Sciatica

The sciatic nerves are the body’s two largest nerves. They are about as thick as your pinkie and emanate from the lower lumbar spine. They thread through the buttocks down the back of each leg to the soles of the feet and big toes. Pain strikes when a root that helps form one of the sciatic nerves, or when the nerve fibers, become pinched or irritated. You can feel it anywhere along the nerve’s branch: low back, buttocks, leg, calf, or foot. It can be felt down one leg or both. Sciatic pains are like snowflakes: no two are ever the same, and their severity can change throughout an attack. The pain can feel like a dull soreness, numbness, or tingling, or more like an electric shock, throbbing heat, or stabbing pain. It can begin as an annoying ache that makes it uncomfortable to sit, or turn into a variety of intense, and at times debilitating, sensations that make it nearly impossible to walk or stand. An episode can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. Some are frequent and consistent—you can almost set your watch by them—while others may arrive out of the blue after a long hiatus. Yoga by Benefit Sciatica Share...

Lavender Smoothie

It doesn’t get much better than lavender. Just the scent alone is beautiful, but there are so many other benefits of this amazing little flower that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Perhaps you already have some lavender candles in your home? Got dandruff? Lavender oil can be used to soothe a dry scalp. Feeling stressed? Scientists have found that the smell of lavender lowers heart rate and reduces blood pressure. Keep some at your desk for a quick, calming session before that important presentation in front of all your co-workers. Does your digestion need some help? Lavender combats bad gut bacteria. Lavender aromatherapy candles, oils, and sachets are quite easy to come by. Simple ways to incorporate lavender into your diet are not. How about a smoothie that will calm your nerves, promote a healthy gut, and knock your socks off? Lavender-Blueberry-Lemon Smoothie 1 frozen banana 1 1/2 cups almond milk 1 cup frozen blueberries 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest 2 teaspoons chia seeds Combine all and blend thoroughly. Sip and be confident, grateful, and calm. Share...

You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.

1. Whenever you become aware of negative thoughts and emotions arising, rather than ignoring them, or setting them aside for later, identify, acknowledge, and honor them. 2. Become very clear on what the specific upset is by identifying the exact thoughts that are bothering you. Are they self-judging, bad memories, or anxiety about future events? Any thought that causes disease in you, regardless of past, present or future is applicable. 3. Next, indentify the specific emotions that arise in you as a result of said thoughts. What do they feel like? Is there tightening in your chest? Is your stomach turning or is there a throbbing sensation in your head? Again, any emotion that causes dis-ease is applicable. 4. Once you’ve clearly identified the thought(s) and emotion(s), close your eyes and explore the imagery they subsequently create in your mind (once you’re familiar with the practice, you won’t always need to close your eyes—i.e., if you’re driving, or in public you can still do this.) Do the thoughts and emotions create colors, shapes, figures? Are they abstract or clear? The important thing is to let your thoughts and emotions create the imagery while you simply become aware of what they are. 5. Breathe. We’re at the half way mark and I’d like to offer you a sincere congratulations on completing the first half! Our natural tendency is to suppress these uncomfortable thoughts and emotions, often telling ourselves that we’ll deal with them later—but honestly, does later ever come? Unfortunately for most of us, it never does. So even just by taking the time to become conscious of, and identify these unpleasant...

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

  Hot stone massage is a natural therapy in which warmed stones are positioned on parts of the client’s body of to maximize the therapeutic benefit. The stones used are typically river rocks or other very smooth-surfaced stones made of basalt. These stones are heated in sanitizing water before use. The high iron content in basalt helps the stones retain heat during the massage. Hot stone massages are beneficial on both physical and psychological levels. Always check with your doctor before getting a hot stone massage; individuals with certain conditions–including pregnant women and people with high blood pressure–are advised to avoid this type of therapy. Muscle Relaxation The heat from the stones helps your muscles relax, allowing the massage therapist to manipulate your deep tissues more effectively. Overly tense muscles can hinder the massage procedure, so if your muscles are extremely tight or stiff, the heated stones may provide the extra relaxation you need for the massage to be beneficial in releasing tension and easing sore muscles. Pain Relief While all types of massage can help relieve pain caused by tense muscles, stiff joints or injuries, a hot stone massage may provide greater relief due to the intense nature of the massage. Because the hot stones allow the massage therapist to penetrate deeper, you may find that a hot stone massage leaves you feeling physically better than a Swedish or deep-tissue massage that does not incorporate heat. It is important to let your massage therapist know if you feel that the heat from the stones is too much or that the pressure he is using is too harsh. Pain...

