Health and Healing Blog
Lela Clawson Miller's picture

What Kids Have Taught me about Yoga, Mindfulness and Beyond

As adults, we often find it difficult to let go and relax. We know it's important to de-stress and yet unless we schedule relaxation into our schedules, it rarely is treated as a priority. Admitting this fact can be quite liberating. Choosing a time to dedicate oneself toward "recharging the batteries" can be a wonderful place to begin. Perhaps this is why so many people find attendance of regular yoga classes to be so beneficial. I certainly have found this to be true. The mat provides a safe space to learn how to move and breathe and heal my body, through repetition, commitment, patience and curiosity. Doing yoga with others teaches me playfulness, humility and the joy of communion.

I have witnessed many wonderful practitioners of yoga since I began my studies, and yet, I must admit that children are by far my greatest inspiration. During a kids yoga class, we explore mindfulness, sound exploration, animal shapes, traditional poses, storytelling, poetry, partner poses and group games. We discuss important topics like friendship and kindness and explore how these principles feel in our bodies. Children love how the poses make them feel and are given lots of space to create a safe haven on their mats.

Each child brings a unique world to their yoga practice. Downward facing dog is guaranteed to look different for every child. I may ask the class to demonstrate how an alligator moves. Every child will have their own take on how it would feel to be this creature. And herein lies the beauty: everyone is right! For children, play becomes more important than the outer appearance of a yoga posture. Teaching kids yoga has taught me the importance of approaching my practice from the inside out.

Here are just a few yoga pointers and observations that my young friends have to share with you:

-Stretching makes my body smile!

-Doing yoga means that you can be a mermaid, dolphin and a flying bird!

-When I imagine I am a mountain, my body feels strong, heavy and relaxed.

-Sometimes I want to have quiet time on my mat.

-I could see my friend's breath moving in and out and it was really cool!

-I do yoga all the time. You can even do yoga in the grocery store!

-Counting five breaths helps me to feel more calm.

-I like to do Star Wars yoga!

The next time you have 15 minutes to spare, ask a child in your life to share a yoga practice. Surely it will be wonderfully creative and unlike any class you have ever attended! 

 

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Diane Brinsko's picture

Stress Free Things To Do In Pittsburgh

Got Stress?
Eliminate your Busy- ness
Just...do...less....
Eliminate Excess and cast out Duress
Decompress-Experience Happiness!

Stress free things to do in Pittsburgh and all year round:

*Smile a lot, Laugh More
*Be Grateful
*Forgive Yourself
*Savor Quietude
*Consciously Breathe
*Listen to the Rain
*Amaze yourself with the Beauty and Simplicity of Nature
*Clean out your social media accounts- seriously!
*Dance with yourself or with others
*Experience uninhibited movement
*Get a massage!

Peace, Love, and Relax ✌❤

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Amy Remic's picture

Move Out of Your Mind and Into Your Mantra

My mind is racing….. I can’t relax…. I was told to meditate but all I can do is think about my to do list and how I have to remember xyz.

Does this sound like you? Then maybe you need a mantra.

What is a Mantra, you ask?

A Mantra is a word(s) or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.

Our minds our wonderful gifts and are very useful tools to sort, memorize, and learn, but they were never meant to be the only part of us that we can hear. So it’s time that we learn to reconnect with our souls and slow things down, and this is where a mantra comes in. Repeating a mantra gives our brains a job, and they really like having a job and it gives the rest of our body and souls space to speak up and be.

So close your eyes, set an intention, connect with your breathe, and repeat your mantra as you begin to meditate. If your mind tries to step back in, repeat your mantra again.

So whether you need to calm yourself down, give yourself a pep talk, or just need to calm your mind, turn to a mantra. Here are just a few for you to start with:

I am beautiful.

I am strong.

I can create.

I am fearless.

There is no one like me.

There are no wrong decisions.

Everything I need is within me.

Peace and ease are within.

I am fully supported.

I attract what I need.

I create the world I desire.

Peace. Love. Joy. That is who I am.

Next time your mind races and you can’t calm your mind, give it a mantra.

