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The Medicinal and Spiritual Benefits of Frankincense

Frankincense

Frankincense has been and is still used for ceremonial purposes, but did you know that it also has many medicinal and spiritual uses as well? Frankincense is a resin that may be burned as an incense, carried in a mojo bag, applied in a lotion or inhaled as an essential oil.

Spiritual Benefits

  • Helps one to connect to expand their consciousness
  • Cleanses and protects the aura as well as one’s environment
  • Excellent for meditation and or prayer, helping to calm the mind and relax
  • Lifts the spirits from sadness and depression to joy and peace
  • Awakens the spiritual senses

Medicinal Benefits – May Help With

  • Asthma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Treats wounds
  • Good for oral health; teeth and gums
  • Acne
  • Respiratory and lung issues
  • Face creams

I highly suggest researching and testing any herb, oil or remedy before applying, ingesting or inhaling just to be on the safe side to avoid any side effects. I can almost guarantee, once you use this amazing resin, you will want to keep some on hand at all times.

Blessings and Light,
Laurie Barraco

Laurie Barraco

Laurie Barraco

Laurie Barraco is a professional intuitive counselor, medium, author, recording artist, teacher and the owner of The Mystical Moon, a healing center in Fort Myers, Florida. Laurie offers readings, courses and healing products through The Mystical Moon Online Store. You can connect with her at The Mystical Moon Facebook Page.

Click here for articles written by Laurie

 




14 Healthy & Useful Gift Ideas! (#8 Will Surprise You)

Source: Food Matters

Christmas and the Holiday season normally goes one of two ways….

  1. Healthy, happy and inspired! Taking you into 2016 with a fresh vision for yourself (and hopefully for all humanity!), OR
  2. It’s a pig out fest and you’re left wondering how you put on so much weight and feel more frumpy than ever before.

Let’s help you make your journey into 2016 a #1 this year and not a #2 (no reference to toilet jokes here!).

Related Article: 12 Cool & Unique Gifts For The Conscious People In Your Life

Here’s our list of 14 Healthy Christmas gift ideas to help you fill the stockings with goodness, and inspire your family and friends to even greater health and happiness!

Related Article: 10 Priceless And Free Gifts For Parents To Give Their Child

1. Healing Essential Oils

I feel like Aromatherapy was popular in the 80’s, went into decline in the 90’s, and is now all of a sudden making a resurgence under its new guise ‘Essential Oil Therapy’. But the plant extracts (and their infinite intelligence) have always been there. It’s like it has just become awesomely trendy.

2. A New Blender

Blending is like juicing but way more old school! It’s all about retaining the fiber and making those delicious almond butter, banana and protein smoothies or green machines to kick the afternoon slump. Everyone knows how to use one but be careful, it’s a ‘gateway appliance’ and can lead to purchasing a juicer and slow cooker (see below!). Our favorites include the ever popular Nutribullet which we have at home and Vitamix 5200 (pictured above) which we use in the Food Matters office daily!

3. Inspirational Magnets

So maybe you’ve seen some of our documentaries in the last few years and decided to give healthy eating a go, then discovered that it actually works!!! Well now you can stay inspired and keep on track all year long with the Food Matters Inspirational Magnets.  Vibrant images and inspirational quotes help you think twice about your food choices whenever you open the fridge!  Available in the Food Matters store.

4. An Instant Raw Pasta Maker!

Spiralizing veggies (particularly zucchini) is one of the funniest pastimes and a great way to keep kids entertained. It also helps you get more raw, living foods into your diet and get used to the idea of replacing gluten-laden pasta with green goodness!!! Seriously delicious and easy to prepare. Available on Amazon here.

5. An Instant Yoga Tote

Make your walk to your next yoga class easier by using this awesome yoga mat tote, without zippers or velcro and just the handles. Assembles in seconds and doubles as a yoga strap to assist you getting deeper into that pose you love (to hate).

6. A Healthy Recipe Book That Stands Up By Itself!

We’ve got a new recipe book out and, to be honest, I absolutely love it! Being in the food and health space, I’ve read hundreds of health and recipe books (there are some great ones!!!) and I can honestly stand with my hand on my heart and say this is one of my favorites. Now that I’ve finished my shameless self-promotion rant let me avail you of the epic finer details… wait for it… it stands up on your kitchen bench by itself (like every good recipe book should!). Available on Food Matters.

7. Your Own Personal Cold Pressed Juice Bar

One of the most common questions we get here at Food Matters is ‘what juicer should I buy’. My first response is always dust off and use the one you’ve got. But if that’s broken or you’re in the market for the first time then it’s time to go cold pressed! We’ve personally used 10’s of juicers over the past years (doesn’t sound like many, but 100’s would definitely be a stretch despite it sounding way cooler) and the one we use (and have at the office and house and Mum’s house) is the Hurom. These guys are the original inventors of the upright cold pressed slow juicers and you’ll get 20-50% more from your precious fruits and veggies through this machine. You can shop for this juicer on Food Matters.

** Read our Juicer Buying Guide here and learn about the pros and cons of each type of juicer.

8. The Essential Oil Craze Is Here!

A beautiful addition to any home or office, this “best-seller” ranked diffuser fills your space with the healing benefits of essential oils. I don’t yet have one myself, but it’s on my Christmas list and I’m hoping to find one under the tree. Twenty8 Signature Diffuser

9. The New Fast Food (Cooked Slow)

While fast food reigns supreme, slow cooking is thankfully making a resurgence. Make meals in seconds in the morning (well, prepare them in seconds and they cook for hours) and come home to a healthy and delicious meal. It’s the ultimate winter feel-good machine. I’ve used this Cuisinart version before and like the ceramic bowl (as opposed to Teflon, not healthy) but the lid and handles are not oven safe, so keep it in the slow cooker (through experience).