What’s the meaning behind your favorite yoga pose?

Yoga poses from animals Every animal has a sacred gift for humans to learn. Animal poses can help us to connect with powerful aspects of the soul that we often repress in our busy lives. Before coming into an animal pose, it can be helpful to imagine what it feels like to be that animal. Try to envision where the ani­mal lives, how its body moves, how it eats and how it plays. Cobra The cobra moves with its belly on the ground but must reach up to see clearly, much as we are often kept busy with worldly pursuits and have to make an effort to reach for higher goals. It takes faith and courage to rise above the material world and peer into the unknown spiritual world. Once the upper body is poised above the ground in Cobra Pose, we must accept whatever it is we see from this new vista. The lower back is consciously relaxed while the eyes remain focused on heaven. The cobra’s ferocious nature cannot be ignored. It comes up sud­denly and with deadly force, much like the workings of nature or the trappings of the world. The cobra’s gift is in its ability to shed its skin. It is this shedding of skin that allows the cobra to continually transform and renew itself. The very nature of life involves frequent shift and change. How do you feel about change and transformation? How do you feel about death? Many people are afraid to die, yet this fear prevents us from fully living. The archetype of the cobra inspires us to see the possibilities...

The Mertailor

Who doesn’t want to be a mermaid? I might have to get one to play with. This would be fun in or out of water. From the website https://www.themertailor.com/ Eric Ducharme started Mertailor LLC in 2006, when he was just 16 years old and performing as the prince in Weeki Wachee Springs Little Mermaid show. Now 22, he’s made realistic, hand-painted custom mermaid tails for a range of clients as diverse as Lady Gaga, RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants, Target, and Saturday Night Live. Not to mention for all manner of child and adult who dream, as he has for as long as he can remember, of other worlds. Some kids want to grow up to become firefighters or superheroes, Eric says, but all he ever wanted to be was a merman. Share...

Meditation 101

Why and how to meditate Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. But many meditation techniques exist. So how do you learn how to meditate? “In Buddhist tradition, the word ‘meditation’ is equivalent to a word like ‘sports’ in the U.S. It’s a family of activity, not a single thing,” University of Wisconsin neuroscience lab director Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., told The New York Times. And different meditative practices require different mental skills. It’s extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an “empty mind.” But in general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath — an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration. Concentration meditation A concentrative meditation technique involves focusing on a single point. This could entail watching the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong or counting beads on a rosary. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations. In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves. Mindfulness meditation Mindfulness meditation technique encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each...

Downward-Facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna) adho = downward mukha = face svana = dog Step by Step  Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.  Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.  Then with an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Narrow the front of the pelvis.  Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.  Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the poses in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It’s also an excellent yoga asana all on its own. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Then bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation...

Faery Lore

The Beginning They are called the Fae, fay, faeries, sprites and pixies. Are they the same thing? Are there separate variations or species? What are they exactly? Where do they live? Who believes in them and how do they communicate with them? The best place to start this topic is with spellings and definitions. There are several spellings used throughout the world and spiritual community for faeries. Fairy and faerie are the two most common, but they can also be described as fay or fae. Pixie, leprechaun, faerie, brownie, sprite are all terms for these supernatural beings, thought to be helpful or harmful to people. These variations in name are often attributed to different cultures of the world using different languages to describe the same thing. For instance, here in America we call the roof over the engine of our car a hood. In the U.K. it’s a bonnet. The way we label these magical little people is similar to that. Thus we have different names to describe nearly the same group of little people. Faerie is the most general name for such beings: a good faerie is often referred to as a godmother (faerie godmother); but they may also cause misadventures for humans. A brownie is a good-natured tiny being who appears usually at night to do household tasks: more often outside chores, such as cutting the lawn and tending weeds in flower beds. A pixie is usually a young, mischievous or roguish faerie. A Sprite refers to a faerie of pleasing appearance who is older than a fae and who is to be admired for ease and...