Alternate Nostril Breathing

Today, I have a great yogic technique that I want to share with you. It’s breath work that yogis use to control their moods and energies.

When we are distressed, we take quick, shallow breaths.

When we are relaxed, we take deep, full breaths.

When we practice regulating our breathing patterns, we improve our mental and physical state.

This technique is called Alternate Nostril Breathing.

The nerves going out from the two brain hemispheres cross at the level of the eyebrows. The left hemisphere connects to the right side of the body and right nostril, and the right hemisphere to the left side of the body and left nostril.

Right nostril breathing (Coffee Replacer).
It activates qualities of left brain: the Sun energy—warming, projective, concentrative, alert, and action oriented.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-9-08-51-pm

  1. Have the left hand in Gyan mudra (touch thumb with index finger) relax on lap
  2. Raise your right hand, use the index finger  to close your left nostril
  3. Slowly inhale through the right nostril
  4. Eyes can be closed or 1/10 open looking at tip of nose
  5. Long deep breaths for 3 minutes
  6. To end you take a deep breath in with both nostrils, hold the breath, for a count of 10, then release.

Left nostril breathing (Calm Inducer). 
It activates right brain qualities: the Moon energy, calmness, receptive, cooling. Best to use before bed or anxiety.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-9-08-56-pm

  1. Use the thumb on your right hand to cover your right nostril
  2. Breathe slowly through your left nostril
  3. Eyes can be closed or 1/10 open looking at tip of nose
  4. Long deep breathing for 3 minutes

Try RIGHT in the morning, and LEFT one before bed, and enjoy the powerful effects of this breath.

Happy Breathing!!

4 Natural Immune Boosting Tips

Whether you are a parent with kids going back to school, or you work in a large office environment with lots of handshakes or door knobs to grab, September to November months are often when people begin the cycle of cough and colds, earaches, strep throats and sinus symptoms.  Some more prone to it than others.

Here are some simple tools to boost your immune system so you can avoid being out from work, or avoid frequent visits to the doctors.

1. Pay attention to Diet

Remove inflammatory foods can make a huge difference in boosting your immune system, and we now know that foods with high phytonutrients can fight disease too.

  • Remove most sugar, including artificial sugar, processed sugar, fruit juices and sodas.
  • Remove cow and goat dairy like cheese, yoghurt, milk.  It is known to cause more phlegm and mucus in our body.
  • Eat 8 servings (a small fist/serving) of fruits, especially berries and vegetables like dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower)
  • Use food as medicine and eat lots of onions, garlic and ginger to benefit from their anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory
  • Eat high quality protein (fish, lean meats) and fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado)

2. Get enough Sleep

It’s easy to extend the summer fun and push for late night social events or watch one too many TV series.  Instead, give yourself more time to sleep by going to bed early, and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep. 

Our body fights inflammation better with melatonin from our body during our sleep, and we make better at repairing our body with protein and cells when we have enough sleep.

3. Use a Nasal Saline Rinse daily

Using a nasal rinse using saline can help reduce respiratory infections significantly.  You can use a neti pot, my favorite is the Neil Med Sinus Rinse Bottle that you can get in major pharmacies.  And use the pre-packaged pH balanced saline packets so it’s soothing to the nasal cavities.

4. Take these 3 vitamins every day

  • Vitamin C –
    • Study shows cold symptoms decrease by 13% with taking 1 gram daily of Vitamin C for prevention.
    • Take 500mg buffered ascorbic acid twice a day, or 1000mg daily.
  • Vitamin D –
    • Vitamin D is essential fat soluble vitamin that acts like a hormone in our body, important for immune functioning, decreasing inflammation, control of cell growth.
    • Get 10 -15 minutes of mid-day sun exposure to your skin (Adjust base on your location and how close you are to the equator and also the time of year. )
    • Take 2000 IU (international units) per day
  • Zinc –
    • Zinc is an essential mineral for keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes and creating DNA.  If you take it daily for up to 5 months, zinc reduces chances of you getting a viral infection such as colds.
    • Food sources of proteins includes oysters, crabs, nuts, spinach, seeds: sesame, pumpkin, sunflowers, chia and flaxseeds, dark chocolate, and mushrooms.
    • Take 25mg per day.

 

Brown R, Pang G, Husband AJ, King MG. Suppression of immunity to influenza virus infection in the respiratory tract following sleep disturbance. Reg Immunol. 1989;2:321–325

Pratter MR. Cough and the common cold: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2006;129(1 suppl):72S-74S.

Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(2):CD001364

Slapak I, Skoupá J, Strnad P, Horník P. Efficacy of isotonic nasal wash (seawater) in the treatment and prevention of rhinitis in children. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 20 08 ;134 (1) : 67-74.

 

 

 

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.

Golden Milk: A recipe for healing inflammation

IMG_0636

Turmeric has been used for many years to fight depression, aches and pains, inflammation, degenerative brain disorders, heart disease, and preventing cancer, and common colds.  

You can make it with dairy free milk.  It is important to cook in an oil in order to release the medicinal benefits of turmeric.  To get the full anti-inflammatory benefits, drink it  first thing in the morning and before bed, and avoid eating for another 30 minutes after.  This recipe allows you to make your Golden Milk in batches.

Prep Time: 5 minutes             Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for the Golden paste:

  • ½ cup of turmeric powder
  • 1 cup of water

Directions for the Golden paste:

  1. Cook the ingredients at low – medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, until it has a “toothpaste” consistency. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Ingredients for the Golden milk:

  • 1 tablespoon of golden paste
  • 2 cups of dairy free milk  made from coconut, almond, soy, rice, hemp
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • optional: pinch of cinnamon, or 1 tsp of honey

Directions for the Golden Milk:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of Golden paste with the milk, oil, blackpepper and optional sweetener.
  2. Heat in small pot SLOWLY while stirring until well.
  3. Ready to serve.