My Not-So-Secret Weapon to Rewire Our Chronic Stress Response

Every time I pick up to write, at first, I always imagined talking about the Adrenal-cortisol pathway, or Leaky gut syndrome,  like many of my peers, in order to educate my readers about these common themes that I see daily in my practice.  Instead, I want to go straight to offering you these effective, precious tools that were taught for thousands of years, and shared by my teacher Yogi Bhajan.  They are so simple in addressing the ultimate underlying root cause – our burnt out Nervous System, our Autonomic Response that are stuck in FLIGHT or FIGHT mode, and unable to trigger the RELAXATION response at will.

Kundalini Yoga sets are designed to reprogram our nervous system using breath, movements, sound currents and mental vibrations in short amounts of time.

This is the no.1 set I share with my patients who have fatigue and low mood.  Do it 1st thing in the morning, for 40 days, starting at the shortest time (1 minute each) and work up to full length.

A Yoga Set to Build and Stabilize your Energy – Surya Kriya

General Kundalini Yoga Rules:

  • Always tune into this practice with reciting the mantra “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” 3 times. A traditional practice for you to tune in deeply to the consciousness of this ancient practice.
  • If necessary, you can sit in Easy Pose (simple cross-legged position), instead of Rock Pose.  But feel free to use pillows and socks to prop and support your ankles and hip.
  • You can always cut down the times specified proportionately, but not make longer.  E.g.  3 mins  –> 1 min  (1/3)  or —> 1.5 min (1/2) for rest of the exercises.

1. Right Nostril Breath.

Come sitting up in easy pose with lower back tucked in, the chest high and the chin parallel to the
ground and slightly tucked in.  Raise the left hand and block off the left nostril with your thumb.  Take long slow deep breathing through your right nostril.  (3 minutes)

2. Sat Kriya.

Sit in Rock Pose.  or easy pose if need to.  Arms held up overhead with the upper arms hugging your ears.  Fingers clasped together with index fingers pointing straight up and palms touching.  Chant the word ‘Saat’ (sounds like Yacht) as you pull your Navel Point in and up.  Chant the word ‘Naam’ as you relax your Navel Point.  Let the breath regulate itself.  Eyes closed and focused at the center of your brows.  (3 minutes)

Then inhale with your nose, hold your breath, squeeze your pelvic muscles and navel point up. Then Relax.

3. Rest.

Remain in Rock Pose, or easy pose.  Rest with eyes closed and focused at Brow Point.  Breathe normally.  (1 minute)

4. Sat Kriya.

Repeat exercise 2 for 2 minutes.

5. Rest.

Remain in Rock Pose, or easy pose.  Rest with eyes closed and focused at Brow Point.  Breathe normally.  (1 minute)

6. Spinal Flex.

Hold your shins with your hands firmly.  Inhale through your nose as you lift your chest high, and tilt your pelvis forward.  Then, exhale through your nose as you collapse your chest down, and tilt your pelvis gently the opposite way.  Continue this fluid movement, and keep your chin level without bobbing it up and down. Like riding a horse.  (3 minutes)

7. Frog Pose.

  1. Come standing up slowly and place your feet close together with heels touching, and feet pointing out at an angle.  Squat down on tiptoes with fingertips touching the ground in between the legs. Knees apart, and heels remain touching.  Head is up.
  2. Inhale with nose, and straighten your legs, keep fingertips touching the group.  Bring the chin to the chest.
  3. Exhale and move to a. position again.
  4. Repeat 26 times.

8. Head Turns.

Come into Rock Pose.  Rest a moment.  Fold your hands on your lap and turn your head to the Left as you inhale with your nose slowly.  Then, turn your head to the Right and Exhale with your nose slowly.  Low Slow Deep Breathing.  (3 minutes)

9.  Side Bends.

Remain in Rock pose.  Bring your hands to your shoulders, and thumbs in back, fingers in front. Without twisting, inhale as you bend to the left and exhale as your bend to the right. Like a pendulum.  Slow Deep Breathing.