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




Yoga Poses for Sleep

Sometimes, getting to sleep is a process, one that involves a conscious winding down and changing of energy from waking to sleeping. One excellent way to wind down is by doing a few gentle yoga poses for sleep which take any frenetic or awake energy and helps change that to relaxing and sleep energy.

These yoga postures promote grounding, calming, and drawing inward. As with every pose, listen carefully to your body and never stretch beyond what feels comfortable. The goal of these poses is not to become flexible per se, but rather to flip the energy in your muscles from tension, which nags your nervous system and can prevent you from sleep, to a sleep-conducive feeling of ease, lightness, and vitality.

Hold each pose for at least 10 breaths (or 10 breaths per side) using ujjayi breathing (whisper breath). Aim to inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. Refer to the Pre-Sleep Breathing Exercises to learn more about ujjayi breath and the importance of the 5 to 8 ratio of inhale to exhale. You may also watch my friend, Matt explain it here. Regular, deep breath, combined with visualizing your breath moving into your lower-back, pelvis, and legs, will decrease the energy moving to the awakening, upper chakras (energy centers), and will instead help you to become grounded and rooted in the lower chakras.

Janusirsasana: Head toward Knee Pose

This posture draws body, mind, and spirit inward to prepare for sleep while releasing tension in legs and back that can radiate into emotional or mental tension.

If you are tight in your hamstrings, feel free to bend your extended leg (the one receiving the stretch). Visualize your breath and energy moving into the area you are stretching and if you are feeling a sharp pull behind your knee or high in you butt (the attachments of this muscle), bend your extended knee.

 

Paschimottanasana: Westward Stretch

This posture also draws body, mind, and spirit inward to prepare for sleep by releasing tension both in the legs and the lower back. This pose evokes a personal solace, retiring, and quietness. It’s nice to close your eyes in this posture and direct your breath and energy to move into your low-back and legs. Bend your knees if you need to.

Suptakapatasana: Supine Pigeon Pose

This is one of my favorite poses. This grounding posture relaxes and supports your back by lying flat while stretching some of the muscles that largely contribute to tight hips and lower-back, including the Piriformis muscle, deep under your glutes in your butt.

 

Jathara Parivartanasana: Supine Twist

This pose is excellent for wringing out tension from the nervous system as well as the deep and superficial muscles in the back. Italso gives a gentle twist to the abdomen, helping digestion and releasing the Serotonin (feel good chemical) which is activated by your gut.

It’s important to ground both shoulder blades, even if you need to put a pillow between your knees or under your bottom leg.

 

Suptabaddhakonasana: Supine Cobbler’s Pose

This relaxing pose passively stretches the inner-thigh muscles (adductors) and grounds your energy for good sleep. Be certain to support both knees with cushions. You may choose not to lie on a cushion if it makes your lower-back hurt.

(Teddybear optional)

 

 

For more information about how to use yoga and meditation to help promote healthy sleep, check out Guided Meditations for Sleep™. 

 

 

Photo by Seneca Moore

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




Why Can’t I Stay Asleep?

Sleep Problem

Many of you responded to my last blog post about sleep and said,

“It’s not falling asleep, but staying asleep is my problem.”

For many people, falling asleep isn’t the problem, but it’s staying asleep. And what to do about it?

James Findley, Ph.D., CBSM, clinical director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania says that sleep is cyclical and that we come in and out of sleep regularly. However, when we have an awakening (and not the zen kind we are searching for in our yoga and meditation practice), and can’t get back to bed for 30 minutes or more and it happens 3 times a week or more, then there’s most likely a deeper problem.

Some possible causes for why you can’t stay asleep:

Sleep Apnea. Perhaps you’re not getting enough air as you sleep, causing you to wake up. If you sleep with someone else, they might be better at noticing if this is the case. CPAP machines restore this in a jiff.

Indigestion. Maybe you’re eating too much before bed or the wrong kinds of food for your stomach and it’s not allowing you to rest.

Active Bladder. Unfortunately, as you age, getting up in the night to use the bathroom becomes more frequent. Also, some medications for high blood pressure can act as diuretics and can make you need to get up and use the bathroom. It’s nice to hydrate before bed but notice how much you’re drinking if nocturnal bathroom visits become too frequent.

Environment. Dr. Findley (above) recommends you make your bedroom into a sleep cave, similar to what I describe in an exciting new mindful sleep solution, Guided Meditations for Sleep™ which launched last Friday, in a section called Pre-Sleep General Guidelines. Perhaps use an eye mask, blackout shades, and turn your alarm clock away from your face.

Noise. If you’re very sensitive to noise, what works better than trying to soundproof your bedroom is to listen to white noise. Through a process called habituation your brain stops listening to noise when it’s a repetitive and consistent noise. Nature sounds are irregular and don’t work as well as white noise.

Alcohol. Alcohol disrupts sleep and doesn’t allow you to pass through all the stages of sleep. You spend more time in Deep Sleep and less in R. E. M. and disrupts sleep in this stage.

Caffeine. Caffeine disturbs  sleep, specifically your ability to access the deeper stages of sleep, R.E.M and Deep Sleep, the stages where your mind and body rest and repair. Even if you feel you’re relatively unaffected by caffeine, especially in your ability to fall asleep, caffeine can stay in your system for up to 48 hours and might be inhibiting you from getting the really good sleep.

