Expand Your Life Force with DIRGHA, the 3-Part Breath

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I was once enrolled in some business/personal coaching with an experienced holistic psychotherapist and he at one point said to me “Jenny, do you breathe?”

Sadly, like many of us, the answer was…

“NO, why do you ask?”

Well thank goodness since that many moons ago I became not just a Holistic Practitioner, but also got certified in YOGA!

Many people may experience breathing in a yoga or fitness class, but once they walk out the door its “Off to the races!”.  I encourage my clients once they’ve come to me for MELTing, Yoga Therapy, or even a Holistic Consult, that they maintain their breath awareness throughout their day.  Here are a  few reasons why:

*breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which breaks us from that “fight or flight” mode

*breath work circulates oxygen in a more efficient fashion throughout the body giving us more energy and concentration

*proper breathing aids in the digestion process

*mindful breathing stimulates our immune system

Dirgha pranayama is easy to do and is all encompassing. First start from the lower abdomen, drawing the breath up through the solar plexus or stomach area, finally filling up the lungs with air.  You can place your hands, one on your lower abdomen, and one on your chest to feel the breath fill the body.  Then make the exhale long and slow, squeezing out all the stale air from the alveoli in the lungs so that they have more potential of receiving a fresh supply of oxygen.

Notice how anxiety and tension leave the body,

replaced with peace and tranquility.

 

 

 

Your health depends on what you can Digest!

Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in an environment where food was nutrient dense, local and in season, with no toxins floating around in the air or soil to contaminate it?

Better yet, assume we were all breastfed until at least age 1, were fed a diet of fresh fruits and vegees early on, and were not introduced to processed foods or pesticides?

If that were true then our digestive tracts would be pristine right?

I think we all know that that scenario is not the case in this day in age.

One thing is for sure, without a healthy gut there IS no health.

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There are many factors besides poor food quality that contribute to gut issues.  As we age our HCL (Hydrochloric Acid) content in our stomach decreases.  That is one of the reasons why people may recall they could eat “anything” when they were younger. HCL is also extremely important as it kills harmful bacteria in the gut, without it we are also more prone to bacterial, fungal and yeast infections, yuck.

The mistake is when indigestion symptoms occur, like bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, skin problems, arthritis, or even B12 deficiencies arise to name a few, people often eliminate suspect foods, or even take antacids to avoid undesirable reactions.  While some people may have genetic predisposing factors that contribute to their inability to digest certain foods, what most people can do is simple increase their HCL content in the stomach as well as supplement with some complimentary enzymes for better absorption, without giving up all the foods they love.

One simple, natural way of increasing your HCL content is by drinking a tsp of organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) in a cup of water with meals.  Better yet make a nice salad dressing with ACV, add some garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and herbs.  If that doesn’t do the trick then purchase an HCL supplement along with a well-rounded digestive enzyme like Premier Digest, Digestase-SP or Gastroven.  These formulas are botanical and increase the ability of the digestive organs to break down and absorb the nutrients your body needs for optimal health!

 

Premier DHA, really a No-Brainer!

th-10DHA, or docosahexanoic acid, is a highly unsaturated fatty acid that is very important to brain function.   A powerful omega 3, its role is to support the nerves and membranes in the brain.

Cold water fatty fish are the best sources of DHA, but due to the modern day diet along with environmental pollutants, clean sourced supplementation is often recommended.

Deficiencies in DHA have been linked to ADHD, schizophrenia, cardio-vascular disease, certain forms of cancer like colon and prostate, and in general, low grade inflammation which opens the door for all sorts of chronic health conditions.  The body cannot make DHA on its own, so what are we supposed to do?

Unfortunately it is not so simple as just taking a fish oil supplement to increase DHA levels.  Fish oil oxidizes quickly which makes it rancid, along with containing environmental pollutants that accumulate in their fatty tissue. This is why I carry Premier Research Labs Algae based DHA.  For healthier nerves, eyes, and heart, it is really a No-Brainer!!

 

 

The Quantum Effect with QRA!

 

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Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to find out what nutrients, foods, or supplements work the best for you instead of buying up every product on the market, only to be disappointed with results?  Holistic Clarity agrees, and thats why I offer Quantum Reflex Analysis for those serious about supplementation.

I have always been committed to tailoring nutritional and supplemental plans for my clients, but with QRA I can be much more precise. QRA allows me the ability to target areas of the body that are not energetically responding at optimum cellular resonance.  You see, the body, its organs, bones, blood, not to mention everything on the planet, operates at an optimal frequency. Our cells and DNA, when healthy, produce a certain amount of light, almost like a rainbow.  When certain points are touched with somewhat firm but painless pressure, our body responds in various ways.  With QRA there are particular areas we can check in order to identify interferences within the body, and with that information, support any inefficient areas with proper nutraceutical, nutritional or even emotional support.

Keep in mind this is not a diagnostic tool, and nobody’s body is perfect.  We are all surrounded by electromagnetic fields, poor diets, and stress both physically and emotionally.  QRA is a means to find a way to bring more cellular resonance to the body.  More nutrients to our cells allow our bodies to fight illness and disease more efficiently. This in turn increases our ability to be well in an unlimited way, a Quantum way!

