Breatharianism – Doctors are baffled and monitoring medical miracle

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8652837.stm
Sanjoy Majumder reports from Delhi
Extreme Meditation and Fasting have come to the fore in this news item from India a man ‘survives without food or water for decades’.
The Doctors in this Sterling hospital are baffled by a holy man who claims to have survived on no food and water for 70 years.
The Holy man is now under military and medical surveillance in hospital.
He claims that meditation and the power of his mind keep him alive. Doctors are already impressed because he has been in hospital without food for 108 hours already.
This is NOT one I would recommend you try at home, but it makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Singing for Alzheimer’s and Mysicophilia by Oliver Sacks

 

I recently had cause to dig out my copy of Oliver Sacks book Musicophilia and lend it to a friend, because she has started to volunteer for an organisation that is using singing to help people with Alzheimer’s. This improves memory, health and wellbeing.

For those of you that are interested the Alzheimer’s society project link is very interesting.

http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=760 and shows a video of the project and has links explaining what it is.

I know a lot of people who have said sound effects their epilepsy, I found this  newspaper review that explains what Musicophilia has to say about Alzheimers and epilepsy.

If anyone wants to borrow my copy just let me now and I can lend it to you when it gets back to me!

‘Sacks tells some very moving stories about those with terrifyingly profound amnesia, or Alzheimer’s disease, for whom music can “restore them to themselves”. People with aphasia can be taught to speak again through singing. On the other hand, previously healthy people begin to have “musical hallucinations”, blasted by intrusive ghostly music during every waking second; and others have seizures in response to music, or “musicogenic epilepsy” – which, intriguingly, can be selective. One woman Sacks cites “had seizures only in response to ‘modern, dissonant music,’ never in response to classical or romantic music” – and her husband was a composer of the type of music that gave her seizures, which one suspects may be a hint. But such a violent response to certain music might be more common than suspected: “Many people, [one researcher thought], might start to get a queer feeling – disturbing, perhaps frightening – when they heard certain music, but then would immediately retreat from the music, turn it off, or block their ears, so that they did not progress to a full-blown seizure.” Indeed, certain styles of free jazz have always made me physically nauseous.’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/nov/03/scienceandnature.music review Stephen Poole The Guardian Newspaper

life at full volume – meditation and diet fatigue fighting and side effects of anti epileptic drugs – GREAT blog!

Life at Full Volume

550131_425393197537643_1221104998_nAs a person living with epilepsy, I not only fight seizures, but I fight fatigue. And I fight fatigue with a mighty vengeance, baby. You’re probably wondering why I’m so fatigued. Well, I’m on a lot of Anti Epileptic Drugs (that’s just a fancy way of saying medication, but I kinda like Anti Epileptic Drugs. It sounds fancy!) and a common side effect of all of them is fatigue. So I can easily have a solid eight hour sleep and still feel tired throughout the day. It’s not the kind of tired where it’s like “Oh, a little coffee could cure this!” It’s the kind of tired where you feel like you could fall into bed and sleep for hours. And hours. And HOURS. But the thing is, sleep does absolutely nothing to fix this side effect. In my opinion, it just makes it worse, because you’re throwing off your…

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Neurological Rock Stars 2 – Parkinson’s Nautrally blog by Fred Phillips

http://fredphillips.wordpress.com/articles/healing-parkinsons-disease-naturally/#comment-615

Please follow the link to Fred Phillips Blog, and inspiring story of treating parkinson’s nautrally. Fred has taken the time and care to write about how he is using diet, yoga, meditation and emotional healing to treat his Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

His diet advice in particular in relation to inflammation and the relationship between gut and immune system function are really useful (to me especially! 🙂 ).

Fred has a very good understanding of the physiology of the body and how it all inter-relates.

Fred has also written a book about healing.

Fred is also a KARATE TEACHER!!! 🙂

 

Why do I practise yoga? A personal perspective

Happy New Year Everybody!

The new year begins with a guest blog post from http://alysonyoga.wordpress.com/

If anybody is interested in doing a guest blog post please get in touch via my gravitar profile or drop a note to tell me how to contact you.

Thank-you Alyson for this blog post!

Guest blog post

Yoga’s been part of my life for so long I rarely stop and think ‘What am I doing?’ or ‘Why am I doing this?’ However, in writing this guest blog post, I’ve tried to put some of it into words to explain why I practise yoga, and some of the benefits it brings me.

I’ve been practising yoga for roughly half my life, attending my first classes when I was 17. I’d dabbled earlier than that at home with Mum apparently but can remember little of that. During university my yoga practice was on and off, but for the last 11 years I have been attending yoga classes regularly, at first once weekly, then twice, then three times, and then I took the plunge and started (and completed) my yoga teacher training and have been teaching since 2008.