Stress. Dr. Findley emphasizes this as a big factor for disrupted sleep. In part, this is why Guided Meditations for Sleep is so effective because it not only helps you get to sleep but perhaps more importantly trains you to weed out stress and arrive and peaceful and prolonged sleep.

So, what to do when you wake up in the night?

First of all, don’t stress about it and make it worse. I discuss this deeper in the Pre-Sleep General Guidelines Guided Meditations for Sleep™. Try listening to a guided meditations or lead yourself through the Countdown Meditation I mentioned in my last post.

If after 30 minutes you’re still awake, don’t stay in bed. Get up and go to a different room to do the Pre-Sleep Yoga Postures and Pre-Sleep Breathing Techniques. This could also be a good opportunity to do the Sanctuary Practice a beautiful visualization where I incite all of your senses as I mentally lead you through a vivid visualization of your most favorite place, an experience even more powerful that actually being there. Also, light reading is helpful because it systematically wrangles a wild mind into one thing: words on a page and an easy story line, instead of the billions of ot

her ideas that could cause you to start to plan or worry.

New Technology Converts Sound Into Electrical EnergyWhile you’re trying to get back to sleep, don’t check your phone, turn of the tv, or read emails. It’s very stimulating for many reasons but mostly because of the blue light which most devices emit which makes your brain think that it’s daytime and ready to get up.

 


We spend a third of our entire life sleeping. The difference between good sleep, mediocre sleep, or no sleep can be a game changer for your fulfillment of the waking two-thirds of life. Much is riding on our ability for and quality of sleep so let’s learn how to do it well.

I’ve been teaching yoga and meditation for more than 15 years and one of the things I hear most from my students is the need for better sleep. I hear that need literally by the many snores in savasana.

As a culture that values productivity above almost everything else, the one thing we seem to sacrifice most is our need for good sleep. Therefore,  we are chronically under rested. Better sleep means a better life. It promotes wellness in body, mind, and spirit, and helps you to be alert, productive, and fulfill your purpose for being on the planet.

Hopefully some of the information in this article has helped. If you are interested in a mindful sleep solution, one that offers real results for a sleepless mind, please check out Guided Meditations for Sleep™.

Sweet Dreams,

Scott

Photo by Seneca Moore

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




How You Can Hack Into Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, and Oxytocin

Having a positive attitude and being in a good mood have a great affect on us and on our daily lives. When we’re happy, we tend to be more optimistic, productive, and approachable.

Though let’s face it, some days keeping ourselves in our happy bubble seems like the most difficult thing in the world specially when things go wrong. We become temperamental and cranky and that ruins our positive outlook in life and when that happens, it causes us to become the hopeless, unproductive, and depressed person we hope we won’t turn into.

But in life, we always have a choice. We can choose to continue to be the jolly, optimistic person we are or be a sad pessimistic nobody wants to be around with.

Luckily, when you start feeling the negativity creeping in you, there are easy ways to get rid of them! Simply hack into your four happy chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, & Oxytocin!

Thain Nguyen of The Utopian Life provided a cheat sheet infographic (see below) made with Visme that you can use as a guide anytime!

Save

Save




Guided Meditations for Sleep

Sleep Problems?

If you struggle with sleep, you’re not alone. One of the largest reasons for insomnia or sleeplessness is an overactive mind. And before you get a prescription to knock yourself out, perhaps try addressing the cause of the problem and learn to quiet your mind with Guided Meditations for Sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation says that 45% of Americans report decreased daily function due to insufficient or poor quality sleep. A 2013 Gallup Report said that 2 in 5 Americans have chronic sleep problems. And if a chronic lack of sleep isn’t bad enough, according to statistics from Harvard Medical School, lack of good or sufficient sleep also inhibits learning and memory, and contributes to a host of other serious health problems.

Our species has survived, in part, because we are hardwired to anticipate threats before going to bed, historically a time when humans have been most vulnerable. But if during your brain’s nightly safety-check, a thought or worry lingers, your brain starts processing it as if it were an actual threat. 

Our Brains

Modern neuroscientists say, our brains aren’t actually that good at knowing the difference between perceived and actual reality. A perfect example of this is when we our body responds to a nightmare or an intense movie. With a nightmare or movie, we maybe watching an image, not reality, but our minds respond as if those scenes were real. 

Sleep Problem

Similarly, as you are lying in bed playing the scenes of tomorrow’s board meeting in your mind, your body responds as if you were there. With these scenes flashing in your mind, your body sends adrenaline throughout your system and before you know it, a thought about tomorrow’s board meeting has caused your muscles and brain to become revved up and ready to act when we should be sleeping.

Guided Meditations for Sleep

However, knowing that our brains don’t distinguish well between perceived and actual reality, we can leverage that function for our benefit. Guided Meditations for Sleep helps us to saturate our body and mind with the body’s natural feel-good chemicals such as Dopamine, Sarotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins all of which can be triggered by visualizations and help you feel wonderful, as you fall into a deep and satisfying sleep.

It’s so simple, that it seems too good to be true. Remember, our brains cobble together the best notion of reality primarily based on the information of our senses. We can evoke the power of our senses by simply conjuring the right image into our mind.

Give it a try. Close your eyes and picture breathing in a deep breath of warm, salty air on your favorite beach. Involve all of your senses: notice what you see at the beach, what you hear, taste, feel, etc. And before you can say Sarotonin, you’ve just started those feel-good chemicals moving into your system, faster than taking a pill.