10. Slow Meditative Breath.

Sit now in Easy Pose.  Hands on your knees in Gyan Mudra – touching your thumb with index finger.Keep a firm concentration at your Brow Point.  Apply a light Root Lock, pulling your pelvic floor muscles and navel point muscles in and up. Begin Slow Deep Breathing. (6 minutes)

11. Deep Relaxation.

Come lying flat on your back, and your arms by the sides with palms facing up.  Your eyes gently closed, and breath soft and normal. (7 minutes)



 

Set taken from Master’s Touch Teacher training manual.

Better Mood, Naturally: Mindful Eating with the Brain in Mind

It’s all about Food As Medicine.

If you live in the East bay, check out this wonder group class on How Food can improve your Brain chemical run by a wonderful colleague who use Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in her groups.

http://www.centerforstressreduction.com/better-mood-class-oakland.html

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12 Tips to A Good Detox

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We live in an ever-increasingly toxic environment. Many of the toxins, also known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), are abundant in the environment today and did not exist 30 years ago. These new toxins include certain pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals that can enter the body through food, water, and air supplies. These toxins can and often do become trapped in the body’s organs and tissues, which over time can negatively impact health, vitality, and overall wellness, and may contribute to the development of chronic illness.  We are also more frequently than the past taking regular medications, eating processed foods that has ingredients with chemical compounds that we can’t pronounce.  Therefore, a regular detox program is called for in our modern day lives.

A detoxification program should be simple to complete, effective in outcome, and without concern for safety. It should involve cutting out processed and inflammatory foods, and by supporting the body’s natural two-phase process of detoxification in your liver, which requires Vitamin B, C, E, glutathione, folic acids, amino acids, selenium and natural sulfur found in cruciferous vegetables like garlic, broccoli, then toxins can safely and effectively be cleansed from the body.  This is a simple kit I like to do at least once a year, since it has all the ingredients for boosting my liver detox.

Here are some tips that you can incorporate into your regular lifestyle to boost your Liver detox function.

1. Drink plenty of clean water, 8-10 glasses of filtered water a day.

2. Keep your bowels moving, at least once or twice a day. If you can’t get going, you may need some help. This can include taking two tablespoons of ground flax seeds, probiotics and extra magnesium citrate capsules.

3. Eat mostly organic produce and grass fed animal products, if possible.

4. Eat 8-10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables daily, especially cruciferous vegetables  such as broccoli, collards, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, as well as garlic and onions, which  increase sulfur in the body and help detoxification.

Make a DETOX SMOOTHIE daily with:

  • Beets (1 cup chopped)
  • Collards (1 cup chopped)
  • Carrot Juice 4 oz
  • Blackberry (1 cup chopped)
  • Pomegranate Juice 2oz
  • Green Tea for ECGC and anti-oxidants  (1 pinch)
  • Honey (1 tablespoon)
  • Water (1 cup)

5. Avoid stimulants, sedatives, and drugs such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.  Check out Dandiblend, a gluten free blend of roots of dandelion, chicory and beets, barley and rye as a great substitute for that coffee flavor in the morning.  Dandelion, chicory root are known to boost your liver detox pathways.Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 10.44.42 AM

6. Walk or Exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week with a rotation of stretching, cardio and weight training.

7. Remove all refined carbohydrates: white sugar, flour, bread, pasta.

8. Sweat at least 3 times a week, using a sauna, steam or hot detox bath (1 cup epsom salt, 2 tbsp baking soda, lavender oil).

9. Eat regular small meals with snacks in between to avoid low blood sugar.  Eat a high quality protein shake (Metagenics Ultraclear) in between meals.

10. Schedule time to relax deeply every day so your body can rest and rejuvenate.

11. Start a mindfulness practice or meditate daily:  do deep breathing exercise for 5 minutes 1-2 times a day. You can try inhaling through your nose for 4 counts, holding for 7 counts and exhaling through your mouth or nose for 8 counts as a starter.

