The Sounds of Summer

By Jill Mattson | * Jill’s Wings of Light

The sweet thoughts of summer pop up in our thoughts at the end of winter. Why are these feelings of summer almost delicious??? In summer, nature reveals her creative masterpieces… at full bloom.  But still, why does it feel so wonderful to be outside in the summer???

Ancient masters noticed how healing nature felt. They replicated shapes found in nature and reduced them to numbers, which then were converted to cycles per second or musical notes… and eventually musical scales. Music using this scale felt healing to them as well. Up until the Renaissance, this frequency pattern was enjoyed when people listened to most music. In this way, people “musically absorbed” nature’s “secret energy patterns”, ingesting her healing energy at any time. (We no longer use nature frequency patterns in our music. Today’s musical scale is similar to a gmo!) These special numbers and shapes are called the Fibonacci numbers and are found everywhere: in the swirl of a sea shell, the shape of a twinkling galaxy and they exist thousands of times in our own bodies. When we walk in nature we are exposed to thousands of these tiny Fibonacci frequencies and they intermingle with our own energy, subtly and unconsciously “tuning us” – making us feel great.

Also found outdoors on a summer day is the Schumann frequency, another sound that is too small in volume for us to be conscious of. (This sound is believed to be created in the atmosphere close to Earth from lightning strikes around the world.) However, the fact that Schumann frequency volume is too low for us to hear doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect us. Recall that x rays affect us and we don’t see or hear them either. In space flights, aero engineers simulate this frequency as astronauts get ill without it! Studies have shown that this frequency is present when people are healing. It is blocked by concrete and the foundations of most of the buildings in which we live and rarely leave in the winter time.

The stars twinkle and wink at us from above – whether or not we actually see them (as in the daytime). Planets create frequencies in their orbits (well below our hearing range), being recorded by satellites. (This subtle energy has been called “astrology” by some.) A study in New Mexico compared plants receiving sounds of these planetary orbits in our solar system with plants that did not. Plant growth was remarkably improved with plants receiving these star sounds![1] Plants are nourished by star sounds! We get a heavier dosage of sound nutrients when we are outside.

People have placed sensors, like those used in a lie detector test, on the roots and leaves of plants and flowers to demonstrate that plants sing songs, in a beautifully luscious way – again, below our hearing volumes that we consciously detect. This is why we give flowers to people who are sick or to mourners at funerals. Subtly they receive these uplifting songs.

French physicist Joel Sternheimer, measured the frequencies of amino acids in plants, the building blocks of the plant-proteins. When he organized the frequencies of the amino acids in the same order as they naturally occurred in nature, they created songs. Each species has its own protein and musical selection! One of the plant songs was a recognizable song, O Sole Mio. I suspect the composer of O Sole Mio was in nature and unconsciously absorbed this delightful song and then penned it into music! We absorb these beautiful sounds of nature! They become part of us… when we are in nature.[2]

Finally a multi-discipline MIT research team undertook the task of producing article spider silk, which is known for its durability and flexibility. The scientists failed numerus times, making the replica of the silk either strong or flexible, but they were not able to produce both until the musician-on-the-team analyzed the silk in terms of frequencies. The frequency of the components of the spider’s silk created harmonious music. The frequencies of the failed-silk-produced-by-scientist produced harsh noises. When the scientists copied the music (in too low of a volume for us to hear) of the spider’s silk, they replicated the strong and flexible silk. Nature’s gifts are linked to her subtle and harmonious music.[3]

When we ingest or spend time in nature, we upload the harmonious sound patterns that are healing on all kinds of un-seen levels. The best part is that the sounds of summer make us feel great too!

*Posted in the entirety with the permission of the author.


[1] Leeds, Joshua. The Power of Sound: How to be Healthy and Productive using Music and Sound, Healing Arts Press: VT, 2001, 2010, Pgs. 207–209.

[2] Jean – Pierre Lentin, Keelynet.com

[2] https://www.earthpulse.com/src/subcategory.asp?catid=2&subcatid=6  “French Physicist Creates New Melodies – Plant Songs.” Sept. 3, 2005, Pg.  2.

[3] (Credit: Markus Buehler) MIT reference: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2012, November 28).

Researchers synthesize new kind of silk fiber, and use music to fine-tune material’s

properties. Science Daily. Retrieved January 11, 2013, from https://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2012/11/121128112157.htm

About the Author: Jill Mattson is a prolific Artist, Musician and Author. Jill is widely recognized expert and composer in the field of Sound Healing!   She has produced nine CDs with intriguing, magical tracks using ancient & modern techniques, & special healing frequencies to achieve profound benefits.  Jill is a four – time author. (The Lost Waves of Time – Best Book of 2016 and Best Alternative Science book of 2016, Deep Wave Body Healing CD– Best Sound Healing CD of 2016, Contacting Angels & Masters CD – Best CD of 2015 and Deep Wave Beauty CD – Best New Age CD – Silver Award).  Free music & School of Sound Healing at www.jillswingsoflight.com


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.

Not Sleeping? Learn Why It Could Be Your Poor Gut Health

By: Laurentine ten Bosch | Food Matters


Almost 60 million Americans spend their nights in fitful slumber; tossing and turning, wrestling with the need to get to sleep, and yet torturously being unable to do so.

We all know those nights when no amount of counting sheep will work and each hour stretches by with increasing frustration.

Yet there are many options to help you sleep better, ranging from meditation to aromatherapy. But what if the solution was actually in your gut of all places?

Related Article: Masculine VS Feminine Brain Complexity: Learn Why Women Need More Sleep Than Men

Tell Me About The Sleep-Gut Connection!

Believe it or not, what’s happening in your belly right now will play a factor in how well you sleep tonight.

Why? Because the gut influences our brain, and the brain regulates our sleep.

Previously, it was thought that the gut simply oversaw the digestion of our food. As it  turns out, our gut does a whole lot more than digestion. 

Our gut actually has a profound impact on many neurological functions. In fact, your gut contains so much neural tissue that it has been called ‘the second brain’.

Furthermore, our gut plays host to over 30 types of neurotransmitters (like the ones found in your brain). The gut also contains 100 million neurons, which is higher than the amount found in our spinal cord! And if you need more proof of your gut’s brain-like properties, at least 95% of serotonin – an important neurotransmitter for cognitive function – is produced in your gut! Whoa, right?

How Does Serotonin Help With Sleep?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects many functions within your body. You might have casually heard it referred to as the ‘happiness hormone’.

Because of its powerful effect on mood and cognition, many antidepressant drugs target serotonin. However, serotonin doesn’t just dial up our joy, it also plays a major role in regulating our body clock and related sleep cycles.

Our bodies don’t automatically make the perfect amount of serotonin every day. How much we produce is affected by many factors, including natural light, food and exercise.

How much serotonin we make has a real impact on our sleep. It is the precursor substance required to make melatonin, which has been referred to as the ‘get-good-sleep’ hormone.

Our guts hold over 400 times more melatonin than the pineal gland! Researchers have also demonstrated that gut production of melatonin remains stable, even after the pineal gland is removed. This highlights what a foundational, autonomous role the gut plays in regulating our sleep.

Interestingly, low levels of melatonin have also been linked with Leaky Gut!

How Does Sleep Work?

Sleep is largely overseen by our circadian rhythm (CR), which is ultimately controlled by certain nerves within the hypothalamus of your brain. This is a constant, round-the-clock timing system that governs a whole bunch of physiological processes.

Your CR is bit like a master control room, and it calls the shots on many aspects of digestion, appetite, blood pressure, immunity, body temperature, mental alertness and the release of various hormones. Incidentally, it also helps to regulate your sleep cycles.