I lead students through a guided imagery process called a Sanctuary Practice. In it I guide you to vividly evoke your senses while senses in your most favorite place in the world. It’s profound how powerful it is. It’s like having a time share in paradise and you can teleport there whenever you want.

I invite you to give it a try and tell me what your experience was like.Use this as an effective way to allow your mind to rest and fall asleep.

Click here to relax with the Sanctuary Practice

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




8 Tips To Activate Your Home To Attract More Love, Better Health & Well-Being

By  | MindBodyGreen

woman organized closet declutter

If you want more love in your life, you have to first start with loving where you are right now. Yes that means who you are as a human, but it also refers to where you call home. Here are a few tips that will jump start the energetic field in your home to beam out more love. Like attracts like.

Related Article: The 7 Best Ways To Heal Your Heart Chakra For More Love & Compassion

1. Get rid of the old.

Clear out, parcel up or throw away letters or photos from old relationships and any other clutter that’s not you anymore. It’s not that you’re pretending these things don’t exist, they just aren’t who you are anymore. You’ve moved past them, so let your home radiate that. If for some reason you can’t let go, or are slow to let go of these items, put them in a box with a lid and bless it.

2. Implement a “no shoe” zone.

Whether this it’s in your bedroom, entryway or your entire home, removing your shoes indicates you’re shifting into a new space. The more you connect to the earth with your feet, the more you are rooting down to rise up into who you want to be. Another benefit of a shoe-free zone is choosing to walk through your house with bare, vulnerable feet, rather than the protection of the soles of your shoes.

Related Article: Self-Love: The Path To True Empowerment

3. Create a nook of sacred space (and use it).

Whether it’s some sort of alter, your yoga mat, your meditation area or a quiet place where you’re surrounded by all your favorite things. The more you invest in your sacred space, the more it will invest in you by providing you with the insights and guidance you desire.

Don’t just create it, use it. Start with five minutes at a time of hanging out there in a seated and relaxed position, focusing on your breath.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




Meditation To Help You Sleep

Sleep Problem

I’ve been teaching meditation techniques to help sleep for 15 years and I’d like to share with you this very effective, and simple technique.

Tell me if this sounds familiar . . .  It’s 2:30 am. You’ve been lying in bed for hours feeling miserable, tired, and stressed because tomorrow (actually, just later today) you’ve got a very important day but you JUST. CAN’T. SLEEP. The more you lie there not sleeping, the more worried you get about not sleeping, and you start the downward spiral of sleeplessness. If you’re lucky, you might eventually fall asleep only to wake up from a few hours of fitted sleep, feeling exhausted. Or worse, you sleep like a mummy through your alarm and are late for your important day.

If this has ever happened to you, you’re not alone. Millions of people are plagued with the lack of good sleep. But what do you do? There are many solutions to sleeplessness, including drugs, cleaning up your diet, and cutting out caffeine, but have you considered meditation?

Meditation helps sleep for one very simple reason: presence.

Often times, we can’t sleep primarily because our minds are playing out the day we just had or are about to have. Our brain can’t tell the difference between real threat and perceived threat. The thoughts and worries about tomorrow make our nervous system react as if the threat were real and present.

Your nervous system doesn’t want you to sleep if there’s a perceived threat; you’ve evolved not to sleep through being stalked by a predator. Consequently, thinking and worrying makes adrenaline starts to pump through your body, increases your heart rate, and makes your mind sharp and active. Thinking and worrying is the recipe for NOT sleeping.

Meditation’s primary objective is to allow you to get out of the past or future and inhabit the present moment ONLY. The more we practice regular presence through meditation, the more we are able to be present in every-day life. This presence will also train our minds to stay out of the past or future when we are trying to sleep.

Ok, that sounds great but how do I meditate? Here’s a very simple meditation practice that not only helps you to practice daily presence but can also help you get good, consistent sleep.

The Countdown Meditation

time lag of manifestationFor every-day meditation, do the following:

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes (you can extend the time the more you practice).
  2. Sit upright.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Watch your breath move in and out for a few rounds
  5. In your mind, start to count your breaths backward from the number 30, e.g., exhale “30,” inhale “29,” exhale “28,” etc.
  6. When you lose your count, start back at 30.
  7. When you get to zero, start back at 30.
  8. When the timer rings, you’re done.

It’s important to remember that the goal is presence, not getting to zero so it doesn’t matter if you go 3 times all the way from 30-0, nor does it matter if you start over 20 times.

For getting to sleep, do the following:

  1. Prepare for bed and do everything you need to prior to going to sleep.
  2. Brain dump. Before you climb into bed, set a timer for 2 minutes and on a notepad, write down all of the immediate things you have on your mind. Don’t let this go beyond 2 minutes lest this devolves into a fuel-for-worry fest.
  3. Fold up the paper and put it aside. Tell yourself that you don’t need to think or do anything about that list until tomorrow.
  4. Put the timer away.
  5. Lie down, turn off the light, and notice your breath for a few rounds.
  6. Start counting your breaths (just like the every-day version of Countdown) but start at 100.
  7. When any thoughts or worries come up, let them go knowing that you’ve already done your brain dump. Tell those thoughts that they should have presented themselves when you were writing them down, and start over counting your breath. If the stillness of mind reveals something that requires absolute immediate action, ask yourself if it REALLY needs immediate attention. If so, get up and do it quickly but then come back to bed and resume the Countdown Meditation at 100
  8. If you lose your count because you’re falling asleep, let go and enjoy the ride. Mission accomplished. We’ll see you in the morning, Sunshine. Don’t be surprised if you have to go a few times all the way through before you fall asleep. Most often, you’ll fall asleep during the first go.