12. Journal for 15 minutes a day, write down any physical or emotional reactions that come up.  When we change what we put into our body, it shifts our metabolism, our energy level, our inflammatory response, and surely that will affect our mental and emotional state, bringing awareness to what shifts for you is as important as the physical changes that happen with a period of detox.

Understand Autoimmune Disease

Do you know someone in your life suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s? Are you facing a disease yourself? 

The truth is we don’t know what Autoimmune disease truly is in conventional medicine.  But it’s a new era in medicine, and there are ways to turn around even the most difficult autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Tom O’Bryan, who has 30 years of clinical research, patient care in Functional Medicine invites you to begin a deeply personal journey with his powerful FREE 7-Part documentary series “Betrayal: The autoimmune disease solution they’re not telling you.” 
Watch it!  Share it!  Start a conversation!
 

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  • Episode 1– The Autoimmune Epidemic: Root Causes and Solutions
  • Episode 2– Intestinal Permeability: The Gateway to Autoimmunity
  • Episode 3– The Microbiome: Where Health and Disease Begin and End
  • Episode 4– Autoimmune Diseases of the Gut: The Role of Food and Digestion
  • Episode 5– Environmental Toxins: The Hidden Drivers of Disease
  • Episode 6– Autoimmune Diseases of the Brain: A New Approach to Neurology
  • Episode 7– Case Studies: Bringing it All Together

Can we make disease disappear?

I’ve found this to be TRUE many times in patients who use Functional Medicine to address the root causes of their illness.  

Watch how Dr. Rangan Chatterjee on TEDx Liverpool talk about How to Make Disease Disappear. His talk is testament to how our thinking around the concept of disease needs to change to help form a map for future healthcare.  We are  talking about diabetes, hypothyroid, asthma, anxiety disorder, clinical depression…

This will be FIRST of a series of videos that I will be sharing over the next month about some strong information on how to really reframe the way we think about chronic, illness, autoimmune disease, heart disease.

Meditation for Balancing Nervous Energies

This meditation teaches you to become aware of your breath.

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When you are paying attention to your breath and practicing control of your breath, whether you are holding it in, or holding it out, you bring your nervous system into balance.  When you have control over your breath, you have control over your emotions, hair trigger reactions, addictions and apprehensions.  

Practice this every day for 3 minutes.  Build it up to 5. Do it first thing when you wake up, or right before you go to bed, or both.  Try doing it for 40 days, and see what effects you feel.

Posture:   Sit in a chair with a straight spine and both feet touching the ground, or sit in easy pose, a simple cross-legged position on the floor.  Place the palm of your right hand against the back of the left hand.  Press the thumb tips together.

Raise your hands up until they are a few inches in front of the heart. Hold the hands, forearms and elbows in a horizontal line, parallel to the ground.

Eye focus: The eyes are nine-tenths closed.

Breath: Inhale deeply through the nose. Calmly, hold the breath IN for 15-20 seconds.

Exhale deeply through the nose. Then calmly, hold the breath OUT for 15-20 seconds. Concentrate on the breath.

Time: Continue for 3 minutes.  
This meditation “Balancing the Nervous Energies” is taken from from The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan.  For more information about Yogi Bhajan and his teachings, check out www.3HO.org.

Making your own Almond Milk

Almond milk is low glycemic alternative to rice milk and soy milk, and it is less expensive and more healthy when you make it yourself.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-53-24-am

Its sweetness and flavor is heavenly when you drink it right away.  You are also eliminating additives like carrageenan that’s been associated with adverse health effects.

Because of its light taste, it can be used in place of regular milk in recipes for baking.  We also use the leftover almond pulp to make almond flour for use in recipes!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw organic almonds 
  • 4 cups pure filtered water
  • 1 pinch cinnamon (option)
  • dates, honey (optional)
  1. Soak almonds for at least 12 hours in pure water with ½ tsp sea salt. 
  2. Rinse almonds well. Mix almonds with pure water in blender or Vitamix for 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-54-59-am
  3. Strain mixture into a large bowl through a cheese cloth.
  4. (Optional) Put mixture back into blender with soaked dates, or honey.
  5. Pour into glass jar and store in fridge for up to 5 days.
  6.  To make almond flour, save the pulp of the almonds, put on cookie sheet and dehydrate in oven on 200 degree until completely dry. Run through blender or food processor to make almond flour, which can be used in
    recipes in place of flour.
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A Summer Spearmint Tisane Recipe

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-9-50-56-pmSpearmint is a refreshing garden mint frequently used in blends. Tisane means herbal infusion, or a restorative herbal drink translated from French.  Try this refreshing drink after a full meal in a hot summer day or night.