Unfortunately, your hypothalamus and CR is greatly affected by outside factors! This means that what happens in our outside and inside environment can influence the CR, and subsequently, our sleep.

Light is a great example of an external factor that influences our hypothalamus and CR. Light is filtered through our eyes and signals to the hypothalamus that it’s ‘wake-up’ time.

The hypothalamus then passes along these ‘wake-up’ signals to jolt corresponding organs, glands and physiological systems into action. It also tells our body to make more of our ‘daytime/awake’ hormones and other neurotransmitters that influence our biological clock.

If humans were still living in the wild, the stimulus of light from the natural environment would be a friendly asset to our hypothalamus.

However, as you know, we no longer live outdoors. In fact, the average American spends as little as 7% of their life outside! This means that our hypothalamus no longer marches to the beat of a natural light rhythm. Instead, we are exposed to artificial lighting, computer screens, televisions and phones that all send light signals to our brain long after the sun’s gone down.

It’s a double whammy: we get too much light at night and not enough throughout the day. This interferes with our hypothalamus, CR and serotonin production and makes it easier for our natural sleep cycles to be thrown out of whack.

Related Article: Sleep Naked: 8 Benefits Of Hitting The Hay In Your Birthday Suit  

How Does Your Gut Microbiome Affect Sleep?

So far, we know that light, food and exercise affect serotonin production in our gut. This reduces our ability to make melatonin, which we all need to catch good-quality zzz’s.

Still with me? I hope so, because this story is about to take an even stranger twist.

There is a big, thick nerve that connects our brain and gut called the vagus nerve. Shockingly, about 90% of the neural fibers in this nerve transmits information from your gut to your brain…Not the other way around!!!

This is compelling proof that our gut has a direct say in your brain function.

Even stranger, it turns out that the TRILLIONS of bacteria that form your gut microbiome also directly communicate with your nervous system – to the extent that certain microflora can even influence serotonin production.

So your gut bacteria can reduce serotonin levels, which interferes with sleep. The interesting thing is that sleep deprivation also appears to negatively impact your gut bacteria!

One study found that jet lag from a 10 hour flight was enough to cause a temporary dysbiosis in gut bacteria. While this corrected once participants were sleeping normally again, it does demonstrate that even moderate amounts of poor quality sleep are enough to negatively impact our microbiome.

Can you imagine what’s happening over years of not sleeping properly?

And, of course, this leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of bad sleep and poor gut health, as they both impact on the quality of the other.

Furthermore, what foods do we turn to when we’re tired and stressed? Sugar, caffeine and convenience foods; all of which also don’t do our good gut bacteria any favors.

Here are some other ways in which scientists think the gut microbiome can affect our sleep:

Stress & Mood: There is evidence to show that gut microbiota can affect our emotions and mood. Any resultant stress, depression and anxiety can then make falling asleep harder. Lack of sleep impacts our good gut bacteria…and so the spiral continues!

Hormones: The bacteria in our gut are involved in producing key hormones and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, GABA and dopamine. These all play a role in our mood and ability to sleep.

Pain: Did you know that unhealthy gut bacteria can increase your sensitivity to pain? This affects your sleep for obvious reasons; who can nod off peacefully when in pain? Stress itself will also exacerbate the perception of pain.

Read the rest of the article…

Super Spice Turmeric: Learn Simple And Effective Ways To Improve Your Mental And Physical Health

Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine. Find out the best ways to get therapeutic benefits for a variety of mental and physical conditions.

Historically, spices are treasured for the unique flavors they bring to food and for their healing properties.

Most spices provide some health benefits.

But one spice that shines for its medicinal benefits is turmeric.

You may have seen turmeric in the news as a potential treatment for diseases as diverse as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s.

But does this spice live up to its press?

And can you get the benefits of turmeric from food alone or should you take a turmeric supplement?

Turmeric and curcumin are often used interchangeably. What’s the difference between them?

Here’s everything you need to know about the health benefits of turmeric.

Related Article: 7 Turmeric Teas And Elixirs: A Great Way To Boost Your Health 

Traditional Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a beautiful flowering tropical plant native to India.

Turmeric has been used for healing for thousands of years in Ayurveda, India’s 5,000-year-old natural healing system.

Cooking residue found on pottery shards shows that people in parts of Asia cooked with turmeric 4,500 years ago.

It is one of several spices used to make curry powder, an essential ingredient in south Asian cuisine.

It’s usually used dry, but the root can also be grated fresh like ginger.

This versatile spice was used traditionally to improve digestion, dissolve gallstones, relieve arthritis, and alleviate symptoms of allergies and colds.

It was applied externally for wounds and skin conditions.

It was also used as a beauty treatment.

Soaps and creams containing turmeric are experiencing a surge in popularity today.

Turmeric paste is still applied to the skin of both the bride and groom in a ceremony before marriage in some parts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to beautify skin and as a form of good luck.

Related Article: 10 Turmeric Health Benefits: Is It Superior To Medications?  

The Relationship Between Turmeric and Curcumin

Many websites, even authoritative medical sites, incorrectly use the terms turmeric, curcumin, and even curry powder interchangeably.

This makes it hard to understand the information on turmeric.

Let’s clear up any confusion.

Curry powder is a mix of many spices including the spice turmeric.

Turmeric contains hundreds of compounds, each with its own unique properties.

But of all the compounds in turmeric, curcumin is by far the most promising and is the most widely studied.

Curcumin is not unique to turmeric, it is also found in ginger, another spice with a long history of medicinal use.

Read the rest of the article…

3 Tools to Make You a Better Yoga Teacher

Photo by David Newkirk

The world needs good yoga teachers. I’ve been teaching yoga as a career for over 16 years and have logged more than 20,000 teaching hours. I will forever be a student both of yoga and the practice of teaching yoga and I suppose that I’ll always be learning how to be more effective.

Yet, through the trial and error of my own teaching, teaching dozens of teacher training programs, and by mentoring many other yoga teachers, I’ve learned volumes about what makes the difference between a so-so or less effective teacher and what makes a great teacher.

Here are three easy tools that I’ve seen help several teachers raise their effectiveness from so-so, to excellent. Try them on and see if they won’t immediately improve your teaching by helping your students respond to you better.

#1 Be Authentic

Great teachers don’t try to teach like their teachers or yoga idols, they integrate what they’ve learned and then teach from their own hearts. Being authentic in your teaching speaks to the yoga principle of Satya or Truth. If you are truthful in your teaching, your best friends and family will still recognize you while you’re teaching yoga. Know who you are and teach as that person

And for Ganesh’s sake, ditch the overly-calm “Yoga Teacher” persona . . .  (I pause to retch). And if that’s the real way you talk, then you probably have a lucrative career recording the “Thank you for holding” message for banks. But if you’re not being you, your students will see through it before your first OM.

Authenticity wins over experience every time. Try starting class with what’s real for you in the moment. “Ok! I’m kinda new at this so I’m nervous as hell but I’m excited to be here so I’ll try to stay grounded in my body during class as I’m inviting you to do likewise.” Boom! If I were a student in a class and my teacher started out with that kind of honesty, they would instantly have my buy-in, despite their lack of experience.

#2 Look people in the face

Teaching yoga is a special opportunity to connect to people and connect them to themselves. Perhaps the most simple and direct way to connect to people is to look them in the face. As a yoga teacher, think of yourself as a conductor leading an orchestra which is celebrating breath and movement. Imagine an orchestra conductor, trying to unite the 100+ individual members of the orchestra into one collective voice but who couldn’t look the orchestra members in the face, or who swung their baton only toward the floor or the wall, or stood behind the musicians and directed only to people’s back. It just wouldn’t work.