By practicing this simple meditation technique, you can help your mind be more present every day and train yourself into better, more regular, and deeper sleep.

I’d like to offer you a challenge to do the Countdown Meditation, either the every-day sitting or going to sleep version, for seven days, for at least 5 minutes a day. Write me at scott@scottmooreyoga and tell me how it went.

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

 

 




The Link Between Unresolved Emotional Trauma and Physical Illness

By Alex Pietrowski | Waking Times

We’ve known for a long while that unresolved emotional trauma can cause lifelong behavioral problems. Most notably, Dr. Gabor Maté has explained how addictions arise in people who’ve suffered wounds in the past, mostly during their childhood years, and how those wounds continue to manifest in negative ways throughout their lives.

While this is not something that can easily be pinned down by medical research, it does make sense intuitively, and the improvements people see in their lives once traumatic experiences are reconciled and put to rest offers sufficient testimony to support this idea.

Regarding physical illness, however, we’ve always presumed a strictly material causality, something which can be singled out and directly linked to the illness, like a germ, or a deficiency. However, this view is being augmented by studies into the idea that emotional trauma can also cause the manifestation of physical illness.

What is Trauma?

Firstly, what is trauma? Many people associate major events with what we call trauma, things like sexual or physical abuse, seeing combat, and those sorts of things, but in reality, it is most often much more subtle than this, with seemingly less significant events having a lasting impression.

Psychologist Dawson Church, PhD offers a more thorough definition of a traumatizing event, outlining four key components. It is perceived as a threat to the person’s physical survival. It overwhelms their coping capacity, producing a sense of powerlessness. It produces a feeling of isolation and aloneness, and it violates their expectations.

In this light, any number of ordinary childhood experiences could be considered traumatizing, and in Church’s book, Psychological Trauma: Healing Its Roots in Brain, Body and Memory, he describes a patient story of an event such as this.

When I was growing up, I idolized my older brother Gary. But he was pretty rough with me. He was six years older than I was. One day when I was three and he was nine, he wanted to have a “wrestling match.” He “won” by lying on top of me. I couldn’t breathe and I began to panic. Gary just laughed when he saw me struggling. I almost passed out. When he rolled off me, I began to cry uncontrollably. My mother came in, and I tried to explain what happened. He told her it was nothing. I was just being a crybaby. Mom told me, “Big girls don’t cry.” [Source]

Lissa Rankin, MD explains how a link is formed between this type of trauma and the manifestation of physical illness later on in life, explaining that emotional changes are the precursors to physical changes.

“This is not to suggest “it’s all in your head.” It’s absolutely in your body! It’s simply that the physiological changes that occur in the body as the result of unhealed trauma and its associated stress, anxiety, and depression translates into conditions in the body that make you susceptible to physical ailments.” [Source]

In her book, Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, Rankin dives more deeply into this issue, noting a study which backs up the connection between trauma and certain illnesses. 

“In a landmark 1990 study of 17,421 patients, Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collaborated on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, which has resulted in over 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles. Patients were interviewed to determine whether they had experienced any of ten traumatizing events in childhood:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • Mother treated violently
  • Household substance abuse
  • Household mental illness
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Incarcerated household member

The study revealed that traumatizing childhood events are commonplace. Two-thirds of individuals reported at least one traumatizing childhood event. 40% of the patients reported two or more traumatizing childhood events, and 12.5% reported four or more. These results were then correlated with the physical health of the interviewed patients, and researchers discovered a dose-response. Traumatizing events in childhood were linked to adult disease in all categories — cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, bone fractures, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, smoking, and suicide. The average age of patients in this study was 57 years old, which means that childhood trauma can have a delayed effect on the body, making it entirely possible that something that happened 50 years ago may be predisposing someone to illness in the here and now. The more Adverse Childhood Events an individual reported, the sicker and more resistant to treatment they were.” [Source]

We are in the midst of a swarm of health crises, and a holistic approach to our health would look for the interconnectedness among these major issues. The obesity epidemic, rising cancer rates, skyrocketing diabetes, rising depression and even the opioid epidemic, are all somehow related to how the mind and body work together to create the complete being.

In this paradigm it servers us well to consider a link to the emotional wellness of people, looking to create the right conditions for people to want to take good care of themselves and their bodies.

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

This article (The Link Between Physical Illness and Unhealed Traumawas originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

Read more great articles at Waking Times.




Brain Hack: Scientists Discover Biophotons That Link Our Consciousness To Light

By Abbey Stirling | Educate Inspire Change

Scientists found that neurons in mammalian brains were capable of producing photons of light, or “Biophotons”!

The photons, strangely enough, appear within the visible spectrum. They range from near-infrared through violet, or between 200 and 1,300 nanometers.

Scientists have an exciting suspicion that our brain’s neurons might be able to communicate through light. They suspect that our brain might have optical communication channels, but they have no idea what could be communicated.

Even more exciting, they claim that if there is an optical communication happening, the Biophotons our brains produce might be affected by quantum entanglement, meaning there can be a strong link between these photons, our consciousness and possibly what many cultures and religions refer to as Spirit.

In a couple of experiments scientist discovered that rat brains can pass just one biophoton per neuron a minute, but human brains could convey more than a billion biophotons per second.

This raises the question, could it be possible that the more light one can produce and communicate between neurons, the more conscious they are?

