger #1: Your tendency to overwork

Being ambitious and driven could mean you're in overdrive nearly all the time. That means your sympathetic nervous system could be stuck in that classic fight-or-flight state that taxes the adrenal system and pumps cortisol and adrenaline into the body.

This leads to weight gain over time, along with shallow breathing, anxiety, higher pulse rate, and an increase in vascular tone...all migraine stage setters, if not outright triggers.

Avoid It: Stimulate your body's natural antidote, the calming parasympathetic nervous system, so you're not constantly stuck in overdrive. Meditation is the gold-standard practice for relaxation and perspective. The health benefits are innumerable and are being borne out by study after study showing that it promotes very real and beneficial changes in body and brain.

lack of sleep

Toxic Trigger #2: Your lack of sleep

For your body's innate processes of detoxification  to work at their best, you need plenty of rest. If you're ruthless with yourself and wake up at 5 a.m. every morning to squeeze in a two-hour cardio workout, work intensely late and into the night, and only allow yourself four hours or so of sleep—as one of my patients did—you're not allowing your body's innate detoxification system to work at its best.

Avoid It: To be your healthiest, aim to get eight hours of sleep a night. If you wake in the night, practice dream remembrance, that is, as soon as you start to feel that you are going to wake, instead reject conscious thinking and keep your attention on the dream as tenaciously as you can.

bad habits

Toxic Trigger #3: Your checkered past

Ah, youth...that magical time when we think we are invincible, able to do, eat, or consume anything without consequence. Experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes is so common in our youth culture that we nearly consider it a rite of passage. Though we grow out of those habits, our bodies hold on to the memories—literally.

When the system is overloaded with toxins, it is forced to find a home for them. Mostly it tucks them away neatly in a nest of body fat, to be dealt with later. Problem is, most of us are carrying on in lifestyles that create ongoing toxic stressors —the body is so busy processing our daily exposures that it never gets a chance to go back and clean up the past.

Avoid It: Stop smoking immediately (use this trick to quit), limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks five days per week, and avoid recreational drugs. You might also want to look askance at some of your prescriptions. Talk to your doctor about potential for toxicity and—if the risk if high—about other options.

self care

Toxic Trigger #4: Your tendency toward social isolation

Loneliness is one of those ubiquitous toxins that fly under the radar, but its effects can nonetheless be devastating. Every day, new studies are confirming that social isolation leads to degenerative health conditions, most notably depression and heart disease.

Avoid It: Make time for friends weekly(and, no, Facebook updates will not do). If you're facing a crisis, try to find a support group with whom to share your feelings.

 


Toxic Triggers: Damaging Habits You Need to Fix July 27, 2017 12:17

Over worked
1: Your tendency to overwork

Being ambitious and driven could mean you're in overdrive nearly all the time. That means your sympathetic nervous system could be stuck in that classic fight-or-flight state that taxes the adrenal system and pumps cortisol and adrenaline into the body.

This leads to weight gain over time, along with shallow breathing, anxiety, higher pulse rate, and an increase in vascular tone...all migraine stage setters, if not outright triggers.

Avoid It: Stimulate your body's natural antidote, the calming parasympathetic nervous system, so you're not constantly stuck in overdrive. Meditation is the gold-standard practice for relaxation and perspective. The health benefits are innumerable and are being borne out by study after study showing that it promotes very real and beneficial changes in body and brain.

lack of sleep

2: Your lack of sleep

For your body's innate processes of detoxification to work at their best, you need plenty of rest. If you're ruthless with yourself and wake up at 5 a.m. every morning to squeeze in a two-hour cardio workout, work intensely late and into the night, and only allow yourself four hours or so of sleep—as one of my patients did—you're not allowing your body's innate detoxification system to work at its best.

Avoid It: To be your healthiest, aim to get eight hours of sleep a night. If you wake in the night, practice dream remembrance, that is, as soon as you start to feel that you are going to wake, instead reject conscious thinking and keep your attention on the dream as tenaciously as you can.

social isolation

3: Your tendency toward social isolation

Loneliness is one of those ubiquitous toxins that fly under the radar, but its effects can nonetheless be devastating. Every day, new studies are confirming that social isolation leads to degenerative health conditions, most notably depression and heart disease.

Avoid It: Make time for friends weekly (and, no, Facebook updates will not do). If you're facing a crisis, try to find a support group with whom to share your feelings. 


Herbs to Help Fight Fatigue July 25, 2017 18:12

Eliminate exhaustion and relieve drowsiness with these healing herbs.

When it comes to combating daily fatigue and energizing yourself for the day, sometimes it's best to go straight to nature's miracle exhaustion eliminators. 

Effective herbs will work to combat drowsiness and stimulate your mind. Just make sure you're using your healing herbs safely before you start!

cocoa

Cocoa (dark chocolate)

The caffeine in cocoa and chocolate help relieve drowsiness. But their stimulant action does not cause as much jitteriness, insomnia, and irritability as coffee—thanks to the theobromine in the herb. Try some when you feel lethargic (purely as herbal medicine, of course).

Just be careful: cocoa (dark chocolate), coffee, kola, maté, and tea all contain caffeine and may cause jitters, irritability, insomnia, and addiction.

Coffee

No doubt about it: Coffee is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. On long drives, it helps prevent dozing at the wheel. It also counteracts the sedative effects of antihistamines, one reason it's included in many cold remedies. However, it does not help drunks sober up. 

coffee

Ginseng

Ginseng is a noncaffeine stimulant that helps counteract fatigue. European researchers studied 232 people, age 25 to 60, who complained of fatigue. Half took a daily placebo. The rest tried a vitamin formula containing ginseng (80 milligrams/day). After 7 weeks, the group taking the ginseng formula showed significantly less lethargy. The researchers concluded that ginseng combats fatigue by supporting the adrenal glands.

ginseng