It’s important for the teacher to get off the mat and own the space of the room—it’s part of the complex process of creating and managing the energy of the container. And as you move around the room, your students will both hear and feel your words more powerfully if you speak to their faces, even if they aren’t looking at you. Connection is an important reason for teaching yoga and looking people in the face makes that connection happen instantly.

#3 Speak to What People are Doing Well

Too often, teachers walk around like “Pose Police,” eager to write up asana infractions. Sure, teachers must make suggestions and corrections, but it’s more powerful and easier to connect to your students if you notice what’s happening well. One of your roles as a teacher is to witness. If you’re only witnessing the things that could be improved, it’s like a relationship partner who only mentions the things that bother them. No thanks!

Try using phrases like, “I notice how well everybody is breathing in class, that’s so important.” or “I can tell how present everybody is. Wow!” or “Great job with relaxing your neck in down dog.” For the few people who maybe could use a correction, they will likely take the cue from what you appreciate about the pose rather than only spouting off things to fix. People will leave class feeling like they are making progress in their practice and like you’re a teacher who sees them. You’ll earn their trust and their hearts.

Teaching yoga is a practice just like doing yoga. Try employing these few simple tools and notice how much more engaged you are as a teacher and how much more your students respond to you.

If you’re interested in an in-depth mentor program that gives you several tools and helps leverage your personal gifts into becoming a better teacher and helping you make a living teaching yoga, please check out my Teacher Mentor Program.

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. 

Find Out Why Empaths Have Stomach And Digestive Issues

EmpathsThose who are natural empaths tend to experience issues with their stomachs and digestive symptoms more than those who do not have strong empathic feelings. If you experience frequent physical challenges in your stomach and or digestive system, then you too may be an empath.

Empaths are individuals who are highly sensitive to the people and the energy in their environments. Typically an empath “feels” their surroundings through their solar plexus chakra. It’s as if their stomach area is a sponge, soaking up the feelings and thoughts of the people around them. There is no filter for them as they absorb other people’s worries, fears and anxieties. While those who spend a good amount of time around empaths may feel better, the empath typically feels exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. Over time they may experience the physical symptoms of an out of whack solar plexus.

Physical Symptoms

  • Stomach aches
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Difficulties with elimination
  • Ulcers

What is an empath to do? To begin with, it is always helpful to be aware of your environment. If you find yourself in a toxic environment it’s imperative that you switch gears and do what is necessary to keep the influences of others at a healthy distance.

What To Do

  • Change the subject
  • Leave the room or dwelling
  • Cover your solar plexus with your hands and or an object
  • Visualize yourself in a bubble of white light
  • Emotionally disengage and not allow your emotions to be triggered

If you have been experiencing a few of these physical symptoms, it could be that you are an empath and it would be best for you to create healthier boundaries with others to help keep your mind, body and spirit in tip top shape.


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

Giving Up Alcohol Increases Your Happiness and Long-Term Health

Giving Up Alcohol

Giving up alcohol is easy to do once you realize it does nothing for you, except deteriorate your health and happiness. Giving up alcohol is a great way to increase your wellbeing and quality of life.

Make No Mistake…Alcohol Is Systematically Addicting

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” By Carl Jung.

A few days ago, I read an article (blasted on social media) stating that one glass of wine provides the same benefits as one hour of exercise…what? It’s easy to look back 30 years from now and frown upon all the cigarette smokers as we now understand that cigarettes never did anything for us. We now wonder how the consumption of cigarettes ever grew as vastly as it did in the 1960s.

Alcohol has greater reinforcement – and is more addictive – than Caffeine, Nicotine, and Marijuana. Alcohol is almost as addictive as Heroin! If you were given the opportunity to try a substance slightly less addictive than Heroin, would you do it? Unfortunately, most people have.

From an early age, we are bombarded with alcohol advertising campaigns. An average of $2 billion dollars are spent each year by the beverage industry to systematically create the illusion that we are somehow happier and safer when consuming a product that causes stomach ulcers, nerve damage, liver damage, high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, and cancer. Everywhere we go, our “friends” encourage us to have a drink to wind down, release stress, or enjoy ourselves.

It’s important to ask yourself, “am I an alcoholic” or ”am I just a social drinker”? The difference sometimes is quite small, and people sometimes think they are being social when in fact they are addicted to alcohol.

Alcohol Destroys Your Mental & Physical Health

Giving Up Alcohol - Male Drinking

Giving Up Alcohol – Male Drinking

I have enjoyed working in regional hospitals, assisted living facilities, and mental health facilities. Along the way, I have built lasting relationships with clients and learned about numerous lifestyle choices which make a direct impact on our long-term health. And one of the fastest deterioration of our physical and mental health is alcohol use.

Drinking provides NO benefits at all. Once you become a non-drinker, you will give up nothing; just get rid of a disease. We all know that alcohol wastes your liver (no pun intended), but it also damages the body’s DNA, proteins, and impairs your ability to break down key nutrients.

As a Registered Nurse, I also see first-hand, on a daily basis, the decrease in patient’s quality of lives after suffering from a stroke. Drinker experience a higher risk of high blood pressure, which leads to strokes and heart attacks. Drinkers suffer from higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, an exponentially increasing illness in our society. Drinking increase the risk of diabetes and chronic inflammation of the human pancreas. Finally, nerve damage leading to chronic pain throughout the body (ever had sciatica on Mondays?) and the higher risk of 7 types of cancers are all aftereffects of alcohol use.

Happier People Drink Less Alcohol

Giving Up Alcohol - Female Drinking

Giving Up Alcohol – Female Drinking

Avoid using cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs as alternatives to being an interesting person.” By Marilyn vos Savant.

As a young teenager, you never drank alcohol and consequently felt secure, happy, and healthy. It was only when we were systematically brainwashed by a $90 billion dollar industry, and given the false illusion that alcohol (a depressant) was needed to enjoy ourselves, that we began drinking. Before that time, we never wanted to drink in the first place.

Giving up alcohol gives you relaxation, confidence and self-esteem. Giving up alcohol from your life is a gift and provides the ability to be more aware of your surroundings and the beautiful things around you. As a non-drinker, you will be confident in your ability to stay in control and no longer enslaved to an addictive poison.

Alcohol can never give you any genuine pleasure. As a matter of fact, it does nothing for you. Slowly poisoning your body takes away the most important thing in your life – your health and happiness. Understanding this will allow you to easily become a non-drinker without the constant use of willpower (the willpower method is a less effective strategy).

Giving Up Alcohol Today

As a non-drinker, you will give up the hangovers, loss of control, worry about damage to your body, and stigma of being controlled by alcohol and its expenses. As a non-drinker, you will be free and your body will also be delighted to be free of the systematic position that all drinkers suffer for years.

I think once I made up my mind that I was allergic to alcohol, and that’s what I learned, it made sense to me. And I think it was kind of pointed out that you know if you were allergic to strawberries, you wouldn’t eat strawberries. And that made sense to me.” By Betty Ford.

As you remain a non-drinker, the thoughts of drinking will fade fast like a dream fades upon awakening. You will reflect upon all the advantages of being a non-drinker – greater security, stability, happiness, the quality and enjoyment of your future life. Giving up alcohol will free your mind, body, and spirit.

This post was originally published on the Castile Soap Blog.