If there is any correlation between biophotons, light, and consciousness it can have strong implications that there is more to light than we are aware of.

Just think for a moment. Many texts and religions dating way back, since the dawn of human civilization have reported of saints, ascended beings and enlightened individuals having shining circles around their heads.

From Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, to teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, among many other religions, sacred individuals were depicted with a shining circle in the form of a circular glow around their heads.

If they were as enlightened as they are described maybe this shining circle was just a result of the higher consciousness they operated with, hence a higher frequency and production of biophotons.

Maybe these individuals produced higher level of biophotons with stronger instensity because of their enlightenment, if there is any correlation between biophotons and consciousness.

Even the word enLIGHTenment suggests that this higher consciousness has something to do with light.

But one of the most exciting implications the discovery that our brains can produce light gives, is that maybe our consciousness and spirit are not contained within our bodies. This implication is completely overlooked by scientists.

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3 Yoga Poses to Alleviate Headaches

Headaches are all too common. While there are many reasons for headaches including dehydration, sinus congestions, and viruses, many times headaches are the result of unconscious tension in your neck and shoulders.

Here are 3 yoga poses that will help alleviate the tension in neck and shoulders when done regularly.

If you’re feeling a headache, before you start any yoga posture, close your eyes and check in with yourself. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Bring your focus to your head and try to acutely feel into your headache. Where exactly do you feel it? What is the quality of your headache, is it hot, dull, sharp, or heavy? If your headache were trying to tell you something, what might that be?

Once you’ve checked in, respond to that information with sustained, deep ujjayi breaths. Often, this alone will remedy a headache by calming the nervous system, oxygenating the brain, and curbing unconscious tension.

Remember that with every yoga pose, we are looking for quality over quantity. You don’t get more results by doing a pose that is more intense. We are always looking for the quality of a pose I call “comfortably intense.” Or, if you’re a numbers person, think of holding  a level 7 or less, if you were to quantify a stretch as 1 being the least intense and 10 being the most intense. And with each stretch maintain your ujjayi breaths.

 

Pose #1 

Eagle Arms: to stretch upper-trapezius. 

This posture addresses some of the muscles that contribute most often to tension headaches, the upper-trapezius. These muscles connect your shoulders to your neck and head and often build tension when doing repetitive actions with your arms, such as typing on a keyboard. [I’m taking a 30 second break from typing this to do this pose . . . ahhh].

Try wrapping your arms and then lifting your elbows slightly above your shoulders. As you continue your deep ujjayi breaths, slowly turn your head side to side. Make sure you’re not clenching your jaw.

Try this for 10 breaths on each side.

 

Pose #2

Side Neck Stretch: to stretch the scalenes and sternocleidomastoid (SCM).

Other muscles that sometimes cause headaches are the scalenes and (CLM). These muscles run along the sides of your neck.

Place one of your hands on the top of your head and tilt your head in that direction while reaching your opposite arm away from you. Breathe deeply and visualize your breath traveling all the way down into your fingertips and tension from your neck and head dripping like water off of your fingers onto the floor. Again, make sure that you don’t clench your jaw in this pose.

 

 

Pose #3

Seated Twist: to stretch the deep, long muscles in your back, paraspinal muscles and piriformis muscles in your hips (under your glutes).

Sometimes the tension you feel in a headache actually originates in other muscles along your back and even your hips. This pose is excellent to wring out your nervous system and stretch some of those muscles that sometimes radiate tension up into your head.

Sit down and cross one leg, bent at the knee, over the other leg, also bent at the knee. Bring opposite elbow across opposite leg. Sit up tall with your spine erect and buttocks grounded firmly on the floor. If one of your buttocks lifts, try extending your bottom leg straight. As you initiate the posture, breath in deeply and sit tall. As you exhale, gently twist to a comfortable level. Hold each side for 10-15 long breaths.

Headaches are never fun, however with a few yoga poses in your headache-toolbox, hopefully you can remedy headaches as they come and prevent them from coming as often.

 

Yogi Scott Moore, scottmooreyoga.com

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




Harvard-Trained Brain Scientist Had A Stroke & Figured Out the Mystery Of Life

By Joe Martini | Collective Evolution

What if your left brain suddenly shut off and only the right side of your brain were active and working? This is something that can happen when you have a stroke, and exactly what neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor experienced in 1996 — and she was conscious of it happening.Taylor’s story is not a new one. She gave a TED talk about the amazing journey she had the morning of her stroke and wrote a book about what she learned. I wanted to draw attention to this story today because ‘consciousness’ has become a huge topic recently, and Jill’s story, which gets at the heart of who we truly are, offers much to the discussion.Think about some of the shows and movies that have taken over the collective consciousness over the past two years — The OA, Stranger Things, Sense 8,Interstellar, The Arrival, Unacknowledged — and you’ll see these share a common theme: the exploration of our reality and consciousness.Even if these themes weren’t obvious to everyone who watched, they planted seeds that continue to germinate a desire to explore more about our reality and who we are.A subject once viewed as purely religious has now become more acceptable to explore and to discuss scientifically. Once viewed as pseudoscience, consciousness is now becoming self evident.“We are energy beings connected to one another through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family. And right here, right now, all we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment we are perfect. We are whole. And we are beautiful.”

Why Now?