Curry Quinoa with Carrots and Cherries

Quinoa with Cherries and Carrots!

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(pronounced “keen-wa”)

First of all, let’s describe what Quinoa really is. It is not a grain actually, but a seed from the same family as spinach, beets, and swiss chard.  Known for its rich protein and omega content, it has a long list of anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation leads to disease, so its a great idea to incorporate Quinoa into the diet to combat any poor diet habits from our pasts.

The best tip I can give anyone who cooks Quinoa is to rinse it beforehand.  Some packages say it doesn’t matter but in my experience it DOES!

You see, Quinoa has an outer coating that can taste bitter as well as upset our tummies.  After rinsing, if time, saute until brown or fragrant for just a couple of minutes.  Once it is browned, add about 1 1/2 cups of liquid per 1 cup quinoa.  Most recipes call for more liquid, but I like it a little firmer and also keep in mind adding a marinade afterwards will soften it up further.  Bring to a boil, and don’t overcook…..it usually only takes 6-8 minutes of covered simmering.

The recipe shown above contains the following ingredients:

1 cup of chopped carrots, handful of chopped cilantro, 1-2 scallions, 1 handful apple juice sweetened cherries, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1-2 tsp gallberry honey, juice and zest of 1 orange, a little lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix well, refrigerate if desired.  I love to save the leftovers to add in wraps or salads the next day.  Yum!!

Badger Sunscreen Now Available at Holistic Clarity!

th-5I am always looking for natural products to use on my body, and when Badger Sunscreen was brought to my attention years ago, I have yet to find anything more natural and useful in the hot Florida sun!

Badger sunscreens use Non-nano, uncoated Zinc Oxide which will protect the skin nicely but will not get into the bloodstream.  It provides excellent broad spectrum protection, is biodegradable, and certified Organic.  Badger does not test on animals.

I also really like Badger sunscreen because the form of zinc oxide they use does not break my skin out like other brands.  They have several different oil bases to choose from, such as olive oil, cocoa butter, and my personal favorite which is a sunflower oil and vitamin E base.  There are also formulas containing aloe, specific blends for babies, as well as blends for sports enthusiasts that involve extra added protection.  At Holistic Clarity I also carry Badger’s Bug Repellent.  I have yet to find the right mix to make myself and theirs is not only effective, but doesn’t break the bank as far as organic protection is concerned.  Call us or visit us to find out which Badger product is right for you and your loved ones!

 

Sexual Liberation Through Tantra Yoga

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Shhhh…….should we talk about this? YES! YES! YES!

I could be wrong, but for people that have a regular Yoga regimen, my guess is that they do it because it not only makes them feel disciplined, but sexy at the same time. Let’s get down to the historical aspects of Hatha and Tantra-Style Yoga in particular and why they should be embraced more often, not just for the art of the practice, but for the intimate connection that is created when partners come together in a Yoga Union.

Tantra means to “liberate” and “expand” or “stretch”.  Tantra comes from the same branch as Hatha Yoga which means “sun” and “moon”.  Notice how in Hatha the meanings are opposite which is not uncommon in Hindu translations.  Even the Yogi’s teach that a posture (asana) should be “sthira sukham asanam”, meaning that we should be “strong”, but “soft” in our practice. There is some debate about the translations, even in reference to violence along with sexual psychosis, although for our purposes here I’d like to focus on a more New Age definition as described in  “The Science of Yoga”, by William J. Broad.

The opposites that enter my mind are Man and Woman, and sometimes I wonder about the “State of the Union” if you know what I mean.  Tantra Yoga, while criticized for being used for esoteric, erotic and purely indulgent sexual purposes in ashrams historically, there are actually very beautiful aspects I am incorporating into my Holistic Practice in order to liberate women in the bedroom.  The more savory take-aways being Tantra’s ability to unite a couple in perfect harmony, binding them in a an intimate and oftentimes sexual union which is very Godly not to mention Biblical. Of course there is also proof in regards to better circulation, hormone balance, along with stimulation using specific postures, but what I am talking about here is more than just the clinical health studies in regards to Yoga.

Sharing a “tantric kiss” with your lover, breathing deeply together in a seated spinal twist, or draping over your husband while he’s in child’s pose with no agenda can offer more creative intimacy. Our bodies are supposed to feel good together, a female is given the Divine Power to bring her lover to a state of ecstasy and vice versa. As far as I am concerned, that is a beautiful, healthy, mutual, not to mention sexy union between couples not many could resist!

What Triggers Adrenal Fatigue?