But why do I go to classes and practice at home? For me, if I don’t do my morning stretches I soon start stiffening up. One Christmas I had family staying and routines were abandoned. After a week my neck, shoulders and back were stiff, aching and unhappy! A few days after getting back into my routine I was fine again.

My morning routine is only about 20 minutes long and consists of basic stretches that limber up most parts of the body and joints, and it seems to be the right amount for me to keep things ticking over.

If you are struggling to implement a daily routine start small. For years I talked of doing more yoga at home but I didn’t do any. Eventually I just set the alarm five minutes earlier than usual, got up and did five minutes of stretches. Gradually I increased the time and now it’s a regular easy habit.

So, I practise daily for physical comfort.

Less noticeably, I think the benefits are a calm disposition, a more peaceful state of mind, and greater body awareness. These are some of the less tangible benefits that a yoga practice can bring.

One of the things from the yoga teacher training course which had a direct impact was the starting of a pranayama (controlled breathing) practice and diary. I tacked this onto the end of my morning routine, and it’s something I’ve (generally) kept up. We sometimes focus mainly on the physical side of yoga, the postures, but the breathing practices can be very useful, and just as illuminating as to our current state of health etc.

Likewise, I have tried to also include a short meditation into my daily session, although sometimes this is pretty short! I find the meditation to be very beneficial in helping me focus, and just to observe my current state of mind and how distracted I am.

In some ways, the benefits are often more noticeable when I’m not practising yoga. When I’m not practising, for whatever reason, I realise why I do practise!

Currently I have a foot in plaster and the enforced inactivity is a challenge. However, being able to practise just 20 minutes of stretches makes me feel better – not only physically but also mentally. And it’s amazing what you can do even with a foot in plaster!

I’m still not sure why I started practising yoga though. Unless I can recall my thoughts of my 17 year old self I’ll probably never know!

[if you want to link to my blog it’s http://alysonyoga.wordpress.com/]

B.K.S Iyengar

BK.S Iyengar a back and breathing success story worth reading! from speaking with people who do this style Mr Iyengar has re-build many backs! 🙂

little windmill

B.K.S. Iyengar – The Ultimate Freedom Yoga [1976] from Praktijk Ourobouros on Vimeo.

Most yogis have heard of or practice Iyengar yoga, created by the late B.K.S Iyengar. My only knowledge of Iyengar himself was a few excerpts from the documentary Enlighten Up, and since then I have only heard more and more fascinating things about him. I took an Iyengar class in Brooklyn at the Yogasana Center. The thing I remember the most is that at one point in a Supta Baddha Konasana, we were using 7 props. At the time I thought that was ridiculous and excessive, but was later informed that Iyengar yoga is largely based on aligning the body in a perfect way.

Here is my personal summary of his life story:

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja, rightfully nicknamed B.K.S, was born dirt poor in an Indian village suffering from health epidemics in 1918…

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CHANGE – The Day My World Got Turned Upside Down! (in a good way)

At approximately 8 am this morning a minor miracle happened (no I didn’t give birth)…

…I actually got my legs over my head in an arm balance (called peacock!).

Actually, what happened was 2 yoga teachers saw me struggling because I have NO proprioception of my legs leaving the ground WHATSOEVER and they lifted my legs over my head towards the wall.

It’s amazing how when your head is underneath your legs it feels like you’re in free fall!!

Despite support the second that they got near the wall I starting squealing and they had to lift me down again, BUT for me this was BIG!!

The last time I got my legs in the air for a handstand was when I was 12.

I was in a gym class and I hadn’t learned to roll from a handstand safely, so I just went SPLAT! On my back and winded myself really badly.

I haven’t been able to go up (side down) in the world since!

I was totally put off and always stiffen up and my breathing goes out of the window!

Obviously, it’s probably going to be sometime before I can do this by my-self, but it goes to show how – I can change! 🙂

So happy! 🙂

Some people can travel the world, but I am really more than happy to travel all around my body. I feel so lucky that I have a chance to learn these things I always wanted to do.

Not a Peacock yet, but not Advanced Hedgehog Pose either!!!

https://epilepsymeandneurology.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/epilepsy-advanced-hedgehog-pose/

Thank you Lesley and Sue! (my yoga teachers)

And Alyson http://alysonyoga.wordpress.com/ nearly forgot you not there today!

A Breath of Fresh Air – Post viral O2

There is nothing like influenza to boost catch up reading.

Ironically the book I chose to read was called ‘The Revelation of the Breath’ by Sharon G. Mijares Editor.