But why? Why now? Why has this subject become so huge, not just in the minds of explorers, but also in pop culture? I examined this question in 2011 when I began a film project to discover why humanity seemed to be going through a mass shift in consciousness. I looked at science, the cosmos, daily global events, and what ancient cultures had been saying for years about things that apply to our own time, and I discovered that we are in fact going through the greatest and most profound shift in human history. No it’s not a renaissance, a small revolution of ideas, a new tech age, or even the natural progression that happens from generation to generation. This is much bigger. You can watch the film we released for free here.

In this moment it may be hard to wrap our minds around it, just as Jill had trouble grasping everything she was discovering during her stroke. This is why it’s imperative to practice presence and going within. I also believe it’s imperative to do this sober.

“Imagine what it would be like to be totally disconnected from your brain chatter that connects you to the external world. So here I am in this space and any stress related to my, to my job, it was gone. And I felt lighter in my body. And imagine all of the relationships in the external world and the many stressors related to any of those, they were gone. I felt a sense of peacefulness.”

We can achieve this through meditation and presence. We are always pushing for things like alcohol, cannabis, or psychedelics to calm ourselves, but until we truly recognize and ground in the fact that we must be able to live that reality in everyday life, at peace, with our soul connected and aware in our reality, we are simply still living unconscious. What we KNOW in our mind is not what defines how consciously aware we are of ourselves and reality. We can know a ton of words to describe what we truly are, but until we can experience it sober in everyday life, it’s simply a mental understanding, not one we are living.

Discovering Who We Truly Are

Taylor describes an understanding that we all can achieve through practice, meditation, taking quiet time to remember, or shifting consciousness through processes like those we use in our 5 Days of You Challenge.

“So who are we? We are the life force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere where we are — I am — the life force power of the universe, and the life force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form. At one with all that is.

Or I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere where I become a single individual, a solid, separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the “we” inside of me

Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world and the more peaceful our planet will be. And I thought that was an idea worth spreading.”

I recently explored these questions in a status I posted on Facebook that I think is important to share here too:

I still think most of us underestimate the true nature of the shift we are experiencing on this planet. This isn’t a small revolution in tech, business, our economy or ideas… we’re reshaping the entire human experience from one that operates on ego and disconnection to one that has our soul living and driving our experience. We won’t need activism and revolutionary new ideas because the consciousness that will form, and is forming, on this planet (that of oneness consciousness) is not rigid, does not need “waking up,” and evolves naturally. Our systems will flow and change fluidly, there won’t be a fight to make it happen. We won’t need marketing to convince millions down a different path. We won’t even need this whole idea of sustainability and to teach our kids because it’s simply part of that state of consciousness.

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




The Importance of the Vagus Nerve in Health and Well-Being

Anna Hunt | Waking Times

At the center of our bodies resides a long, wiry nerve called the vagus nerve. It extends all the way from the brain down through the chest and beyond the stomach. In addition, it connects to all major organs, including ears, eyes, tongue, kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, and the colon. Scientists believe that vagus nerve stimulation can affect anxiety and depression, blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the function of digestive organs including the stomach, pancreas and the gallbladder.

Role of the Vagus Nerve in the Body

Being the largest nerve in the body, the vagus nerve affects more than just the body’s physical functions. Some research indicates that a healthy vagus nerve is important to social bonding and empathy, as well as our ability to make complex decisions. Mystics believe that it is also the intersection between our conscious and unconscious minds, the physical and the subtle bodies. Therefore, the vagus nerve may be the most relevant part of our physical body that relates to our peace of mind and happiness.

Clearly, the vagus nerve plays a critical role in our bodies, hence it is also vital to our well-being. People with impaired vagal activity can suffer from depression, panic disorders, anxiety, mood swings and chronic fatigue. Physically, a vagal imbalance can result in irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, heartburn, unhealthy heart rate, and chronic inflammation.

Scientists have been conducting research on the vagus nerve to understand how it impacts our overall well-being. In their research, they found that stimulating the vagus nerve with electrical signals has the potential for reducing depression and anxiety. Scientists also found that vagus nerve stimulation can improve conditions such as epilepsy and obesity.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Exercises

People with optimal vagal tone are resilient under stress because they can easily shift from an excited state to a relaxed state. This switches on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion, and fertility. As a result, these individuals often enjoy excellent digestion, optimal heart rate, and good overall health.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy for someone to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system and relax. That is because we spend so much of our time in a state of fight or flight. This state is governed by our sympathetic nervous system, which floods the body with stress hormones.

Luckily, there are plenty of natural and non-intrusive ways that you can stimulate the vagus nerve. Here are five vagus nerve stimulation exercises to help you improve your vagal tone.

1. Mindful Breathing

Long, deep breathing is the best way to activate the vagus nerve. Even though the vagus nerve is already involved in our involuntary breathing, when we do it consciously it helps to improve vagal tone. This, in turn, gives the body a chance to rejuvenate.

Here is a simple mindful breathing exercise. First, make sure to sit comfortably in a chair or on a folded blanket. Then follow this breath pattern:

  • Sit upright and close the eyes.
  • As you inhale, lift your collarbone and sit straighter.
  • As you exhale, soften and relax.
  • As you inhale, expand the sides of your rib cage.
  • As you exhale, soften and relax.
  • As you inhale, expand the front and back of your rib cage.
  • As you exhale, soften and relax.
  • Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

In addition to mindful breathing, restorative yoga is an ideal way to stimulate the vagus nerve, as it incorporates both the breath and relaxing postures. Here are three beneficial restorative postures.

2. Supported Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Sit with legs extended straight, and fold forward over legs. Keep neck and shoulders relaxed. Make sure to support the torso/arms/head with a chair, bolsters or pillows. If the low back is not comfortable, sit on a pillow or a folded blanket. Hold for 10-15 minutes, breathing mindfully.