Additional References include:

About the Author: 

Audrey Lefebvre

Audrey Lefebvre

Audrey Lefebvre, RN is a holistic lifestyle nurse in Florida, and has been practicing holistic healthcare and natural medicine for the past 5 years. She has experience with organic healthcare regimens, natural medicine, and Assisted Living. Audrey loves to care for the elderly and gives back to our community. On her spare time, she blogs about lifestyle regimens, healthy living, and her pet-dog Snooki. For more information on Audrey Lefebvre and Assisted Living, please visit her website at audreythenurse.com or assistedliving-tampa.com.

Human Beings vs Human Doings: Do You Suffer From The Disease Of Being Busy?

By Omid Safi | On Being


I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.”

Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: “I’m just so busy… got so much to do.”

The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.

And it’s not just adults. When we moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we were thrilled to be moving to a city with a great school system. We found a diverse neighborhood, filled with families. Everything felt good, felt right.

After we settled in, we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled… and scrolled… and scrolled. She finally said: “She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it’s gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She’s just…. so busy.”

Related Article: Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up Love, Me: The Story Of How We Became Addicted To Stress 

Horribly destructive habits start early, really early.

How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?

Somewhere we read, “The unexamined life is not worth living… for a human.” How are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human when we are so busy?

This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

Since the 1950s, we have had so many new technological innovations that we thought (or were promised) would make our lives easier, faster, simpler. Yet, we have no more “free” or leisurely time today than we did decades ago.

For some of us, the “privileged” ones, the lines between work and home have become blurred. We are on our devices. All. The. Freaking. Time.

Smart phones and laptops mean that there is no division between the office and home. When the kids are in bed, we are back online.

One of my own daily struggles is the avalanche of email. I often refer to it as my jihad against email. I am constantly buried under hundreds and hundreds of emails, and I have absolutely no idea how to make it stop. I’ve tried different techniques: only responding in the evenings, not responding over weekends, asking people to schedule more face-to-face time. They keep on coming, in volumes that are unfathomable: personal emails, business emails, hybrid emails. And people expect a response — right now. I, too, it turns out… am so busy.

The reality looks very different for others. For many, working two jobs in low-paying sectors is the only way to keep the family afloat. Twenty percent of our children are living in poverty, and too many of our parents are working minimum wage jobs just to put a roof over their head and something resembling food on the table. We are so busy.

The old models, including that of a nuclear family with one parent working outside the home (if it ever existed), have passed away for most of us. We now have a majority of families being single families, or where both parents are working outside the home. It is not working.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.

Related Article: 8 Natural Stress Relievers To Bring More Peace And Calm Into Your Life 

I teach at a university where many students pride themselves on the “study hard, party hard” lifestyle. This might be a reflection of many of our lifestyles and our busy-ness — that even our means of relaxation is itself a reflection of that same world of overstimulation. Our relaxation often takes the form of action-filled (yet mindless) films, or violent and face-paced sports.

I don’t have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.

W. B. Yeats once wrote:

“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.”

How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?

Read the rest of the article…

9 Popular Food Cravings And What They Say About Your Emotions

woman chocolate

Rather than expressing our emotions, we tend to stuff them down with food, which our bodies translate as comfort and fulfillment.

Scientific research shows that when people have difficulty identifying the emotion they’re experiencing and ways to deal with it, they’re more prone to binge eating. The more readily we can express our emotions, the healthier our bodies, hearts and minds will be.

Cravings are a window to your inner landscape. By deciphering the real meaning of your cravings, you can get insight into what’s truly gnawing at you from within. These are some patterns I’ve noticed based on my 20 years of working as a health expert.

An estimated one in 10 Americans suffers from depression, many of these people take prescription drugs to manage the disease. Fortunately, there are several foods and herbs that can provide relief from depression without the costs—both financial and otherwise—of prescription drugs. Here are 4 natural foods for fighting feelings of depression.

1. Baked sweets (pastries, cakes, candy, pies, etc.)

Sweet cravings are probably the most frequent craving people report to me. These people are often working too long and hard, moving from one to-do list item to another and feeling exhausted.

The real reason for this craving is they aren’t experiencing enough joy — it’s evaporated into their daily grind.

Alternative: Find an activity you enjoy and can indulge in for 30 minutes per day. Try taking a walk in the park, reading a good book, or treating yourself to a foot massage. Once you begin to let yourself have joy in your life, you won’t be on the hunt for those sweet foods to do the trick.

2. Spicy

Those who like spicy food, even to the point at which their eyes start tearing, are most likely looking for intensity and action in their lives.

They love to be on the go — going to movies, traveling to distant countries, exploring new restaurants. When they haven’t made the time to do these things, spicy food becomes the option to “get them going”.

Alternative: What are small steps that you can change to give you the shift you need to feel “alive”? Trying stepping out there and taking a dance class that you haven’t tried before, like Zumba, or even venturing out to the latest blockbuster action movie!

3. Salty

When we eat lots of salt, we move the water in our bodies. Salt is like a magnet for movement and flow, which is important for helping people to “go with the flow” of life and relax.

Alternative: Find ways that you can sink into the moments of life and reflect. Try deep breathing, running, or meditating. You may even want to try watercolor painting — using the water to flow with your creativity!

Most of us have, at one point in our lives, experienced intense cravings for unhealthy foods. Whether it be for chocolate, donuts, salty snacks or refined carbs, our bodies appear to want them — and we’re often all too happy to submit. There’s just one problem: Eating these foods doesn’t seem to end the cravings. What is going on here? Perhaps your food cravings are a sign you need certain minerals. Here’s what to eat instead.

4. Caffeine

We want to be in the midst of it all, absorbing all the information we can, and remembering it so that we can be at the “forefront”. At the core of all this mental juggling, is mental exhaustion.

Caffeine gives the false impression of keeping it all together and being mentally sharp, but really, it exhausts us further — especially in excessive amounts.

Alternative: Rather than that next cup of coffee or soda, give your mind a break and get some extra rest. Try taking a nap or going to bed early, then you’ll really be able to concentrate.

5. Crunchy/crispy foods

Crunch, crunch. With every crunch, it’s a cry of “hey, look at me!”

Perhaps we’re angry and want to “snap” back at someone, but feel restrained. We might also want a “pat” on the back for a job well done. Crunchy foods give us the artificial center stage.

Alternative: See if you can understand what you really want to say. Write in a journal and when you’re ready, try to express what you’ve been bottling up in a manner that’s a win-win for all.

Read the rest of the article…

Tibetan Caves Are Overrated

city meditation

CREDIT Adam Jones
Model: Niels Alpert

I sit on my green cushion resting on my yellow rug that covers the honey-wood floor in the front room of my rented space, and close my eyes to meditate.  A single thread of incense smoke, sweet and pervasive, rises as if pulled heavenward by some unseen force, like a wispy prayer into the ether.  Two large candles on my alter burn a soft glow as they sit like sentinels on either side of the frantic list I’ve placed there, my list of nerves and worries, big hopes and sterile to-dos. I like to write it all down and put it on the alter. The list seems to be the CliffsNotes version of a prayer I hope lifts upward, like the smoke.  Plus, once I’ve written it down, maybe it will free up my mind to not think for a while and just be present.

I am about eye level to one of the several windows in this room-that is, if my eyes were open. But they are not.  I’m trying to be present.  As I sit, I hear traffic pass like waves, the current of the arteries of our city. I hear a neighbor in the laundry room directly below me, stuffing wet laundry with heavy thuds into the dryer and then listen as the dryer buzzes to life and starts to breathe. Dakota, the German shepherd who lives in the apartment above me, groans and barks excitedly as the pizza deliverer searches for apartment number 1, not mine.