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Tracy Sutphen's picture

The Benefits of Going Barefoot

How long has it been since you've kicked off your shoes and spent time walking barefoot upon the ground? Industrialized regions around the world often host more acres of paved roads an concrete parking lots than acres of green grass or wooded forests and have at least one footwear store at every shopping center within walking distance. Surprisingly, the majority of the Earth's population today continue to live their lives without anything protecting their feet.

When looking back, it is assumed that indigenous peoples, who walked barefoot upon the Earth, had every incentive to find new ways to protect their feet from unknown dangers lingering throughout each unexplored area. Who would have thought that our basic human instinct to protect our feet would lead to the creation of a multi-trillion-dollar market revolving 'sole-ly' around shoes (1)?

A new group of scientists have recently started looking into the health benefits of direct contact with the earth—things like walking barefoot on the grass, sitting against a tree and lying on a warm, sandy beach. This practice of direct contact has been termed “earthing,” and a number of health and wellness gurus are beginning to advocate for it. Several research studies have revealed that direct contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding orearthing) produces positive effects on physiology and health. "Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (2)."Furthermore, "grounding appears to improve sleep, normalize the day–night cortisol rhythm, reduce pain, reduce stress, shift the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic activation, increase heart rate variability, speed wound healing, and reduce blood viscosity (2)." It seems we've been neglecting our roots and have forgotten the many health benefits associated with going barefoot and taking time to connect with the negative ionic energy of the Earth. Fortunately, there are a variety of green-spaces located within the Pittsburgh area where residents can enjoy taking a much needed barefoot break (3). So, instead of browsing the interwebs for that new pair of sandals to match your favorite Summer outfit, try taking some time to rejuvenate your soul by connecting the soles of your feet directly to the Earth.

1.) http://www.statisticbrain.com/footwear-industry-statistics/

2.)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378297/

3.) https://www.pittsburghparks.org/

4.) https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/28433

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Laura Pickens's picture

Keep the Lymphatic System Healthy

I remember the first time I shared some information I learned in Massage School about the Lymph System to my father and he said "A what System?!" The Lymphatic System is not the most popular system but keeping it healthy can have lots of benefits to how you feel everyday.

It is a network of tissues and organs that rid the body of toxins. It's primary function is to transport lymphatic fluid. Lymph is fluid that is thicker than blood that contains white blood cells that fight infection all throughout the body. The Lymphatic System doesn't have a pump so it has to rely on the contraction in the vessels to move it along. 

So a healthy lymphatic system is clutch to a healthy body.

Some common blocks to the lymphatic flow are:

  • Inflammation
  • Feeling tired
  • Bloating
  • Soreness or stiffness when you wake up 
  • Rings too tight on fingers 
  • Weight gain and extra belly fat
  • Swollen glands
  • Low immunity 
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Constipation
  • Mild headaches

 

There are many reasons why the lymph nodes and lymphatic system get congested but there are ways you can take part in helping the flow. 

 

Exercise!

Jumping on a mini or regular trampoline can help get things moving. You can do this between 10-20 minutes everyday.

Dry Brushing

You can purchase a natural bristle brush and sweep briskly up the skin. Start on your abdomen in a counter clock wise direction and then sweep the front of the body. Start with your hands and sweep up towards your shoulders. Then begin at the feet and quickly brush upwards toward the hips. Sweep up the back of the body as best you can. Do this for 5 minutes before you get in the shower 3 times a week.

Essential oils

After a shower you can apply essential oils like cypress, grapefruit, or ginger root to the skin to aid in increasing lymphatic flow. I like to add 3 drops of grapefruit and 3 drops of bergamot with a tablespoon of coconut oil  and apply over my skin.

Massage

A massage will physically help the lymph to drain where it naturally needs to go by gliding upwards and compressing the legs and arms as well as a variety of techniques used to get the process moving. Castor oil packs on the stomach with added heat will clear out toxins.

Walking

It is important to get the body moving and the lungs functioning. Walking is something everyone can do outside or at home. Just take a break and walk. Breathe as deep as possible while walking.

Eat healthy and drink water

Dehydration is a leading cause of lymphatic system congestion. Drink plenty of water to keep it moving. Also, it is important to remove processed foods from one’s diet to keep as many toxins out as possible. Have warm drinks and soups in the winter and cooling foods such as cucumbers in the summer. Also, try eating raw fruit on an empty stomach rather than having any food in your stomach.

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