How much time did you spend outside today?
According to a recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the average American spends a mere 7% of their life outdoors. Broken down, that’s only only one half of one day per week spent outdoors!
Shocking I know!
Thankfully researchers have found that both mood and self-esteem are improved when spending as little as five minutes moving outdoors (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, 44, 10, 3947–3955).
So take the time to consciously reconnect with the natural world we live in. Here are a few practices that can help you start this mindful practice today.
-Do a nature meditation. Finding yourself a comfortable spot by the foot of a tree or basking in warm sunlight, take slow deep breaths as you bring your attention to your surroundings. Be receptive and inviting to all that is happening around you. Become aware that you are a part of this living, breathing ecosystem.
-Walk barefoot outside. Walking without shoes and with awareness can be a profound experience. Let your feet sink into connecting with the earth (whether it's the sand, grass or even the pavement) and pay attention to how it feels in each foot.
-Meditate on the sound of water. Closing your eyes or maintaining a softened gaze connect with your breath and allow your attention to focus on the sound of water. Studies have shown that the presence of water has an even bigger effect on your mental health, so South Floridians take advantage of this one and visit your local beach this weekend!
-Hike with your hands. Similar to walking barefoot, this is another way to incorporate the sense of touch during a mindful walk. Rub your fingers, hands, even your arms over the bark of a nearby tree, the moss on a rock, the earth and/or the sand underneath. Perhaps you are able to gather a fragrant leaf or flower into you hands and inhale the fragrances.
Here at Om'echaye Wellness and Fitness Center we are excited to offer a new Outdoor Vinyasa class (weather permitted) to help you deepen your connectedness with nature as you improve your mental health because part of our goal here is we want you to be able to become the best version of yourself and we believe that together we can achieve great things!
Anxiety can be relieved and the symptoms of stress managed with acupuncture. Acupuncture creates a gentle shift in the central nervous system. Acupuncture encourages endogenous opioid peptide synthesis in the nervous system. “Manual acupuncture stimulates the release of home-made opioids, enhances their content, and regulates the expression and function of their receptors” (Acupuncture Induced Activation of the Endogenous Opioid System). These homemade, or endogenous, opioids can help lift the mood and change sensations of pain. Your body can then shift from it’s held tight state that is ready to fight or take flight, and relax into a rest and digest state.
Acupuncture encourages the body to up-regulate production of endorphins, serotonin, and enkephalins. “Endorphins” are a class of peptides, small amino acid chains, in this case with opioid like activity. What does that mean? An endorphin release can cause anything from a general sense of wellbeing to a euphoric sensation. Physical or emotional challenge can bring an endorphin release, as can acupuncture.
Treatment with acupuncture can not only bring endorphin release, it can also moderate the central nervous system. The body likes to achieve homeostasis and acupuncture helps it find a homeostatic shift. A new state of balance is achieved. Over time with consistent treatment the body finds a new homeostasis with the body being less inflamed, less irritated, and in less pain (emotional or physical).
What is Five Element Acupuncture?
Five Element Acupuncture treats the individual, as they would be seen in a balanced state of health. When the elements are in balance and the energy, or qi, flows smoothly there is health. Five Element Acupuncture concentrates on the Constitutional Factor, the element that most resonates with the individual. Five Element Acupuncture treats both root and branch symptomatology. The root is considered the initial cause of the imbalance while the branch is the manifestation of the imbalance on the physical, mental, or spirit level.
What Is Your Element?
Fire Element: The chief emotion is Joy. In pathology this can look like anxiety, in a state of health it is propriety. The fire element is in charge of presence in the moment and connectedness. When this is in health we are able to connect in a healthy way in relationships with ourselves and others. Joy, laughter, and presence belong to the fire element.
Earth Element: The chief emotion is sympathy. In health the earth element is able to give and receive proper nourishment to self and others. The Earth element is thoughtful and empathic in a way that is not detrimental to itself. Stable and healthy earth is grounded and able to care for itself and those who may need it.
Metal Element: The chief emotion is grief. The ability to properly grieve, let go, allows fresh energy to circulate. Metal elements seek value and essence. A healthy metal is able to exhale (let go) and inhale (take in) on the physical, mental, and spirit level. Emotions appropriately come and go, value on the worth within is sought after versus placing excessive value on material attachment.
Water Element: The chief emotion is fear. The water element is about willpower and the resources and energy over a long term to accomplish deep seated goals. In health water is captivated and calmly utilized with wisdom to accomplish that which we set out to do. It is flexible when presented with obstacles and patient. Healthy water uses it's energy and reserves thoughtfully, and allows time for replenishment.
Wood Element: The chief emotion is anger. The wood element is in charge of creative vision and planning. In health it is flexible and anger is tempered with forgiveness, and benevolence. Healthy wood effectively and efficiently plans. In community this allows for creativity and planning for the good of others, with out looking to pursue one's own personal growth regardless of those around.
When Elements are in balance the tend more toward their virtue side rather than their imbalanced emotion side. Excessive joy of fire leads to propriety and presence. Overly sympathetic and those lacking sympathy for others tend toward empathy in balance. The grief of metal allows for appropriate emotion and it's process with the ability to move onward. The fear of water becomes wisdom in decision making and where to apply willpower.
