Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Hakini Mudra for Focus

The Hakini Mudra

          Written by Little Flower


Distractions are present everywhere, everyday. 

At home, at work, at the gym, in our pocket and in our minds. 

How do we regain focus and control when this world becomes chaotic with interfering distractions? 

The Hakini Mudra is one answer.


How to:

Touch the corresponding fingertips of the left to the right. Fingers straight, but relaxed. Fingers spaced out. Now, as we go into meditation together, feel where your fingertips meet and the space created between your palms. Take a deep breath in... and let it go. Repeat this deep breathe several times until relaxation sets in.

 

According to Gertrud Hirschi in "Mudras - Yoga in your Hands," this finger position brings the two hemispheres of the brain together as the two hands are brought together. It also increases, improves and deepens respiration - flooding the brain with oxygen to improve functioning.

 

When I have troubles focusing on meditation - due to all of those distractions - this mudra helps to gently bring my focus back to the practice. It has been extremely powerful.

 

Give it a try! (:

 

Namaste.

What is Stress and How do Modern Societalists Cause their own Stress Responses?

Stress is manifested through perceptions, knowledge or lack thereof, and external environmental causes in Modern Society.

                                                            Written by N. Rae Clark, Community Healthcare Educator

 

 Prior to modernization acculturation shifts stressors in comparison were ones of encountering predators, contagious diseases, and hunger. Specifically, the stress mechanisms were designed to adjust our physiology to respond to the stressor or as the author refers to this way as a response to a “short-term crisis” (Sapolsky, 2004) (pgs. 2, 6).The time-frame and ability to project thought into anticipation of the future events in the human contrasts with the stress-response of the Zebra to go from one moment of homeostasis to the awareness of the need to generate a hormonal sequence of events to generate movement to safety (Sapolsky, 2004) (pgs. 6, 7). 


Sapolsky states that the “stress-related disease emerges” as a result that the human activates a physiological response in their systems that originated as a response mechanism to protect continuity of the life force within the human due to an acute or crisis situation (Sapolsky, 2004)(pg. 6). Thus the repetitive behavior of the Modern Societalist triggers the hormone cascade at the manifestation of the human being’s “worry” or overwhelming focus and generates a chronic response presenting itself as dis-ease and can eventually lead to system failures as a result of their internal thought process.

Homeostatic balance is defined as an optimal level of the varying mechanisms within the body and their responses to keep an ideal operating system to maintain the life force (Sapolsky, 2004) (pg. 6). A stressor is defined as any external influence that causes an imbalance of the beings homeostatic (optimal balance) maintenance (Sapolsky, 2004) (pg 6). The stress response is the mechanism by which the body works to return to a state of balance (homeostasis) (Sapolsky, 2004) (pg 6).

 

The projection of expectation known as anticipation is related to stress. This is what is experienced by Modern Societalists when they “overthink.” In other words, when someone believes a stressful outcome might exist they dwell (spend their time in contemplation) sending the energy of their projected negative response into their physiology, the human body responds to the negative surge of hormones released from the endocrine organs such as the adrenals (cortisol, endorphins) as though the situation was occurring in that present moment (Sapolsky, 2004)(pg. 9).

The body adapts to an acute stressor by redirecting the energy of the homeostatic bodily processes through the endocrine system, and halts or inhibits the immune system (Sapolsky, 2004)(pg. 8). Sapolsky states on page 13 of “Why Don’t Zebra’s Get Ulcers?” that the stress-response is more damaging than the stressor itself (Sapolsky, 2004).

 

To learn how to relax and restore the body breathing practices (pranayama, ni, ni'lchi) and yoga (body movements) are important in addition to a spiritual practice of prayer and meditation.


Procrastination by Unity

Procrastination

Written by Unity 

 

            Procrastination is resistance to something that one has to do.  Procrastination is self-defeating and can be a result/cause of low self-efficacy and self-esteem.   When someone is in a consistent state of procrastination they are in a state of resistance to life.   Procrastination leads to unnecessary stress.  When we procrastinate, we are putting more pressure on ourselves.  Life can catch up with you pretty quick and soon enough you are having to procrastinate on the next thing that comes your way before completing last week's procrastination.  The habit and thought pattern of procrastination is a direct manifestation of following and becoming a slave to egoic desires.

 

            When we procrastinate, we are toeing the line of respect and character.  Setting ourself up for failure.  The quality of work is poor because it is completed from a place of stress.  It is not given the proper amount of time necessary to do with integrity.  Procrastination is playing with fire; linear man made time.  It is binds you and makes you a slave to deadlines and the clock.  A farmer who procrastinates is not a good farmer.  He is putting himself before the food he is depended upon to produce.  When you are depended upon by your family and community you cannot procrastinate.  You lose respect. You lose character.   

 

            When you take things as they come you free yourself from the self-inflicted wounds that are a result of procrastinating.  By dealing with your life and what arises directly and promptly you are showing that you are response-able.  This is mindfulness.  Being totally in the present moment, accepting what is happening and dealing with it.   You are able to respond to what comes your way.  Thoughts, emotions, desires, responsibilities. 