This collection of short essays on breathing did at least serve the purpose of ramming home to me why I was sick in the first place (unhealthy breathing patterns). It is a fabulous introduction to many breathing techniques from east to west, religious, spiritual and medical.

What I particularly liked about it was an article on breathing for Aikido by Darrell Bluhm Shihan.

I really like aikido but have never read up on it in particular because my teacher who is a bit of a traditionalist, put the emphasis on ‘doing’ not ‘reading’.

When I asked if there were any books he recommended he told me in no uncertain terms that it was practice not reading I should be concentrating on.

Fair point really.

But this book is really good  at explaining breathing techniques, their purposes and the philosophy, physiology and psychology behind them.

I was particularly taken by Buteyko for asthma, sleep and apnoea, and Rebirthing completely reframed birth trauma. The section on Freediving was quite revealing. Personally holding my breath is not an area I have ever explored (one of the diving instructors I met said that underwater diving and epilepsy aren’t a good gas and air mix).

Maybe I’ll just have to practice pausing between air intake and exhale for now. There are lots of rhythms to use after all.

Breath can be energising or relaxing, exciting or tranquil. Huffing and puffing can be quite good fun 🙂

I like that someone took the time to write about how breathing can be a revelation.

Make of it what you will I hope you enjoy this book as much as I am.

Here is a link to view it, also available from Amazon.

http://www.sunypress.edu/p-4912-the-revelation-of-the-breath.aspx

Astrocytes – Stars that light up the mind

On the trawl through journals and books looking for info on epilepsy related neurological information I stumbled across an article in scientific American mind about research into the white matter of the brain. It mentions that people with epilepsy have more Astrocytes (research has shown). The article also postulates their link with Breathing – an interesting coincidence since I have found breathing exercises so useful. I can’t find the exact article but I think this one is from the same issue. I will go through my old issues to find the right article for reference if anyone is interested.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=astrocytes-breathing

This area of the brain has been largely neglected by scientists until relatively recently because everyone was much more excited about neurons. The neurons were much more easily visible and understood as the wiring that messages travels along.

A bit like space where the stars are the most visible matter and no one realised there was dark matter as well.

Ecitingly, TED posted a lecture on the subject which shines a light on what research techniques are used to find out how Astrocytes work.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ed_boyden.html

They are using fluorescent proteins from alga which is transferred into cells as part of a virus which turns on luminescence ability in a cell.

The researcher also explains that he is using this method in epilepsy and other neurological research, but that in epilepsy Astrocytes are overactive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrocyte

I consider these research sources really valuable in relation to my understanding of epilepsy.

If you think about it this could mean WE ARE ALL STARS! 🙂 I hope you find these little rays of light interesting reading and watching.

On a more sinister note the lecture does end up talking about the brain as a computer!

Epilepsy – Yoga for Mind, Everybody and Spirit

So now that I have spent some time looking for reasons why yoga and tai chi are good for health, I am curious to find out if anybody else has been benefitting from mind-body training for seizures.

As it happens I have recently found a couple of articles which were really good and indicate that I AM NOT ALONE!

Yoga Journal December 2011 community – ‘signs they are a ’changin’ page 24 has an article by Anna Dubrovsky about deaf yoga founder Lila Lolling. (see deafyoga.org.)

Unfortunately I can’t find this article on-line to create a link. Apparently epilepsy is not the only health condition to pose a challenge in class participation. Lila Lolling has set up deaf yoga classes to include and encourage participation in yoga by deaf people. (see link 1)

Being deaf in a yoga class creates its own unique challenges and she has been building bridges towards inclusion. Interestingly, in relation to her own health; ‘Diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager, Lolling credits yoga with keeping her seizure free and off medication,’ according to the article. This is very encouraging to me!

Pretty quickly it was apparent that EVERYONE participating in yoga are reaping health benefits. There is a wealth of online resources explaining what health problems benefit from yoga.

In 2009 and 2010 I returned to yoga classes locally, this time as a tortoise (slow and steady). I can put my head on the floor now and put weight into my head and through my neck. I am not quite upside down yet – but give me time!

Our community classes are called ‘Yoga I Bawb’ this is Welsh for ‘yoga for everybody’. (see links at bottom of page) We are very lucky to have such a holistic co-operative approaching the teaching of yoga to our local community! If you are in the locality drop on by!

Info sources: 1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWsSFuxlj5k

2) deafyoga.org (link given in yoga journal article)

3) http://www.yogawithlila.com/yogawithlila/About.html

4) http://www.yogaibawb.org.uk

5)http://alysonyoga.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/yoga-i-bawb-agm/