Quick & Easy Video to Reduce Your Hot Flashes with Donna Eden
Don’t let the simplicity of this hot flash-reducing exercise fool you. Donna Eden has worked with thousands of women in her workshops over the years and this exercise has been very effective in helping menopausal women reduce their hot flashes. In the comments section on the youtube page for this video, one female viewer remarked, “I tried this and it worked great! I did it twice when I felt a hot flash starting and it went away! Thank you!” and another added, “I love little hints like this… so simple… so effective!”
One woman even commented that this exercise is good for more than just hot flashes, writing, “This is great just to relax – I showed it to a friend with a headache and it was gone by the time she finished it! I also use some of these exercises with the elderly (I’m a kinesiologist) and they LOVE them!”
The news: It turns out meditating is good for more than just quiet time: It can actually help us fight the cripplingly high stress levels we experience during our busy lives, in the office or elsewhere.
Scientists from Harvard University and the University of Sienna recently found that meditation is so powerful it can change the physiology of a person’s brain, resulting in positive changes like a decrease in anxiety and depression.
The science: Scientists put 24 participants with no history of meditation through an eight-week course on best practices for, “mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR),” fancy science talk for meditation. The course consisted of 2.5 hour sessions each week where participants learned “body scanning, sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindful stretching movements.” The scientists also requested each participant perform at least 45 minutes of meditation each day. MRIs were performed before and after the meditation boot camp, and each participant answered a series of psychological evaluations to determine their stress and anxiety levels before and after the MBSR course as well.
The team compared these results to a control group who went through no meditation training at all during the eight weeks.
The Sanskrit word for immunity – vyadhikshamatva, and its translation – ‘forgiveness of disease.’
In the wisdom of Ayurvedic medicine, the concept of good health is not relegated to just ‘not being sick.’ Our entire constitutions are completely balanced and invigorated when we truly experience ‘good health’. Aside from balancing the doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha, as well as making sure our digestive fire, called agni, is working to its utmost, we can practice some very sound techniques that will help boost immunity.
According to Ayurveda, even the most deadly disease would never affect a person in ‘good health’.
Here are 10 sure-fire ways to make sure you are that person:
1. Keep the Immune System in Proper Balance by Eating the Right Foods
A weakened immune system predisposes one to all types of illness. It is also possible that an immune response becomes overactive or misdirected, targeting the body’s own tissues for foreign invaders and attacking them, such as in cases of cancer.
Our diet can go a long way in balancing this ‘fighting response’ within the body. By absorbing the right nutrients and eliminating the toxins we don’t need, our immune systems stay strong. Consuming leafy greens, highly pigmented fruits, whole grains, as well increasing the consumption of nuts and legumes, you can give the body exactly what it needs to stay strong.
In Ayurveda,ama (store toxins from undigested food) is one of the primary reasons for diseases to develop. If the body is unhealthy or has ama, the name for stored toxins in Sanskrit, then an environment is created in which invaders are encouraged to thrive. Ama can be created from both physical and mental indigestion. (That means that the thoughts you think can be toxic, too!) When too many toxins are stored within us, we are then fertile ground where parasites feed and begin to settle into weak places in the body.
Indigestion and ama formation prevent nutrients from reaching the tissues and weakens immune function. Be sure to detox regularly if you consume lots of unhealthful foods, are exposed to many environmental toxins, or don’t eat a Sattvic diet. While you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian, strictly, those dietary practices are in alignment with Ayurvedic wisdom. Harvard has found that L-carnitine in red meat leads to higher incidence of heart disease, for example.
3. Keep Agni Strong
Your digestive fire, or agni, is vital to true health. Immunity is absolutely influenced by the power of agni, our ability to digest, assimilate, and absorb nutrients in our bodies. If agni is impaired by an imbalance within the tridosha, metabolism is affected and the immune response and natural resistance are always compromised. When we eat things that harm our digestive fire, Ayurvedic practitioners say we are commiting prajnaparabda, a crime against wisdom.
This causes extra ama formation, leading to a toxic environment in the body. This also interferes with the natural intelligence of each cell which is encoded with a will to live, be healthy, and work together as a whole, communicating with the other cells of the body. Ayurveda always strives to restore this intelligence. You can sip hot water, or ginger tea throughout the day to boost agni.
4. Do Yoga and Meditate
There are hundreds of studies which show that yoga and meditation positively affect the immune response in the body. They do so primarily by lowering stress. Yoga is even correlated to healthy gene expression in immune cells. Changes happen quickly, too, according to one Norwegian study. “There are rapid (within two hours of start of practice) and significant gene expression changes… during a comprehensive yoga program.”
5. Limit the Intake of Alcohol
Alcohol can impair white blood cells mobility. Alcohol also combines with red blood cells to create “blood sludging,” in which red blood cells clump together and cause smaller blood vessels to plug up. This reduces the flow of oxygen to many vital organs. With less than an optimal amount of oxygen, your organs and your immune system will not operate at their best.
6. Eat Consistently, at Regular Times Throughout the Day
Regular meals allow the body time to assimilate nourishment and get rid of what it doesn’t want. It also helps the body to feel as if it isn’t ‘starving’ and trigger hormonal responses that are undesirable. This also increases digestive fire.
7. Add Medicinal Herbs
There are thousands of medicinal herbs that boost immunity. Garlic, Echinacea, ginseng, ginger, turmeric, ginkgo biloba, olive leaf, astragalus root, amla, and more are at the ready to help your body defend itself against invaders. Many keep your white blood cell count high, and others act as adaptogens, helping to support the vital organs in whatever way they need help with the most.
You can try Ayurvedic formulas of sitopaladi and mahasudarshan, traditionally used to prevent colds and flu, as well as Western herbs osha and echinacea, which are powerful immunostimulants.