 

 

 3. Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Lay flat on the ground with legs bent. Place feet flat on the ground, hips’ width apart. Lift hips, and place a block (or large book) under the low back/pelvis. Rest back down onto the block. Hold for 10-15 minutes, breathing mindfully.

Read the rest of the article here.




Sleeping Naked: 8 Benefits Of Hitting The Hay In Your Birthday Suit

By Rebecca Endicott | Little Things

sleeping naked

To paraphrase Fran Leibowitz, the only acceptable response to the question, “Can I be frank with you?” is “Yes, if I can be Barbara.”

That said, I think it’s about time that we all get frank on a topic we tend to avoid all together. Namely, our all-together. Birthday suits. Au naturel. I’m talking about nudity here.

We’re happy to accept nudity as comic relief, as in this hilarious and daring talent performance, and in a wide variety of recent blockbusters. In fact, it shows up in media all the time, one way or another.

But we’re not as good at talking about nudity with regard to our own lifestyles. That’s why I am here today to talk about the unsung benefits of stripping down and letting it all hang out!

Now, obviously, we all know that there’s a time and place for nudity, but I don’t think that we always take advantage of the many benefits of being naked when we have the opportunity.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in our sleep habits.

Related Article: 12 Great Reasons Why You Should Be Naked More Often 

While plenty of folks sleep nude, there are scores more who go the pajama-clad route, and unwittingly miss out on a whole host of health benefits in the process.

Are you one of them? Let us know in the comments below!

Buff Benefit #1: You’ll Rest Easy

Did you know that your body temperature has to drop half a degree in order for you to fall into a sound sleep?

It’s much harder for your body to accomplish that (and maintain it throughout the night) if you’re wearing a flannel nightie.

Instead, let your body tackle its nighttime temperature without interference when you’re ready to hit the hay!

Buff Benefit #2: It’s Good For Your “Downstairs”

You may have heard this one from your mother at some point, but it’s no old wives tale.

Leaving underwear or other tight material over your private parts at night can provide a breeding ground for bacteria and could even give you a yeast infection.

Take the nighttime as an opportunity for a little freedom down there, and let things air out.

Buff Benefit #3: Your Partner Will Like It

Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to see their significant other naked on a nightly basis?

Even if you feel insecure about your body, we promise that your partner will be more than happy to see you in the buff.

Sleeping naked also has the added benefits of promoting extra intimacy and providing skin-to-skin contact, which strengthens any relationship!

Related Article: 7 Bedtime Routines For Better Intimacy With Your Partner

You’ll be amazed by how much easier it is to hop out of bed in the morning!

Without PJ’s, you actually wake up cleaner, due to the aforementioned bacteria, and you feel cleaner, because you’re less likely to sweat through the extra layers.

Plus, it makes it easier to get cracking on your morning routine, since you don’t have the extra mental barrier of disrobing.

Buff Benefit #5: You’ll Drop A Dress Size

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Bizarre Similarity Found Between Human Cells And Neutron Stars

By: Josh Hrala | Science Alert 

universe-first-stars

If you were to compare yourself to a neutron star, you probably wouldn’t find very many things in common. After all, neutron stars – celestial bodies with super strong magnetic fields – are made from collapsed star cores, lie light-years away from Earth, and don’t even watch Netflix.

Related Article: New Revelation: Human Cells Contain Powerful Lightening Bolt Energy

But, according to new research, we share at least one similarity: the geometry of the matter that makes us.

Researchers have found that the ‘crust’ (or outer layers) of a neutron star has the same shape as our cellular membranes. This could mean that, despite being fundamentally different, both humans and neutron stars are constrained by the same geometry.

“Seeing very similar shapes in such strikingly different systems suggests that the energy of a system may depend on its shape in a simple and universal way,” said one of the researchers, astrophysicist Charles Horowitz, from Indiana University, Bloomington.

To understand this finding, we need to quickly dive into the weird world of nuclear matter, which researchers call ‘nuclear pasta’ because it looks a lot like spaghetti and lasagne.

This nuclear pasta forms in the dense crust of a neutron star thanks to long-range repulsive forces competing with something called the strong force, which is the force that binds quarks together.

In other words, two powerful forces are working against one another, forcing the matter – which consists of various particles – to structure itself in a scaffold-like (pasta) way.

As one of the team, Greg Huber, a biological physicist from the University of California, Santa Barbara, explains:

“When you have a dense collection of protons and neutrons like you do on the surface of a neutron star, the strong nuclear force and the electromagnetic forces conspire to give you phases of matter you wouldn’t be able to predict if you had just looked at those forces operating on small collections of neutrons and protons.”

Now, it turns out that these pasta-like structures look a lot like the structures inside biological cells, even though they are vastly different.

This odd similarity was first discovered in 2014, when Huber was studying the unique shapes on our endoplasmic reticulum (ER) – the little organelle in our cells that makes proteins and lipids.

At first, Huber thought that these structures on the ER – which he called “parking garages”, or more formally, Terasaki ramps – were something that only happened inside soft matter.

Related Article: 21 Signs You May Be A Starseed

But the he saw Horowitz’s models of neutron stars, and was surprised to find that the structures of the ER looked a heck of a lot like the structures inside neutron stars.

“I called Chuck [Horowitz] and asked if he was aware that we had seen these structures in cells and had come up with a model for them,” Huber said. “It was news to him, so I realised then that there could be some fruitful interaction.”

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