This post was originally published on the Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness blog. I was looking though the archives and decided to pull this one down and blow the dust off, since it is so seasonally appropriate. Although my kids are older and the costumes have changed (this year a witch and a ninja) the sentiment remains the same. Enjoy!
As a yoga instructor I am constantly searching for inspiration, to share with my students and myself. Although I strive to find the deeper truths within ancient yoga texts and hip yoga media (yes it does exist), I often find that the most powerful inspiration comes from my connections to other people.
My most recent inspiration came from (of all things!) Halloween. While I usually approach this holiday with what I admit is a bit of disdain for the candy, the commercialism, the marketing to kids, THE CANDY, I was taken aback by the unexpected joy that I was confronted with. Let me clarify.
My kids were bursting out of their alien and white droid seams with joy. Pure, unadulterated, joy. First to dress up, then to play their respective roles, to see their friends all dressed up, and then of course for the candy. While I’m sure sugar played a role in all of this joy, there is a real ability of kids to take delight in something so simple. It’s powerful. It’s like they have this key to access and express joy when it strikes them.
We as adults are often so much more closed and protected. We hide or fail to recognize experiences that could be joyful simply because we have fears. While this has many personal manifestations in our relationships, physical effects often translate to chest tightness, heartburn, even asthma. Part of yoga is learning to access those places of joy and open up to our own experiences.
So tonight I advised my students to be open to experience their joy. As John Friend, founder of the Anusara Yoga movement states, “Look for the good vs. what is wrong” both in class and off the mat. Throughout the class, I noticed my students that usually push to the extreme soften and internalize their practice, and those who are already gentler with themselves hone in on specific postures that they struggle with.
I think we can all challenge ourselves to be more open to joy. Whether you practice yoga or not, each of us can take the time to appreciate ourselves. Simple acknowledgment and gratitude for everything that makes us, well…..us (yes even those parts that we may not be completely satisfied with). We can only truly experience joy for others when we have seen the good in ourselves.
I’m sure I will continue the struggle with being open to my own joy; good luck in striving to be open to yours.
Kristin Henningsen, M.S., C.H., R.Y.T.
It's that time again.
Although it still feel like summer here in the South, the return of school and enclosed spaces has led to the return of coughs, colds, and the dreaded stomach bugs. It didn't take long for the latter to find our house!
Lack of sleep and loads of laundry aside, when your little one is feeling sick, you can feel so helpless. Holding back hair, and murmuring comforting words just doesn't feel like enough sometimes. So we do what we can, and hope it helps to ease some of our loves suffering.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I pull out for these dreaded nights and the following days of recovery. Hopefully you won't need them! But just in case, here ya go:
1. We start with Lavender. When you or your little one is feeling nauseous, lavender is a great way to calm the stomach while at the same time disinfect the area. I make a Lavender Spray, and spritz generously. It also helps ease tension, worries, and assists in falling asleep.
8 oz. Water
1 tsp. With Hazel
10-25 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
Mix thoroughly and place in a clean spray bottle. Shake before each use.
2. Once the stomach has calmed a little we move onto teas. It is important to use only clear liquids until vomiting has stopped for 6 hours. Slippery Elm Bark and Chamomile work great. Slippery elm bark is very nutritive and soothing for the stomach and the esophagus. Chamomile is an antispasmodic, that will calm and warm the stomach to relieve nausea. Make a weak tea, and give in teaspoon doses. Add honey to taste. Feel free to add herbs like peppermint, catnip, ginger, cinnamon, and lemon balm according to taste preference.
3. Last but not least, comes the broth. There are many kinds of clear broth out there on the market. I recommend using a home-made vegetable broth, but if you don't have one on hand (which most of us don't when we most need it!), find a low-sodium healthy veggie broth. You want to be able to dilute it if necessary. Start slowly, to avoid overloading the stomach. Below is a great broth recipe, from Mary Bove's Enclyclopedia of Natural Healing:
1/2 inch outer peelings, including skins, of 3 potatoes
Bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
3 scrubbed, unpeeled carrots, cut into rounds
Handful of greens, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
Other leafy greens & herbs desired
2 Quarts water
Wash and prepare veggies. Simmer in water in large covered pot, 30-40 minutes. Strain. Excess broth my be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
We hope your family stays healthy and happy over the coming Fall and Winter months! To help support you in this, we've put a large selection of our teas and tinctures on sale here.
Work preventatively, and stay healthy!
I am constantly amazed by the healing power of yoga and herbs. They inspire me to heal, to write, to teach, and to keep exploring.