 

            Through acceptance of what we need to do, whether pleasant or not, we can overcome the habit of procrastination.  There is always a choice in how we respond to our responsibilities.  Our attitude towards what we are doing (or procrastinating doing) and the environment.  We can approach it with resistance and fear or we can approach it with acceptance and love.  Love lies in our actions.  Love is expressing yourself when needed.

           

            By practicing mindfulness you are showing up to your precious life and your community.  Responsibility, discipline, honesty are ways of showing respect to the community you live in and the world around you.  Without them there is no respect for life including your own.  Procrastination can be overcome by being proactive with your life.  Not waiting for things to come to you or deadlines, but rather seeing things before they come and choosing to deal with them with acceptance.  Taking action when it needs to be done as opposed to when it absolutely has to be done.  Understanding who you are and who you aspire to be helps to organize and prioritize your life to the point where procrastination does not exist.  This is freedom and a deep joy comes from action instead of stress.  We can calmly deal with what arises because we are freed from the stress of procrastination.  Training yourself into a consistent, responsible, proactive person shows love and respect for your community.  Life on Earth is facing a major crisis.  Life needs our attention.  We do not have time to procr

Friday, June 24, 2016

Servitude-Volunteering for the Lakota Healing Way Center's Father's Day Fundraiser



Respect. Service. Gratitude.  All beings deserve to be loved and served.  To love and serve others is to love and serve Creator; God.  Elders, teachers, and children deserve special respect.  An elder's spirit and a child's joyful dance are profound teachings.  It is an honor to be in the presence of an elder.  It is a blessing to listen to their heart and wisdom.  My body and mind are healthy.  It is my responsibility to care for elders and those who not in perfect health.  I am committed to putting the needs of others before my own. 


I am blessed to have been introduced to Native ways and wisdom.  I do not take this lightly.  I feel a deep responsibility to the land and the people of this land.  I am humbled by this space and sense of place.  I have much to learn and much to give.  I come in respect, in service, and in gratitude.  


Unity


Unity is a member of the Sferrazza family and has an older sister who teaches yoga.

A Sophomore at MSU Denver, he has chosen a journey to discover his own unique ability to help others. 



http://www.lakotawayhealingcenter.org

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Connection of Eagle and Lion


by Little Flower

These two poses represent powerful animals that contain gentleness and intensity. The two different characteristics bleed into one another - as the majestic dive of the eagle or graceful pounce of the lion is the precursor to death. 

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) - Power, Freedom, Transcendence
Simhasana // Simhagarjanasana (Lion Pose) - Strength, Courage, Leadership


The Flow

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) : Feet together, palms facing thighs, head to the heavens and feet stabilizing us on the ground; variations: hand to heart center, hands above head, hands above head and up onto toes (palm tree pose)
-Garudasana (Eagle Pose) : Start standing, choose focal point, bend right leg and place on top of left, wrap right foot around the calf (gastrocnemius) muscle. Cross elbows in front of chest, right elbow on top, left elbow underneath. Try to bring palms together. Fingertips may only barely touch the palm. Be aware of one's own limits. May not have the hip or shoulder flexibility for this pose. Can put other joints at risk (like knees). 
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose) : Slowly come out of Garudasana by uncrossing arms, then legs. Bring hands to sides. Inhale arms to sky. Exhale arms to heart center (Anahata chakra). 
Garudasana (Eagle Pose) : Other side. Left leg over right and wrap around right calf. Cross left elbow over right. Right elbow underneath. Bring palms together. 
Tadasana (Mountain Pose) : Hands to heart center
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) : Using the heart to guide, keeping back straight, forward bend. Place handing on shins, feet, or floor. Let the head hand loose and keep the knees slightly bent. 
Ashwa Sanchalanasana : Bring the right leg as far back as comfortable. Place hands on either side of front leg. Lunge to stretch right hip flexor. Variation: hands to heart center or hands above head in prayer. 
Majari-asana (Cat Stretch)  : Hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Inhale - expand abdomen and bring belly button to floor. tailbone and head towards the sky. Pause between breaths and hold about 3 seconds. Exhale - round the back, push belly button towards the spinal column, tailbone and head towards the ground. Repeat with the breath at own pace for three rounds. 
Ashwa Sanchalanasana : Bring right leg forward to stretch left hip flexor. Variation: hands to heart center or hands above head in prayer. 
-Majari-asana (Cat Stretch)  : Hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Inhale - expand abdomen and bring belly button to floor. tailbone and head towards the sky. Pause between breaths and hold about 3 seconds. Exhale - round the back, push belly button towards the spinal column, tailbone and head towards the ground. Repeat with the breath at own pace for three rounds.
Simhasana // Simhagarjanasana (Lion Pose) : Eyes wide open, looking at eyebrow center. At end of inhale, tongue to chin. Exhale, "Aaa" noise. Do not strain or force noise. 5-10 rounds.
Balasana (Child's Pose) : Legs together, butt to heels, forehead to the ground or rest on hands if cannot reach. Arms to sides, back of hands on ground or stretched out front.
 