Let’s break down in simple language what the adrenal glands do for us and why they are often neglected as far as overall health is concerned.  The adrenals are located on top of the kidney’s, they are small, just about the size of a grape. There is an outer shell which produces hormones, and an inner part that regulates the cortisol response that is sometimes referred to as “flight or fight”, which occurs in the sympathetic nervous system.  Its not such a bad thing…this “flight or fight”, its what keeps us from a potentially harmful situation, like running from a bear, or fleeing from any life-threatening condition.  The problem arises when there are constant triggers such as situational stress, ongoing illness or injury, and possibly organ weakness or deficiencies that ask the adrenals a bit too much.  When “flight or fight” is in action, our bodies only concern is to survive that moment….therefore, our immune system shuts down, along with our digestion.  As the adrenals overcompensate time after time, they eventually get tired and worn, i.e., “adrenal fatigue”.

What are the common symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

The list of symptoms are quite broad but if you are constantly tired all of the time, have depression, sweets cravings, insomnia, brain fog, mood issues, allergies, or environmental sensitivities, its likely your adrenals are stressed.

Is there any way to test for adrenal fatigue?

According to Glen Depke, (Traditional Naturopath) of Depke Wellness, he has tested over 4300 clients and nearly ALL of them tested positive for adrenal fatigue!

There are many ways to test for adrenal fatigue right at home. Take for example, ZRT labs Adrenal Stress Profile, which measures adrenal hormones like DHEA and cortisol levels throughout the day.  These test are available online, or through your holistic health care provider.

Are there supplements that are helpful for adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal herbal support including adaptogens or glandular supplements offer relief and recovery to weakened organs. This in turn allows the adrenals a break from overcompensation.

What triggers wear out the adrenal glands?

If there are inflammatory foods being eaten on a regular basis that are damaging to the gut, the adrenals will become stressed.   Sometimes it is wise to eliminate foods that may be considered inflammatory, like gluten or dairy for a week or two in order to evaluate energy levels as well as digestion.

Another helpful tip would be to eliminate situational stressors.  Perhaps we come home every day to a stressful situation, or our work is not only unbearable but the people we work with are too!  Experiencing these situations on a daily basis contributes to adrenal fatigue.  Another example of a stressor is if we are having allergies or our immune system is always fighting something.  In this case an anti-inflammatory diet high in antioxidants is very wise, along with a supplemental regimen to further facilitate healing in overworked adrenals.  Exercise is also recommended, although it is important to not overdo it. Many people with stressed adrenals are already exhausted and this will only make matters worse.  A light exercise regimen is best until the energy levels come up.

What additional alternative healing modalities are helpful?

Yoga therapeutics as well as MELT Method are also very good healing modalities that activate the para-sympathetic nervous system. This part of the brain is what we need to spend more time in, as it puts us in a more mindful, restful state.  Good chiropractic care is also essential, making certain that there are no subluxation concerns along the spine that mix up nerve communication throughout the body causing overall weakness.

Please take note that it took quite a while for chronic states to wear out these precious glands, and they usually do not respond overnight.  Listen to your body, rest when you can, and take good care of yourself.  It is always a good idea to work with a qualified health professional that understands your concerns both emotionally and physically so they can get you on the path to feeling alive once again!

The Sun Salutation


After getting the boys off to school, I love to come back home and do some sun salutations (Surya Namascar) to get my body loose and warmed up for the day. Although there is disagreement about the origin of the sun salutation, it generally means adoration, in this case of the sun. I like to interpret it as honoring the start of a fresh, new day full of possibilities.

While there are different combinations of postures used for sun salutations, it generally starts with mountain pose, followed by various postures finally ending in downward dog. The image here best depicts the standard Surya Namascar but I like to add half moon before the upward salute. However I eliminate that asana for folks who would find the slight back bend painful.

Also, as I am in downward dog I often times lift each leg to the sky, one at a time, arching the leg while pointing the toe toward the opposite side of my body, then glancing toward the toe. This opens up the hip all the way up to the ribcage and allows for a nice stretch throughout each side of the body. Additionally, I always do my salutations to beautiful music, selecting the song from my iTunes based on my mood of the morning.
If time permits toward the end of the song I add in Yoga Mudra, the symbol of yoga, then Garbasana (child’s pose) to rest my body and be thankful for the day before me.

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Oh Oregano!

1301043797r70UXQI absolutely love oregano on everything, in salads, soups, potatoes the list goes on forever. But did you know that the oil of oregano has many amazing therapeutic benefits?

Due to its content of thymol and carvacol, oregano oil holds potent anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. During cold and flu season it is taken to boost the immune system in order to fight off the virus. Oregano oil has been long known for its ability to treat candida infections as well as giardia, a parasite which disrupts the GI tract.

I personally like to take it orally with a probiotic to pump up my immune system, along with mixing about 6-8 drops in 2 oz purified water and spritz it on my face. It not only helps to keep my skin clear but has a nice toning effect. But be careful as it is quite potent topically, you may want to try a few drops in your face spritzer first then work up from there.

And last but not least, bugs hate oregano so why not mix up a few drops of each…oregano, rosemary, and spearmint oil, or whatever oils smell the best and that your not sensitive to. Dilute them into a spray bottle filled with purified water and maybe some witch hazel. You can also add the oils to a carrier oil such as jojoba, in order to apply it like you would a lotion. Then get ready to enjoy your gardening, camping or just your own back yard without getting eaten alive!