By Michelle Mansueto
Poor digestion can do more than give you a stomach ache or excessive gas; poor digestion can also interfere with the ability of your body to breakdown, absorb or metabolize nutrients from the foods you eat. One of the long term consequence of faulty digestion includes nutritional deficiencies; because when a person is less able to fully digest food because of an underlying digestive problem, they may be at risk of poor nutrition. The digestive system is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients and delivering them to the body’s cells. When this function is impaired, the body may not be getting the nutrients it needs for energy, growth and repair.
This may be due to many causes including abnormalities of the gut wall, an inability to produce digestive enzymes or an imbalance of gut flora. In the case of some long?term digestive conditions, malabsorption of dietary fat, protein, carbohydrates and a wide range of vitamins and minerals can occur. Consequently, what a person eats may not actually be crossing over from the gut into the body.
But not everything is bad news, if you've suffered from bad digestion although diet changes have taken place we have a solution for it: Yoga, as it may sound like a physical activity is far from helping with you digestive system Yoga has more benefits that what we can count, and everyday more advantages are discovered
Our Founder and Yoga Lead Teacher Javier Wilensky has multiple sequences to increase the gastric acid that helps digestion,
1. Virasana (Or Hero Pose): Angle your big toes slightly in toward each other and press the top of each foot evenly on the floor. Exhale and sit back halfway, with your torso leaning slightly forward. Wedge your thumbs into the backs of your knees and draw the skin and flesh of the calf muscles toward the heels. Then sit down between your feet.
2. Sun Salutation: Inhale, straighten your arms, and sweep your chest forward into Up Dog. Keep your legs active, firm your tailbone toward your heels, and press your front thighs upward. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Look straight ahead or look slightly upward.
3. Balasana (Child pose): Kneel on the floor with your knees and feet hip-width apart. Press your hips back towards your heels as far as you can. If there is any discomfort in your knees, keep your hips lifted off your heels.
4. bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) follow by Adho Mukha Svanasana: Place your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows straight back and hug them into your sides, pause for a moment looking straight down at your mat with your neck in a neutral position. Inhale to lift your chest off the floor, Keep your neck neutral. To make a transition to Adho Mukha Svanasana work your legs to stretch and align your spine in a variation of Downward Dog Practice holding your body weight with your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
5. Tadasana: Breathe in and raise your toes gently and try to balance your body on your heels. Stretch your shoulders, arms and chest upwards while your toes bear your body weight. Feel the stretch in your body from the head to the feet. Hold this pose for about 5 to 10 seconds and then gently exhale.
6. Utthita Trikonasana ( Extended Triangle Pose): Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel, Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel and rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders.
Enjoy this video of Javier's full class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdcHq8ncMtA
Although the Ayurvedic diet has specific guidelines for each Dosha (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) , the diet as a whole encourages eating vegetables, fruits, grains and other whole foods.
As these foods are rich in many essential nutrients you'll see a benefit on your health, an Ayurvedic diet will minimizes processed foods, which are often low or absent in fiber and important vitamins and minerals, different studies has shown that eating higher amounts of processed foods may be associated with a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and even death and that's why an Ayurvedic diet can help protect against chronic disease and promote an overall better health.
The human body is a marvelous biological machine that has within itself all the mechanisms for self-healing. Our body is a pharmacy by itself, producing the right amount of acids to aid digestion, strong hormones and chemicals to cheer us up or help us deal with dangerous situations. Our lymphatic system is always working to flush out toxins and invasive agents in order to avoid disease. This infinite intelligence is always working for us effortlessly. However, we must make sure of providing the right fuel for this beautiful engine to work at its best.
Keeping a healthy diet and lifestyle has always been my flag. As I began the year, life gave me the opportunity to live my beliefs firsthand. I was injured accidentally and ended up in a situation where surgery is routinely required above all other options. After discussing my circumstances, doctors gave me the opportunity of following a more conservative, non-surgical approach. During that week in the hospital, besides the medical treatment I received, I practiced meditation, Reiki and self-healing visualizations. Gradually, my body showed improvements day after day until I was able to come back home and work on my full recovery.
Ayurveda has an extensive apothecary (nature’s pharmacy) and in light of my experience, I would like to recommend you 3 essential natural resources that can help you in recovering from injury:
Aloe vera – This powerful cactus is widely use in diet supplements and cosmetics. Its main property is to restore the tissues, both, internal and external. Therefore, it is used to alleviate skin conditions, acidity, digestive disorders and accelerate the scar process.
Turmeric – A natural anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant spice. Modern science has lately shown interest in understanding the many benefits that curcumin (main component in turmeric) provides. Its use is very broad as it helps to detoxify the blood, alleviates a sore throat, aids digestion and helps treat skin conditions.
Lavender – My favorite skin restorative flower. Its essence calms your mind and promotes good sleep. Its essential oil can be applied directly on the skin, working like magic for minor burns and itching.
Add a piece of aloe vera gel to your smoothies, add turmeric to your dishes, and enjoy a lavender tea. Complement your healthy diet with all that nature provides!
We will be offering a new Ayurvedic Program in this much needed time when improving our health should be our top priority and shielding ourselves from excessive stress is a must; this will consist in a 3 month program in which I will be teaching different meal plans for each one of the participants, daily meditations and much more.
Join us, register through our website www.omechaye.com
Namaste, Luz Pellegrino
Other sources: https://www.healthline.com