Cook Time: 15 minutes                        Make 8 cups

Ingredients:

1¼ cups fresh mint leaves removed from their stalks, measured without packing
3¼ cups water

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the washed mint leaves into the boiling water. Turn off the heat. Cover the pot.
  3. Steep 10 minutes.
  4. Pass through a strainer.
  5. Add an additional 4 or more cups hot water or ice and cold water.
  6. Enjoy hot or cold

An Immune Booster: Yogi Tea Recipe


screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-9-32-34-pmEver feel horrible when going through a detox, or a change in diet, or sometimes just feeling under the weather?

This is my secret weapon.

Yogi Tea is a health promoting, delicious, soothing drink and coffee substitute.  I like to make a big pot of it and drink it throughout the day, especially in the winter months, or when I am doing a detox.

In the science of yogic foods the spices used are said to have the following properties:

  • Black pepper: blood purifier
  • Cardamom pods: digestive aid
  • Cloves: beneficial to the nervous systemscreen-shot-2016-09-08-at-9-32-51-pm
  • Cinnamon: strengthens the bones
  • Ginger root: healing for colds and flu, increases energy

The milk in the tea binds the flavor of the spices.  Other milk substitutes can be used. A homeopathic dose of black tea binds the effects of all the ingredients, creating just the right medicinal balance.  The cinnamon creates enough sweetness that you might not need to add honey.

(Bonus tip:  watch the cloves dance in the boiling water, and smell the aroma of the cardamom. It’s a beautiful sight.)

Ingredients:

For each cup:
10 ounces of water (about 1 1/3 cups)
3 whole cloves
4 whole green cardamom pods, cracked
4 whole black peppercorns
½ stick cinnamon
¼ teaspoon black tea
½ cup milk or equivalent
2 slices fresh ginger root

Cooking Instructions:

Bring water to a boil and add spices. Cover and boil 15 to 20 minutes, then add black tea. Let sit for a few minutes, then add the milk and return to a boil. Don’t let it boil over. When it reaches a boil, remove immediately from heat, strain, and sweeten with honey, if desired.

Fist of Anger: Meditation for Releasing Anger

8037828855_8016f84c2d_zHave you ever felt so overcame with emotions and anger that you just can’t stop turning and turning inside.  This is a great tool for just that.  It channels this uncontrollable and disturbing energy through your breath, and release it. Try it for as little as 1 minute and build up to 3 minutes.  

You body position:

Sit in Easy Pose (sitting on floor with legs crossed) or in chair, with a light neck lock (tilt your chin gently down and lengthen your neck upwards). Eyes are closed.

Your hand position:

Touch each thumb to the base of the pinky fingers. Close the rest of the fingers over the thumbs to form fists. Raising the arms, begin a backstroke type movement over the head, alternating each side (right/left) as you swing up, over and back around again.

Your breath:

Make an O-shaped mouth and breathe through it with a strong, rhythmic inhale/exhale that is in sync with your arm movements.

Begin the backstroke movement and the coordinated breath with a strong and continuous movement. Intentionally think about anything and everything that makes you angry. Continue this laser focus on bringing up the anger throughout the meditation, increasing the movement and breath.

To End:

Interlock the fingers, stretch the arms up over head, palms facing up, deep inhale through the O mouth- picture yourself surrounded in white, healing light- exhale out the O mouth.

Repeat 3 times.                      Time: 3 minutes.


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This meditation is learned from Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan©.  For more infomation visit the Kundalini Research Institute.