How your mind can heal your body – book review

I have been anicipating this post from Holistic yoga with Alyson for some time on the book by http://www.drdavidhamilton.com which I think is a great review of a book about ‘how your mind can heal your body’. Well worth checking out!

Holistic yoga with Alyson

bookcoverOver the winter new year break I received a pile of books from a friend who was having a clear out. One of them I read straight away: How your mind can heal your body by David Hamilton and I’ve meaning to blog about it for months because it’s very interesting, and has implications for our yoga practice, and our whole lives potentially.

At first glance my immediate reaction to the book and its title was ‘what nonsense’, but two things made me change my mind. One was that the title is a bit simplistic as the author does state several times that the mind can help heal the body and people should continue with their conventional medical treatment alongside adopting helpful mind-based approaches. The other reason was the extensive amount of research of human trials that he quotes that back up all his claims.

I think the book’s message…

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The Five Essentials … For Health & Happiness – Guest Blog

I would like to thank fredphillips.wordpress.com for this guest blog post, which shows, that we humans are not so different; and if you ask the universe (or the internet) you will find people out there who you have a lot in common with. 🙂 thanks fred!

There are five things that are essential for our health and happiness. I call these, oddly enough, The Five Essentials. Catchy, eh?

We are in the midst of enormous suffering on the planet. Rates of disease are spiraling upwards. Bullying is an epidemic, especially in our schools.  Regional and domestic conflicts abound. Many magnificent species are disappearing, or at the risk of disappearing, from the planet.

I could go on and regale you with more depressing stuff, but I really don’t want you to stop reading.

The truth is (and I believe this with all my heart), there is a solution to all this misery and it has to do with … you guessed it  … The Five Essentials. So let’s get right to it. Here they are:

  1. To have an awareness of the truths of our existence
  2. To feel good about ourselves
  3. To heal our emotional pain
  4. To eat and drink healthy stuff
  5. To get active

Let’s briefly examine each of these essentials to see what they’re all about. (Yes, I know, a couple of them are rather self evident.)

1. To have an awareness of the truths of our existence:

Understanding the truths of who we really are and why we’re really here on the planet (there is little evidence to suggest it has anything to do with getting rich & famous) is critical if we have any hope of changing human behaviour. It certainly inspired me to change mine. I think if we knew for instance, that we live in oneness with God and everything else that exists, we would not treat each other the way we do. We wouldn’t start wars. We wouldn’t exploit the animal kingdom and we wouldn’t pollute. We would let go of fear. We would live with more compassion and love. We would be more altruistic. And we would be more humble.

If you want to know more, immerse yourself in spirituality. Talk to spiritual people. Read books by Eckhart Tolle, Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsch and my own book, The History Teacher. Read my spiritual posts at fredphillips.wordpress.com.

2. To feel good about ourselves:

If we all felt good about ourselves … if we all felt lovable, worthy, good enough and empowered … again, we would not behave the way we do. We would not mistreat others. We would be more kind and forgiving. We would be more honest. We wouldn’t put people out of work. We would eat healthier foods.

If you want to change the way you feel about yourself, just be kind.

3. To heal our emotional pain:

We are a society full of unresolved emotional pain. We are loaded with anger, grief, shame, guilt and resentment. If we have any hope of creating peace on earth (one of the reasons we’re here), we need to release this pain. We need to transform it into something healthier and more positive.

If you want to heal your unresolved emotional pain, forgive who you need to forgive, apologize who you need to apologize to, cry if you need to and when you feel anger, scream into a pillow until you feel better.

4. To eat and drink healthy:

With all due respect to those who earn their living working in the fast food, junk food and processed food industries, if we really want to put an end to cancer and all other forms of disease, we need to eat better. We especially need to drastically reduce our sugar intake and eliminate artificial sweeteners and gmos. Why? Because this stuff acidifies our bodies and weakens our immune systems (80% of our immune system is situated in our gastrointestinal tract), leaving us susceptible to disease.

If you want to do one simple thing to improve your diet and your health, start eating fermented foods, especially, sauerkraut. It will put much needed healthy bacteria in your gut.

5. To get active:

As a whole,  we are far too sedentary and we’re paying a high price for it. Our bodies aren’t fit, leaving us vulnerable to stress and disease. We need to get active. I highly recommend martial arts or yoga, but if you do nothing else, go for a walk every day!

I believe in my heart that having an awareness of these Five Essentials, understanding  them and incorporating them into our daily lives will bring us peace of mind, joyful living and love (sign me up for that). They will bring us happiness (that too)!

Get Plugged Into Earth – Thanks Anne!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01r5s20/Ramblings_Series_23_Michael_Weltike_Barefoot_Walker/

Thanks to my chi-gung  teacher for sending this link to aBBC radio barefoot walk and talk about the benefits of barefoot walking.

How to be more grounded with these steps :

Take of your shoes and socks, walk on the ground outside, OBSERVE how you feel when your feet are on the ground!