No, I don’t live in a cave in Tibet. Nor would I want t0–harder for the pizza delivery guys to find. These city distractions are not distractions at all but merely the environment in which I choose to live. And I guess that’s the point, right? Many of us live in busy places and despite loud laundry, neighbors, barking dogs, and cars, one can find peace in the gentle hum of a city.

When I visit my family in New York, I open the window from the apartment in the high-rise and listen to the sounds of the city, one long, sustained exhale. I actually find it quite peaceful. Part of the quest for peace involves creating a comfortable tolerance for things that would otherwise create aversion. We don’t have to love them, but with many things that are part of our everyday environment, we can simply be present in the moment and witness them. We are but one cell in this larger being, the community, the city, the world. We can circulate and find purpose and stillness in that motion.

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in Salt Lake City, Utah 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.

Easy ZZZ’s: How to Tune Out the Noise of the Day For Optimal Rest

sleepwellLast week I trekked over 1700 miles cross-country to move from Chicago to Mesa, Arizona and let me tell ya…moving in your mid 30’s is nothing like the fun and whimsical, “fit what you can in the back of your Jeep” moves I remember in my 20’s.

With all the expected stresses of relocating, and not to mention the time-zone change, my body, mind and spirit have been in quite the whirlwind for the past week. The energy here is higher, yet calmer. I feel more grounded amidst living out of boxes and not knowing where any of my shit is.

Needless to say, my sleeping schedule has been a been weary since the move and I’ve put into action a little ditty that has really helped me get back into a healthy sleep pattern and turn off all the noise of the day telling me to unpack just one more box or asking if I remembered to call the gas company.

I first stopped what I was doing and just took a huge breath; soaking in the moment and appreciating the beauty all around me. I had wanted to move back to Arizona for so long and here I am…I did it! Just taking a moment to look back on how far I’ve come with putting a simple intention in motion proves to me once again the power of manifesting from the heart-space.

So, I’d recommend breath-work in times of stress or when you can’t seem to get your mind to slow down or stop racing. This is particularly helpful when you lying in bed, trying to fall asleep. Simply taking deep breaths and consciously listening to each breath proactively calms the mind and gives it something soothing to focus on; so it stops with the annoying, random racing thoughts that keep you up at night.

The next day after having that awesome “I’m home” moment, I couldn’t find my favorite crystal cluster (it’s HUGE, too!) and I then swore somehow, someway it was left behind for me to never see it again. I was literally freaking out inside and feeling quite anxious. So, I went and sat out on my patio and meditated on it. I asked the Universe where the heck my crystal was! 🙂 I gave myself space to get away from the anxiety of “loss” and was then able to create a space of “clarity”.

After about 7 minutes of meditation or so, I remembered that I had put it inside of a shoebox, wrapped securely in a kitchen towel. I had already placed that particular shoebox in the closet the day before! I opened the box, un-wrapped my crystal and immediately started laughing hysterically at myself! (Hey, you have to, right?) I then thanked the Universe for putting up with my shenanigans.

Needless to say, meditation is an incredible way to calm the mind and clear away the noise of the day that we all tend to carry well into the late evening. With regular practice, the mind will naturally get into the rhythm of starting to calm down and meditation will get easier for you. It is not about having NO thoughts; it’s about letting those thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky and coming back to your calm center.
The “crystal incident” occured about 3 or 4 days ago, and now that I’m about 70% unpacked and am starting to be able to actually enjoy my new place, I’ve just been FLOODED with a sense of gratitude! It’s literally brought tears to my eyes more than once how appreciative I am for my life and where I am. I look back and see how very far that I’ve come and I’m overcome with a feeling of joy for hanging in there and never giving up on myself!

                Giving thanks for all that we have can be the most empowering feeling in the Universe. I can think of nothing else that connects you to a more wondrous sense of all-knowing, all-loving, Universal acceptance than to truly be thankful for your life; the good and the bad…and to always look at things through eyes of wonder and trust, expecting nothing, but knowing that hardships will always contain lessons and will thus reward you with strength and integrity. The act of taking charge of the moment to tell your brain, “No! I want to be appreciative, not worry-some!” will clear away a TON of noise from your day!

I sense that this is the beginning of a new chapter in my life and I’m also grateful to get to share that fact with all of you. Thank you for your continued awesomeness and for coming along with me on my journey this day and every Saturday. Much love to you all. XoxoX


TamaraRant_150x200Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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Some of the Most Powerful Energy Healing Techniques Are Already in Our Toolbox!

Some of the Most Powerful Energy Healing Techniques are Right in Your Toolbox! Barbara Sinclair, CLN

I’ve been a student and practitioner of energy healing for several years. I’ve learned so many different techniques and modalities that I’ve lost count. I love both giving energy healing and receiving it. A session with a trustworthy healer can absolutely help shift energies and guide us to living a more balanced life.

But lately, I’ve come to realize that some of the most powerful energy healing techniques are already in our toolbox, just waiting for us to dig in.

Let me start at the top of my own list. Singing and dancing! Oh, yeah. I mean, what gets energy flowing and activating the chakras better than these two activities?

I recently wrote about a life-changing experience I had that involved opening my mouth and singing in front of a group of strangers. Not only did I conquer a lifelong fear, but I know for sure that my chakras were jumping with joy – especially chakra #5 (the throat chakra).

It was sound healing at its best.

I used to also be terrified of dancing in front of other people. I was the person hiding in the bathroom when the band started to play at weddings. But one day (in my 50’s!) I wandered into a movement class at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, and just like the singing experience, my fear of dancing was miraculously wiped away.

Every morning, I put on my noise-cancelling headphones (best money ever spent) and play the Dance Playlist on my iPod. I sing, I dance, I skip, I hula hoop, I jump on my mini-trampoline. Talk about moving Prana in the body!

This clears my energy and makes my chakras hum better than anything else I do. If you pay attention, you can feel the energy shift.

It never fails to wash away sadness, anxiety, fear, or anything else that’s keeping me stuck. Sometimes it releases so much that I’m crying and laughing at the same time.

And when afternoon rolls around and I need a pick-me-up, I launch right back into my routine.

I went through a period in my life where silence was golden. I didn’t want to listen to music, let alone dance to it. I craved silence and stillness. I’m grateful that I honored this and also grateful that I moved through it. Because singing and dancing can be so much fun!

Now, I have a healthy balance of silence and song, stillness and movement. It’s a lovely way to move through my day.

My trusty bike is another powerful energy healing tool for me. I hop on it and BAM! creativity starts to flow. Some of my best ideas have been birthed while riding my old pink bike.

So, when you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, or weighted down, reach into your own toolbox and know that the most powerful healing can be accessed by your own actions.

What’s in your personal energy healing toolbox? Please share!

Much love,

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. Barbara posts a new article every Wednesday morning on CLN. To read her former articles, click here.

This article (Some of the Most Powerful Energy Healing Techniques Are Already in Our Toolbox!) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment. It is your responsibility to research the accuracy, completeness, and usefulness of all opinions, services, and other information found on this site. Barbara Sinclair or Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequence resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction you take based on the information found on or material linked to on this site. Everyone’s body chemistry is different and what works for one, may not work for another. Please take care whenever making changes regarding your health. Though all information is reviewed carefully, Barbara Sinclair or Conscious Life News cannot guarantee, or take responsibility for, the effectiveness of the ideas discussed on this site.



Integrative Health: Learn The Mind-Body Benefits Of Yoga

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness,1 16 million adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, and it is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S.2

The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is more than feeling sad. Diagnosis requires a medical evaluation, and symptoms include both physical and cognitive functional changes.3 However this number pales to the number of people who suffer any form of depression.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly 24 million people experience some form of depression, costing over $210 billion in 2010.4 The financial burden included the cost of lost work, direct and indirect medical costs and suicide-related costs.

If not effectively treated, depression may become a chronic condition. While antidepressant medications are commonly prescribed, they come with a list of side effects that may be dangerous, including low blood pressure, muscle cramps, aggression, confusion and decreased vision.5,6

Not treating depression is also dangerous to your health. Before stopping antidepressants you may have already be prescribed, please talk with your physician.

Recent research demonstrates positive results in the treatment of depression using yoga. You may incorporate yoga with any current medication regimen. This may help to reduce the need for medication to treat depression.

Yoga Intervention May Ease Depression

Unfortunately, antidepressant medications not only come with a list of significant side effects, but 40 percent of individuals with major depressive disorder treated with antidepressants do not achieve full remission.7

In an evaluation of clinical trials, researchers found 34 percent of participants did not achieve full remission when they chose to change antidepressant medications.

In a recent study,8 researchers studied the effect of Iyengar yoga classes on participants who suffered from depression. The study split 30 people between 18 and 64 years into two groups.

Both groups contained individuals who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder and were either not taking medication or had been on the same medication for three months.9

One group was assigned to take a 90-minute yoga class three times a week, plus participate in a 30-minute session at home four times a week. The second group participated in two 90-minute classes and three 30-minute at home sessions.10

After three months both groups experienced a reduction in symptoms by at least 50 percent,11 with no differences in compliance.12

Not surprisingly, the group who participated seven days a week experienced the greatest reduction in symptoms. Many of the participants mentioned the larger time commitment was challenging, which influenced the researchers to recommend two classes each week.

According to Dr. Chris Streeter, study author, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, yoga has the advantage of avoiding side effects from drug treatments. He commented:

“While most pharmacologic treatment for depression target monoamine systems, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, this intervention targets the parasympathetic and gamma aminobutyric acid system and provides a new avenue for treatment.”

Benefits of Yoga in Treatment of Depression

In this study, researchers advised the participants to use a specific form of yoga that focuses on detail and precise alignment of posture combined with deep breathing.13

Prior studies using other forms of yoga for treatment of depression have had positive results. Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, reviewed the findings and commented:

“The mechanism of action is similar to other exercise techniques that activate the release of ‘feel good’ brain chemicals … [and may] reduce immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.

It has been demonstrated that ‘mindful’ movement — conscious awareness — has a much more beneficial impact on the central nervous system.”

The findings from the current study corroborate findings from a 2016 study from the University of Pennsylvania,14 in which researchers found participants who suffered from depression found significant relief using yoga. The patients in that study had an inadequate response to antidepressant medications.

One of the goals of the study from Boston University was to identify a “dose-response relationship” and develop a standard against which future studies could be established to evaluate the efficacy of incorporating yoga and other types of controlled breathing exercises into the treatment protocols for depression.

Major Depressive Disorder May Have a High Cost

Many people affected by depression often fail to consult a physician or seek help to confirm their illness and get treatment. This may be a result of societal pressure to deny mental health issues, or it may be the result poor access to care. When depression goes untreated, it can be both debilitating and life threatening.

Depression may interfere with personal and work relationships, reduce work or academic performance and may affect your physical health as well.

Depression reduces your ability to care for yourself properly and make adequate decisions about your health, including nutrition and sleep. Imbalances in nutrition, weight fluctuations and poor sleep habits may lead to compromised immune function.15

Specific medical conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke are linked to a higher risk of major depressive disorder. Depression may also lead to drug or alcohol abuse.16

Up to 70 percent of people who commit suicide are clinically depressed,17 and it’s estimated that more than 90 percent of people who suffer from thoughts of suicide experience a combination of depression and substance abuse.18 Yoga focuses on bringing harmony between your mind and your body.

The origins of yoga are believed to have existed before many other belief systems were born.19 Today it is commonly used as a form of therapy or exercise to achieve better health and greater fitness. Yoga has spread throughout the world through the teachings of yoga masters and personalities, including Iyengar yoga.

Sixteen million people in just the U.S. practice yoga every year.20 The principles of all yoga practices include relaxation, breathing, diet, exercise and meditation, which people use to help reduce stress, improve fitness and gain clarity.21

There are several different types of yoga and within each type teachers may identify with a style, tradition or lineage.22

Stress Reduction Is Important for the Treatment of Depression

Stress has an impact on your mental and physical health. For instance, a study led by Massachusetts General’s Institute of Technology found patients who regularly tried to relax and achieve a relaxation response had a 43 percent decrease in their use of the healthcare system.23 The researchers found those with gastrointestinal disorders, neurological disease, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorders had the most dramatic reductions.

The researchers used a patient group of over 4,400 who they examined over a two-year period. They compared those against more than 13,000 people who did not participate in the Relaxation Response Resiliency Program. Relaxation and the reduction of a stress response improved the health of the participants.

Chronic stress may trigger depression in some people and resilience in others. One study found 20 percent of mice who were repeatedly exposed to stress became depressed.24 The mice who suffered more depression also had greater activity in the medial prefrontal cortex of their brain. The mice who didn’t have depressive symptoms also didn’t have changes in their brain.

This study builds on previous studies25 that demonstrate stress is related to depression. Initially stress has a direct effect on your mood and sleep habits, which may lead to cognitive changes such as decreased concentration. However, it is the indirect effects that may trigger depression.26

These indirect effects may include a disruption in healthy coping strategies, disrupted relationships that may have offered support, taking on unhealthy coping strategies such as alcohol or drugs, and disrupted routines. Reducing stress through deep breathing exercises and yoga may have a significant impact on preventing depressive symptoms.

Yoga Has a History of Improving Mental and Physical Health

Practicing yoga improves both your physical and mental health. Past studies have demonstrated yoga improves back pain, flexibility and core strength,27 without side effects or drug interactions. Yoga has also had some limited success in management of cancer related symptoms.28

Aside from core strength and flexibility, the greatest improvements are seen in decreased stress, anxiety and improved mood with the practice of yoga. Research has linked these improvements to changes in gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in your central nervous system. GABA is responsible for blocking nerve impulses, telling the adjoining nerve cells not to “fire” or send an impulse.

Without GABA your nerve cells would fire frequently and easily, triggering anxiety disorders, seizures and conditions such as addiction, headache and cognitive impairments.29 Research has identified the practice of yoga as associated with an increase in thalamic GABA levels.30 They found using yoga postures would create a positive correlation between increased GABA and improvements in mood and reduction in anxiety. They concluded:31

“Given that pharmacologic agents that increase the activity of the GABA system are prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety, the reported correlations are in the expected direction. The possible role of GABA in mediating the beneficial effects of yoga on mood and anxiety warrants further study.”

Improvements in stress response, elevated mood and function and a possible role in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder are also attributed through scientific study to the use of yoga poses and breathing.32 Yoga also made a significant difference in depression of addicts going through rehabilitation.33

Tips to Beating Depression With Yoga and Other Mind-Body Techniques

Addressing the issue of clinical depression is critical to your health. While medications may reduce the immediate sadness for a short time, side effects and poor long-term results make opting for natural choices a much better option for your health and wellness. Here are several ways to address your mind-body connection to make a positive change in your mental health:34


Follow the recommendations of the study from Boston University and do two to three yoga sessions a week and practice at home when you don’t go to class. Focus on yoga classes that stress controlled breathing techniques and end your practice with a period of relaxation and deep breathing.


Studies show there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity. There’s also a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place.

Exercising creates new GABA-producing neurons that help induce a natural state of calm. It also boosts your levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which help buffer the effects of stress.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

EFT is a form of psychological acupressure. Gentle tapping with the fingertips is used to transfer kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem and voice positive affirmations.

This works to clear the “short-circuit” — the emotional block — from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.

Mindful Music

The practice of yoga incorporates the use of mindful breathing, or staying in the present moment. Research using mindfulness skills listening to music enabled participants in the study to have greater self-awareness and emotional regulation.35 The practice also strengthened the bond between client and therapist.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT has been used successfully to treat depression,36 and is recommended for depression triggered by the stress of moving from one culture and country to another.37 In this case, the therapy assumes mood is related to the pattern of thought. CBT attempts to change mood and reverse depression by directing thought patterns.


The mind-body connection works in both directions. In other words, keeping your gut microbiome healthy has a significant effect on your moods, emotions and brain. You can read more at my previous article, “Mental Health May Depend on the Health of Your Gut Flora.”

Biofeedback and Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Biofeedback and progressive muscle relaxation may also help to reduce stress levels and therefore a primary environmental trigger for depression.

In biofeedback, electrical sensors attached to your skin allow you to monitor your biological changes, such as heart rate, and this feedback can help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation. It can also teach you to control your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension through your mind.

Biofeedback is commonly used in the treatment of stress related conditions such as migraine and tension headaches, fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety. Progressive muscle relaxation may achieve the same level of stress reduction through tensing and relaxing all the major muscle groups from head to toe, thereby helping you to recognize muscle tension.


Visualization and guided imagery have been used for decades by elite athletes prior to an event, successful business people, and cancer patients — all to achieve better results through convincing your mind you have already achieved successful results.38,39 Similar success has been found in people with depression.40

Neurostructural Integration (NST)

This innovative practice originated in Australia where Michael Nixon Levy developed a technique of using a series of gentle moves on specific muscles at precise points to create an energy flow and vibrations between the points. Theoretically, triggering your autonomic nervous system, your body communicates better with itself and balances tissues, muscles and organs.

The primary objective is to remove pain and dysfunctional physiological conditions by restoring the structural integrity of the body. In essence, NST provides your body with an opportunity to reintegrate on many levels, and thus return to and maintain normal homeostatic limits on a daily basis.

NST is done with a light touch and can be done through clothing. There are pauses between sets of moves to allow your body to assimilate the energy and vibrations. To learn more, please review the article, “Gentle Hands Can Restore Your Health.”

Energy Of The Heart: 13 Simple Steps To Manifest True Love

By: Zdravko Lukovski | Enlightenment Portal

Manifesting love is a simple thing to do if you know how to do it. But what are the right steps? How to manifest love doing the right things?

I was once asking myself these questions… I had a downswing in my romantic life and for a longer period (few years…) I was literally repelled towards women. That happened after my heart was broken and I was really lost – I didn’t know what to do. However, there was one very important thing that was probably the #1 reason why today I’m living the life of my dreams when it comes to my romantic relationships – and that is – I NEVER for a second lost my hope and belief that true love indeed exists and that I WILL find my soul mate!

Related Article: 7 Ways To Create More Love And Affection In Your Life

I’ll write about my personal story perhaps in some other article – it’s actually one of the most amazing love stories you’ll ever hear about! But more about that at later…

Manifesting love seems to be a problem for so many people, and that’s exactly why I wrote this article, to give you the tools, the methods, the blueprint – and to let you know that you CAN have anything you want…

How to attract the ideal partner for you? How to manifest love the right way? How to utilize the power of the Law of attraction and the almighty, all-knowing, and all-powerful Universe?

Keep reading until the end of this article and you’ll have all the answers to all of these and many more questions…

Related Article: 3 Life Lessons Of The Heart Chakra For More Love And Compassion 

Understanding our Problem

Indeed, life is a fleeting thing and as years pass, we realize that new responsibilities and obligations are waiting for us. We need to start a family, have kids and watch them grow. I believe that this is, or at least it should be, a top priority for every person on this planet.

Read the rest of the article…

13 Natural Stress Solutions: Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve To Improve Your Mental Health

By: Jordan Fallis | Optimal Living Dynamics

“By developing an understanding of the workings of your vagus nerve, you may find it possible to work with your nervous system rather than feel trapped when it works against you.”

— Dr. Arielle Schwartz, Clinical Psychologist

Stimulating my vagus nerve has played a key role in the management of my mental health over the years.

What exactly is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body.

It connects your brain to many important organs throughout the body, including the gut (intestines, stomach), heart and lungs.

In fact, the word “vagus” means “wanderer” in Latin, which accurately represents how the nerve wanders all over the body and reaches various organs.

Related Article: Explore The Wonders Of The Vagus Nerve To Learn Natural Therapies For Epilepsy And Much More! 

The vagus nerve is also a key part of your parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system. It influences your breathing, digestive function and heart rate, all of which can have a huge impact on your mental health.

But what you really need to pay special attention to is the “tone” of your vagus nerve.
Vagal tone is an internal biological process that represents the activity of the vagus nerve.

Increasing your vagal tone activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and having higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.

In 2010, researchers discovered a positive feedback loop between high vagal tone, positive emotions, and good physical health. In other words, the more you increase your vagal tone, the more your physical and mental health will improve, and vice versa (5).

“It’s almost like yin and yang. The vagal response reduces stress. It reduces our heart rate and blood pressure. It changes the function of certain parts of the brain, stimulates digestion, all those things that happen when we are relaxed.”

— Dr. Mladen Golubic, MD, Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic

What’s interesting is that studies have even shown that vagal tone is passed on from mother to child. Mothers who are depressed, anxious and angry during their pregnancy have lower vagal activity. And once they give birth to their child, the newborn also has low vagal activity and low dopamine and serotonin levels (1-3).

Your vagal tone can be measured by tracking certain biological processes such as your heart rate, your breathing rate, and your heart rate variability (HRV).

When your heart rate variability (HRV) is high, your vagal tone is also high. They are correlated with each other (53-55).

You can increase your HRV by using the EmWave2 device. 

Some researchers actually use the EmWave2 to measure vagal tone in their studies.

If you’re vagal tone is low, don’t worry – you can take steps to increase it by stimulating your vagus nerve. This will allow you to more effectively respond to the emotional and physiological symptoms of your brain and mental illness.

I’ve seen it firsthand with a number of clients.

Stimulating the vagus nerve and increasing vagal tone has been shown to help treat a wide variety of brain and mental health conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders 
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Migraines 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Tinnitus 
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Autism 
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Personality disorders 
  • Heroin seeking behaviour 
  • Poor memory
  • Mood disorders in the elderly 
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder 
  • Severe mental diseases 
  • Traumatic brain injury 
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome 

For people with treatment-resistant depression, the FDA has even approved a surgically-implanted device that periodically stimulates the vagus nerve. And it works (6-9).

But you don’t need to go down that route.

You can enjoy the benefits of vagus nerve stimulation naturally by following these 13 steps.

Related Article: Super Spice Turmeric: Learn Simple And Effective Ways To Improve Your Mental Health 

1. Cold Exposure

Acute cold exposure has been shown to activate the vagus nerve and activate cholinergic neurons through vagus nerve pathways (10).

Researchers have also found that exposing yourself to cold on a regular basis can lower your sympathetic “fight or flight” response and increase parasympathetic activity through the vagus nerve (11).

I often take cold showers and go outside in cold temperatures with minimal clothing.

Try finishing your next shower with at least 30 seconds of cold water and see how you feel. Then work your way up to longer periods of time.

It’s painful to do, but the lingering effects are worth it.

You can also ease yourself into it by simply sticking your face in ice cold water.

2. Deep and Slow Breathing

Deep and slow breathing is another way to stimulate your vagus nerve.

It’s been shown to reduce anxiety and increase the parasympathetic system by activating the vagus nerve (51-52).

Most people take about 10 to 14 breaths each minute. Taking about 6 breaths over the course of a minute is a great way to relieve stress. You should breathe in deeply from your diaphragm. When you do this, your stomach should expand outward. Your exhale should be long and slow. This is key to stimulating the vagus nerve and reaching a state of relaxation.

The best way to know if you’re on the right track is by using the EmWave2 device. It’s a biofeedback device that assist you in pacing your breathing. I previously wrote about the benefits of using the device here.

I also just recently discovered the HeartRate+ Coherence app. It’s not as good at the EmWave2 but it’s similar and cheaper. You can get it through the Apple app store or the Google Play store.

3. Singing, Humming, Chanting and Gargling

The vagus nerve is connected to your vocal cords and the muscles at the back of your throat.

Singing, humming, chanting and gargling can activate these muscles and stimulate your vagus nerve.

And this has been shown to increase heart-rate variability and vagal tone (12).

I often gargle water before swallowing it. This is discussed more in Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another alternative treatment that has been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve (46).

I’m a really big fan of auricular acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture is when needles are inserted into ear. I’d recommend trying to find a health practitioner in your area who provides it, especially if you’re weening off psychiatric medication. It really helped me the first time I came off antidepressants. I was surprised.

Research shows that ear acupuncture stimulates the vagus nerve, increases vagal activity and vagal tone, and can help treat “neurodegenerative diseases via vagal regulation” (45).

In my experience, ear acupuncture is more effective than regular acupuncture. I’m not sure why. I’ve just personally noticed more benefits from ear acupuncture.

I also use this acupuncture mat at home to relax before bed.

5. Yoga and Tai Chi

Yoga and tai chi are two “mind-body” relaxation techniques that work by stimulating the vagus nerve and increasing the activity of your parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system.

Studies have shown that yoga increases GABA, a calming neurotransmitter in your brain. Researchers believe it does this by “stimulating vagal afferents”, which increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (13-18).

Researchers have also found that yoga stimulates the vagal nerve and therefore should be practiced by people who struggle with depression and anxiety (19).

Despite all the great research, I’m personally not a big fan of yoga. A lot of people swear by it but it’s just not for me. I prefer tai chi.

Tai chi has also been shown to increase heart rate variability, and researchers think this means it can “enhance vagal modulation” (20).

6. Probiotics

It’s becoming increasingly clear to researchers that gut bacteria improve brain function by affecting the vagus nerve (27).

In one study, animals were given the probiotic Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, and researchers found positive changes to the GABA receptors in their brain, a reduction in stress hormones, and less depression and anxiety-like behaviour.

The researchers also concluded that these beneficial changes between the gut and the brain were facilitated by the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve was removed in other mice, the addition of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus to their digestive systems failed to reduce anxiety, stress, and improve mood (25).

Another study found that the probiotic Bifidobacterium Longum normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice by acting through the vagus nerve (26).

I personally take the probiotic Prescript Assist. It’s my favourite probiotic.

But it doesn’t contain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium Longum, which were used in the above studies. Here is one probiotic supplement that contains both. I personally haven’t tried it though.

I previously wrote about some other ways you can increase the good bacteria in your gut. You can read about that here.

7. Meditation and Neurofeedback

Meditation is my favourite relaxation technique and it can stimulate the vagus nerve and increase vagal tone.

Research shows that meditation increases vagal tone and positive emotions, and promotes feelings of goodwill towards yourself (22, 23).

Another study found that meditation reduces sympathetic “fight or flight” activity and increases vagal modulation (21).

“OM” chanting, which is often done during meditation, has also been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve (24).

I couldn’t find any research demonstrating this, but in my experience, neurofeedback significantly increased my heart-rate variability and vagal tone as measured by my EmWave2.

Now that I’m done neurofeedback, I use the Muse headband to meditate. Similar to neurofeedback, it gives you real-time feedback on your brainwaves. I previously wrote about it here.

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that your body cannot produce itself. They are found primarily in fish and are necessary for the normal electrical functioning of your brain and nervous system.


They often appear in most of my posts because they are so critical for brain and mental health and affect so many aspects of wellness.

They’ve been shown to help people overcome addiction, repair a “leaky brain”, and even reverse cognitive decline.

But researchers have also discovered that omega-3 fatty acids increase vagal tone and vagal activity (35-37, 40).

Studies shown that they reduce heart rate and increase heart rate variability, which means they likely stimulate the vagus nerve (34, 38, 39).

And high fish consumption is also associated with “enhanced vagal activity and parasympathetic predominance” (35).

Read the rest of the article…



Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s by Avoiding Aluminum

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard  | Newsmax Health

A British study may provide proof that aluminum does indeed have a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Although a link had been suspected by many scientists and health authorities for more than 50 years, many claimed there was no definite proof.

In a study of more than 100 human brains, Professor Chris Exley and his research team from Keele University found that some of the highest levels of aluminum ever found were in the brains of people who died of familial Alzheimer’s disease.

Familial Alzheimer’s disease is an uncommon hereditary form of the disease that strikes earlier in life, generally between 50 and 65 years of age. Symptoms may begin occurring as early as 30 years of age.

Exley’s research found that the genetic predisposition to develop early onset Alzheimer’s is linked to the accumulation of aluminum — through everyday exposure — in brain tissue.

“Aluminum is a powerful neurotoxin,” says neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock. “It has been a suspect in Alzheimer’s for many years as well as in the development of dementia, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and other degenerative diseases.”

“Experimental studies show that aluminum can produce all the same changes in the brain we see with Alzheimer’s disease,” he tells Newsmax Health.

“Aluminum is an accumulative neurotoxin, even in small concentrations, and it has a tendency to concentrate in the hippocampus, an area of the brain vital to crucial functions including learning, memory, and behavior.

“Older adults have a lifetime of aluminum accumulation, and their defense systems are much weaker, so they are much more susceptible to the toxic effects of aluminum than younger brains,” he says.

“There is also powerful evidence that aluminum worsens the effects of other toxins, such as pesticides, herbicides, mercury, and fluoride.

“In essence, accumulating aluminum is making your brain age faster,” he says. “You’re inducing all sorts of neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s.”

Below are steps you can take to limit your exposure to aluminum:

Be wary of vaccines. Many vaccines contain aluminum, because it’s believed it stimulates the body to generate disease-fighting antibodies. Many common vaccines, including pneumonia, tetanus, and HPV, contain large doses, says Blaylock. These megadoses can have a devastating effect on the brain.

The incidence of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis is exploding, says Dr. Blaylock: “It’s not due to the aging of the population. It’s due to toxins, like aluminum in vaccines, and no one’s telling the truth.”

Common vaccines that contain aluminum include: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), hepatitis B, hepatitis A, Hib (haemophilus influenza type B), PVC (pneumococcoal conjugate vaccine), and HPV

Toss aluminum pots and pans. Small amounts of aluminum leach into foods, especially those containing acids. “Aluminum is cumulative, and even small doses over time become highly toxic,” says Blaylock.

When aluminum combines with certain acids, such as those in orange juice, aluminum absorption is increased 11-fold,” he said. Replace aluminum and nonstick items with stainless steel or ceramic cookware, and don’t cook in aluminum foil.

[Read more here]