Dandelions, Dandelions Here and There. Medicine, Medicine Everywhere

by Little Flower

As I strolled down the lane labeled for pedestrians only, I scanned with a gentle gaze at all the plants surrounding the path and the river. Left, Right, Up, Down - four directions - and I noticed all the little yellow dots scattering the landscape. Every here and there, white fluff balls joined the blossoms. I looked up on the the edge of the wall walking alongside me. 
"Why, hello there. How did you get all the way up here?" The bundle of dandelions were thriving, being some of the biggest leaved I had seen all afternoon. I could not help but smile from ear to ear - the most resilient dandelion I had met. That is saying a lot for how high dandelions are on the kill list - probably second after thistles. 
I thanked Mr. Taraxacum officinale for his lesson and his gift; A gift that is not well known. The gift of medicine. 

Historically, the dandelion has been used medicinally by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Native medicine of the Americas, Arabian medicine, and European medicine. In TCM, it was used for breast, uterine, and lung tumors, hepatitis, and digestive diseases. The natives used it for kidney disease, dyspepsia, and heartburn. For the liver and spleen, the Arabians used. And the Europeans used Dandelion for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

After a review of many scientific studies, I have found that all parts of the dandelion - root, leaf, and flower - are medicinal.

Typically, the root is for - ; the leaf for - ; the flower for -.

Dandelion root extract (DRE) was shown by P. Ovadje et al in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology to induce apoptosis in human leukemia cells. This presents a non-toxic option and opportunity for cancer treatment.

Doctor Ovadje really liked his or her or their cancer research. In Pancreas, volume 41(7), published in October of 2012, DRE induced apoptosis and autophagy in human pancreatic cancer cells with no significant affect on non-cancerous cells. It was also shown to induce apoptosis in chemoresistant melanoma, once again without toxicity to healthy cells.

In the International Journal of Oncology, Sigstedt et al showed that [only] dandelion leaf decreased the growth of breast cancer cells. The decrease was by 40% after a 96 hour treatment. However, the root was not useless - it was discovered to "block" the invasion of prostate cancer cells.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Yoga During Pregnancy

Yoga can be very beneficial for pregnant women — it helps you breathe and relax, which in turn can help you adjust to the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood. It calms both mind and body, providing the physical and emotional stress relief your body needs throughout the experience of pregnancy. Taking a prenatal yoga class is also a great way to meet other moms-to-be and embark on this journey together.
You do need to take a few precautions, though:  check with your midwife before you begin any program.
* If you're attending a regular yoga class (one not specifically geared to pregnant women), be sure to tell the instructor you're pregnant, and which trimester you're in.  There are specific poses pregnant women should avoid, and they need to be aware so they can modify poses for you.
* Don't do any asanas (poses) on your back after the first trimester — it can reduce blood flow to the uterus.
* Avoid poses that stretch the abdominals too muchYou're more at risk for strains, pulls, and other injuries right now because the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which allows the uterus to expand, also softens connective tissue.  Also, round ligament pain is more frequent during the second trimester.  You may begin to feel pain in your side as the ligament that goes from the top of the uterus down to the groin stretches, this happens when the uterus tilts and pulls on the muscle.    Side lying stretches can help alleviate this.  
* From the second trimester on — when your center of gravity really starts to shift — do any standing poses with your heel to the wall or use a chair for support, to avoid losing your balance and risking injury to yourself or your baby.
* When bending forward, hinge from the hips, leading with the breastbone and extending the spine from the crown of the head down to the tailbone. This allows more space for the ribs to move, which makes breathing easier.
* Keep the pelvis in a neutral position during poses by engaging the abdominals and slightly tucking the tailbone down and in. This helps relax the muscles of your buttocks (your gluteus) and the hip flexors, which can help reduce or prevent sciatic pain down the back of the leg, a common side effect of pregnancy. It also helps prevent injury to the connective tissue that stabilizes your pelvis.
* If you're bending forward while seated, place a towel or yoga strap behind your feet and hold both ends. Bend from the hips and lift the chest, to avoid compressing your abdomen. If your belly is too big for this movement, try placing a rolled-up towel under your buttocks to elevate the body, and open the legs about hip-width apart, to give your belly more room to come forward.

* When practicing twisting poses, twist more from the shoulders and back than from the waist, to avoid putting any pressure on your abdomen. Go only so far in the twist as feels comfortable — deep twists are not advisable in pregnancy.  
* Listen carefully to your body. If you feel any discomfort, stop. You will probably need to modify each pose as your body changes. A good instructor can help you customize your yoga to suit the stage of pregnancy you're in.

Written by Ashley Turner Morrow

  

Sources
http://www.babycenter.com/404_is-it-safe-to-do-yoga-during-pregnancy_5699.bc
http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/aches-pains/pelvic-pain-pregnancy/