8. Exercise Regularly According to Your Dosha
There are over 5000 years put into the study of which type of exercise if right for your dosha. You may benefit more from going on long walks, while others might benefit from short, quick bursts of activity. The master Ayurvedic physician Charaka wrote, “From physical exercise, one gets lightness, a capacity for work, firmness, tolerance of difficulties, elimination of impurities, and stimulation of digestion.” You can always tailor your physical movement to your specific body and personality type.
9. Get Good Sleep
The body is very busy while you are resting. During deep sleep, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. When we have balanced cycles of rest and activity, our immune cells can regenerate properly. A lack of sleep interrupts this process. It can cause increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and other illnesses.
10. Practice Pranayama
Pranayama is the ancient yogic and Ayurvedic habit of redirecting pranic energy through the breath. Pranayama cleanses and strengthens the physical body while calming and clearing the mind. It is important to practice with the proper posture to allow the breath to move freely in the body. Alternate nostril breathing has been proven with scientific studies to positively affect the immune response in the body. You can also check out these breathing exercises for better immunity.
“Because we cannot scrub our inner body we need to learn a few skills to help cleanse our tissues, organs, and mind. This is the art of Ayurveda.” ~ Sebastian Pole
Whether you’re in class, getting onto your yoga mat, or just getting home from work, it’s not uncommon to overhear someone talking about “getting grounded”.
In practice, grounding is a mechanism seen on three levels. It’s 1) a physical connection to the earth beneath you, 2) a shift in mental focus, allowing you to center your thoughts, and 3) whatever else brings your mind and body to ease in the here and now.
Grounding yourself is a mechanism by which you’re able to stabilize your energies, center your mind, and focus on the moment. As a result, you’re able to take a deep breath, step back, and focus onyou for that very moment – no matter the time and place.
Let’s Start with Yoga
Incorporating the practice of grounding into your life can be done any number of ways, but one of the most recognized and impactful is through the practice of yoga. Through certain yoga poses, this sort of grounding presents your body and mind with the opportunity to release anxieties and physically root yourself to the earth.
The root chakra, in particular, is based entirely on how our bodies are connected to the earth and acts as a natural energy pathway. Through the root, base chakra (pulling from the earth through the feet and into the lower spine), the body maintains an entry point for universal energies and sustains a healthy foundation for your bodily function.
It’s not surprising that, with this concept in mind, Chinese tradition holds a heavy focus on strengthening and sustaining this root point. Earth Qi represents the patterns of energy and the earth’s magnetic field that we are surrounded by. Many exercises that are meant to strengthen the body and mind, including yoga, are done barefoot. A central practice within Chinese tradition includes the growing of a “root”. The Kidney 1 point (also known as the “yong quan point”) involves the opening of a conduit and connection between the earth’s surface and a person’s feet/body.
With yoga as a grounding mechanism, you’re forced to rely on both your mental focus and connection to the earth in order to sustain a balance. A few poses that are particularly helpful in grounding (both mentally and physically) include:
If yoga isn’t always an option given your hectic schedule, don’t worry – there are other options. What’s most important to remember is that grounding is what works for you. Just because the downward dog is what grounds your neighbor, that doesn’t mean it’s the only option out there.
While grounding is partly psychological, it’s also physical and can be done very easily by stepping outside. Our bodies desparately yearn for a healthy connection to nature and to the earth. This connection is what nurtures us, it keeps us alive and energized. More importantly, this connection with nature reminds us what an immaculate world we have around us. As humans, we spend far too much time insulated in our synthetic environments and disconnected from the outside world. This disconnect poses significant risks to our health and wellbeing.
I love all the seasons, and following an Ayurvedic lifestyle by living in harmony with Nature has made me even more aware of the importance of each of them. But if I had to pick a favorite, fall would win – hands down.
It’s ironic that I feel this way because Vata Season always challenges me. Nonetheless, the artist in me is seduced by the beauty of the changing leaves every autumn and I spend a lot of time gazing up at the color-drenched trees.
This time of year often seems to be busier, but according to Ayurvedic principles and many ancient cultures, once November rolls around (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), it’s time to slow down, go within a bit and deeply nurture yourself.
When I looked up the other day to photograph the tree above, I noticed the nest and the busy little resident squirrel scampering around readying him or herself for the cold weather soon to arrive.
With an awareness of the bleak landscape about to appear, I am always grateful for the one last burst of color before the trees become barren.
The month of November also has spiritual significance. It’s said that the veil between our physical world and the spiritual world is thinnest at this time. You may notice that your dreams or meditations are filled with thoughts or memories of loved ones or deceased ancestors.
November 1st is Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in), an ancient Celtic holiday which marks the end of the harvest and the preparation for winter, and also celebrates our connection with the spirit world. Halloween was derived from this ancient pagan tradition which takes place on the eve before Samhain.
We are leaving behind the warm bright light of summer and early fall and headed towards the dark cold days and nights of late autumn and winter. We needn’t be afraid of the dark for there is beauty in the dark, as well. If the seed didn’t rest in the dark cool earth, there would be no blooming flower to greet us in the spring.
Just like Mother Nature, we need to honor our own cycles and rhythms. I have learned to love (or at least appreciate!) the cold dark winter months which are approaching here in the Northeast. I know many of you shudder at this thought and are perhaps frantically making plans to get out of town. But I like to burrow in, read and write, deepen my sleep, and concentrate on nurturing myself – body, mind and spirit. This year I hope to do a silent retreat somewhere deep in Nature.
At the very least, give this some consideration and plant the seed in your mind that there is a reason for man to be in sync with all of the seasons like the rest of Nature. