bach flowerThe Bach Flower Essences are a great tool for self improvement.  Dr. Richard Bach (1886-1936), a British doctor, devoted the latter part of his life to discovering and cultivating  the hidden healing properties within the trees and flowers.  The Bach flower essences can be an aid in a range of emotional issues such as  indecision, irrational fear and anxiety.  There are a multitude of Bach flower essences-38 in all.  The Bach flower essences are not meant as a substitute for medical attention or true chronic depression and anxiety disorders.  For acute or chronic issues  seek professional medical advise.  The Bach flower essences are, however, an excellent tool for someone in need of a shift in life.  I have heard them affectionately called, “Psychotherapy in a bottle.”  If one is tired of a particular pattern of behavior they find themselves doing and wants to change it, the Bach flower essences are an excellent tool.

For example, when I was in my early to mid twenties I found that whenever I had a decision to make I would consult several key friends and family members on what they would do.  While some advice is helpful it can often leave one feeling back to where they were in the first place.  All the input in the world really won’t change the final decision which in the end I found usually comes from within.  I tried the essence of Cerato, which is useful if someone does not have confidence in their own decisions.  For me at that time it came from (I believe) a fear of making a mistake or of trying to make the “right” decision.  While I’m all for research, at times opinions can really be just that-opinions.  The only truth is within especially on matters of our own choice.  I can honestly say that I did have a major shift in my ability to handle decisions and finally achieve the autonomy I needed.  This website is an extension of that principle in that I hope it helps people to tune into themselves through sensibility.

 

The Bach flower essences fall under the category of vibrational energy or vibrational medicine.  This is exactly what it sounds like.  Imagine what it feels like to sit near a tree or hold a flower in your hand.  There is a connectedness and a grace about their two energies.  They give off a certain vibration.  When one uses the Bach flower essences one is literally ingesting that essence into their being.  Sounds quite powerful and it is.  Trees and flowers have the dualistic properties of having roots reaching downward, connecting to the earth and the branches and petals reaching upward in search of sunlight and nourishment and as a catalyst for photosynthesis.  In yoga practice as in Tai qi and Qi gong practices it is these images in nature one is often striving for.  We need our connectedness as well as our ascendant qualities to thrive.  Dr. Bach understood this and as a result we now have his remedies.

Another interesting way of understanding how the Bach flower essences work is by  looking at a principle in homeopathy that is known as, “like cures like.”  If, for example, a person feels very weepy they would try the essence of weeping willow.  Another example is the Holly essence for anger issues.  The Holly leaf is very spiky as an angry or disgruntle person can appear.  I have heard of the Holly Essence being successfully used with angry teenagers.

Use of the Bach flower essences requires some self reflection.  There is an excellent remedy finder quiz on the official site that can help with this.  A word of warning is that one often feels they need most of them.  I never tell anyone to ingest anything but I know from my own experience that I have used many of them at different points in my life and they have been extremely helpful.  The Bach flower essences are in a base of alcohol if that is of any concern.

Below is an excerpt from an article by Don Hanson CPDT, BFRP, CDBC that illustrates how useful anecdotal evidence can be.

Because it is not based upon statistical research and the scientific method, anecdotal evidence is often dismissed by the scientific community, yet the following is a prime example of the role and importance that it plays. As early as the 1700’s, sailors were fed limes as a way of preventing scurvy. This practice was based strictly on anecdotal evidence. It wasn’t until 1932 and the discovery of vitamin C that the scientific method was able to prove why limes and other citrus fruits helped prevent and cure scurvy. Fortunately, no one stopped sailors from eating limes because scientists had not completed a study demonstrating that eating limes cures scurvy. Anecdotal evidence is often the first step in the discovery of new methods and ways of thinking.

 

Spine curveHow many times have you thought…I wish I had better posture? Maybe at one time you did have good posture, but with years of being slumped over a computer, gravity has pulled you forward. Maybe you noticed your reflection accidentally and gasped ” What happened to me!”…Or like me you may have suffered from scoliosis since birth and always had difficulty feeling comfortable and aligned. We feel guarded and are protecting our hearts when we roll our shoulders forward. Life’s trials and tribulations understandably can do this to all of us. This makes us give-in to low self-esteem, leading our physicality to display any anxiousness we may feel inside.

Well, after many years of searching I can honestly say I have solved a good deal of my discomfort and found ways to sort out my posture. I’d like to share with you one simple seated technique you can do in a chair that will help. You can practice this even at work-no one has to know what you’re up to!

Good posture should feel Good! Not stiff or uncomfortable. Dismiss the saying you may have heard in grade school: “SIT UP STRAIGHT!.” It is incorrect. The truth is the spine has curves (Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Sacral) Therefore, it only makes sense that we should align our posture in accordance with those curves.

Here’s the technique, which I call seated posture with coccyx bones pointed backward. (catchy title-I know). If you have Lordosis (sway back) posture this may not be the most effective technique for you. Feel your coccyx bones on the chair-they are the two bony parts under your bum! Most of us will sit on them pointing forward. Try arching your lower back a bit and have your coccyx bones pointing diagonally towards the back. Now feel how your spine stacks itself up on top of itself. Do you feel how your neck is in a better position? Try the old way with the coccyx pointing forward-you feel how your whole torso collapses onto itself and your neck jets forward? It is also more difficult to breath. Now try the new way-pointing those bones towards the back. There should not be too exaggerated of an arch of the spine. Feel your muscles support the spine. Now gently raise your chest up about an inch. This is referred to as “Heart to the sky.” Try it. Lift your heart to the sky. Now your chest is open and you have a better ability to breath. This position also feels great for the spirit! Gently look up to the ceiling, move your neck around a bit. This looking up will counterbalance constantly looking down.

Try this discretely next time you are in a meeting or an interview- you will feel so grounded and present because you are! It is very pleasant to be around someone in this state and you will probably get the job or the loan because you are solidly in your body not pretending to be confident. To pretend confidence is generally a turn off and a sure sign that you’re not secure. True confidence is presence and awareness-ability to roll with the punches/take what comes your way with dignity.

The position should feel relaxed and natural. This will probably happen more as you get used to it. Eventually you will be able to use it in standing and than in walking. Remember, Heart to the sky (and feet on the ground).  Most importantly, this technique can greatly improve your posture.

 

Most of us feel overwhelmed and overtired during the holiday season.  It can be a pressurized time with work deadlines, social obligations and family dynamics.  A key at this time is to prioritize and to simplify.

Remember your mental and physical well being are always the priority.  Without these you cannot meet those deadlines at work efficiently, enjoy the holiday festivities or any family responsibilities.

A sensible approach is to simplify.  Maybe you just can’t make every party. After all, it is a spiritual time as well, so make some time for yourself-it’s Ok to withdraw and enjoy the quietness this season has to offer. A walk in the park or a get together over a cup of coffee may be better for your sanity than a day at the mall.

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loosing pregnancy weight

In western culture, there is pressure and also a desire to lose pregnancy weight as fast as possible. It often seems that a woman is somehow more noble and has it all together if she can manage to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight in a month or so! Some women do and that’s good, but there are so many factors to consider such as nursing, hormones, metabolism, diet, exercise…etc. Whether delivery was a c-section or vaginal is also considered to be an important variable. I’m not suggesting that one should not try to lose the pregnancy weight-I just think we should be very patient and kind to ourselves, our bodies and our self-esteem-they have just been through A LOT! The fat gives us energy we need to breastfeed and care for our babies. We burn 500 calories a day in order to produce milk.

We see magazines with movie stars who’ve lost their weight in a miraculously short time period and hold that up as our standard. Let’s remember that most of them have personal trainers, nannies and a personal chef to cook their diet. Also, they are in an intensely competitive field and there livelihood depends a great deal on their image. So in a way they DO have that pressure to live up to.

Our bodies are our babies environment too even after birth. Imagine your baby holding on to you-which they love to do as often as possible! Doesn’t it seem to be the way nature intended that we should be soft and fleshy so our babies feel comfortable adjusting into this new environment/world? Try pinching your belly and lovingly consider it your “scoochieness” for them for a while!” My brother said something very kind to me at this stage when I was fretting about losing the weight. He said, “You have the rest of your life to lose the weight just enjoy this time with your baby.” His point really struck a true note for me. It is such a special, brief moment in our lives when they are so small and so dependent on us, so why waste a second condemning ourselves for not being thin!

I did walk regularly and used a Pilates videos almost every day when I felt up to it.  Sarah Picot’s video, Postnatal Pilates is excellent and only around 25 minutes long.  She promotes interaction with your baby as you are exercising.   I think I developed stronger “core” muscles than before I was pregnant. My arms and legs have gotten stronger from carrying my baby often. Muscle weighs more than fat so don’t trust the scale. Going by the way your clothes are fitting is a more accurate measure. Of course if you have a medical condition follow your doctor’s advice on weight management. Cardiovascular exercise is a key component to weight loss-try investing in a treadmill, elliptical machine or  a stationary bicycle for your home. Use them as a temporary alternative to the gym since it can be challenging to find the time to get back there!  You can also put on some favorite music and gently dance with your baby.

Remember, most people are focused on your baby now and if you are into baby wearing like I am, those carriers do wonders for hiding that post pregnancy ponch!  Furthermore, wearing your baby has many other physical and psychological benefits.  To read about all the “Attachment Parenting” Rewards (see Dr. Sears website). There are many different carriers available.  My husband and I use the Ergobaby and absolutely love it.

My point is to encourage women to not be so hard on themselves especially at a time when they deserve all the patience and compassion they are giving to their baby or babies. It is a healthy pattern to begin now to model for them a good sense of self-esteem. How we treat ourselves shows them how to treat themselves in the future. Try giving yourself the same compassion and you will probably not even notice the weight coming off. Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Weight Watchers is an amazing organization to help with sensible weight loss after pregnancy and can help set up great habits for your whole life as well as that of your children.

I am still about five pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and I am gently conscious of it falling off.  Being a nursing mother of an eight month old and an active member of La Leche League, I know I need the extra cushion for energy to generate milk production. There is a saying that “it takes nine months to put on—it can take nine months to take off.” So I feel I’m on track. That saying really helped me be patient and realistic.

So, remember what a truly beautiful time this is and keep your focus on health and balance for you and your whole family. I heard the Dalai Llama speak once and he said “the better you take care of yourself, the better you will take care of others.” What a perfect quote for motherhood.