Simple, and free!

We live on a big round  Earth! 🙂

GREAT parkinson’s neuro recovery blog!

Kaitlyn Roland

This week kicked off brain awareness week… and the people over at sharpbrains.com debunked 10 myths around brain fitness… here are my 5 favourites!

Myth 1. Genes deter­mine the fate of our brains.

Fact: Life­long brain plas­tic­ity means that our lifestyles and behav­iors play a sig­nif­i­cant role in how our brains (and there­fore our minds) phys­i­cally evolve.

(we have some aspect of control and can create new neural pathways – say with exercise for brain change!)


Myth 3. Med­ica­tion is the main hope for cog­ni­tive health and enhance­ment.
Fact: Non-invasive inter­ven­tions can have com­pa­ra­ble and more durable ben­e­fits, and are also free of side effects.

(drug side effects are not necessary, but side effects – like endorphins – from exercise are encouraged!)

Myth 4. There’s noth­ing we can do to beat Alzheimer’s dis­ease and cog­ni­tive decline.
Fact: While noth­ing has been shown to pre­vent the pathol­ogy of Alzheimer ’s…

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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!!! 🙂

 

Karate and Neurogenesis – Articles by Rob Nielson

Following through with the theme of neurogenesis and exercise for brain health and development; here are links to two excellent articles by program director and chief instructor of karate Rob Nielson at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding school for troubled teens (1).

Karate is one of my favourite pass-times and I was very happy to read that it is being used in such a positive way to help young people.

1) Karate Black Belt Challenge Brain Development in troubled teens

Student Participation stimulates brain development (neurogenesis)

By Rob Nielson, Program Director & Chief Instructor

Helpful in disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression. Increases self-confidence and mindfulness,

http://www.cedaridge.net/karate-black-belt-challenge.html

2) Karate Black Belt Challenge for brain development in troubled teens – Part II

an Holistic approach to therapy at Cedar Ridge
Academy Therapeutic Boarding School for troubled teens

by Rob Nielson, Program Director & Chief Instructor

Relationships between being physically fit and mentally fit, karate for attention deficit, anxiety, drug issues, impulse control, aerobic exercise and brain health.

http://www.cedaridge.net/black-belt-challenge-therapy.html

 

1) http://www.cedaridge.net/quick-facts.html

One Moment At A Time – What Is MBSR And Who Is Jon Kabat-Zinn?

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Jon Kabat-Zinn(1) (2)

In search of mindfulness I have been following the progress of mindfulness teaching locally and have been pleasantly surprised recently with the numbers of classes advertised.

A couple of weeks ago I saw one that was titled ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ and was intrigued.

Another article in January/February Scientific American Mind 2013 related to mindfulness; it is titled ‘Focus on Your-self to Alleviate Social Pain’. The article discusses the benefits of mindfulness for pain, stress, anxiety and depression, but also how a new study recently that has shown it reduces feelings of loneliness or social isolation. Mindfulness was also shown to reduce inflammation and the risk of heart attacks.

So where did all this research start and why is there so much interest in mindfulness for health?

Taking to you-tube (as you do) I came across this one titled ‘The Healing Power of Mindfulness’.(1)

It has sparked my interest in Jon Kabat-Zinn who talks about his life and how at college he was one of 5 students who went to see a monk lecture on this topic. During the lecture he describes how he had one of those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments as he realised that what he had just been taught to do should be something that everyone gets to learn in kindergarten.

‘Being in the moment’ sounds like something we all could benefit from, but how many of us are actually present without our mobile phone, computer, television or radio?

I am sitting here with the computer and a phone so I am clearly not a shining example of being present within myself just right now.

When do we ever switch off?

Something else I am interested in is the research into ‘neuroplasticity’.  Jon Kabat-Zinn studied molecular biology in 1971 at MIT.

In the film he talks about how studies have now gone on to show that not only is the mind plastic but so are genes, and he describes how the corrosive acid of stress wears down our DNA causing problems within the body. Mindfulness meditation research is showing that this can be stopped and reversed.

He has been teaching and studying the effects of mindfulness since 1979 and is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Although watching you-tube isn’t always a mindfulness practice, I was really relaxed and centered when I had finished watching, and participating at one point(audience participation!), spending time with this innovative out of the box thinker talking about his life’s work with mindfulness.

I hope you feel that you can take the time to watch him as well, and perhaps take away some of his mindful thoughts and experiences on the benefits of being present in the mind and body.

You come from nothing, you go back to nothing, it’s what you do in between that matters. Don’t you want to always be present?

(For people in the area there are some good classes advertised at the Treehouse if you are looking for a teacher http://www.treehousewales.co.uk/ )

1)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_If4a-gHg_I

2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn

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/]

just read this blog which starts with ‘skilful communication allows someone to speak from the heart’ really quite impressed by the essay and reading it made me think about how this could be useful in validating emotions.

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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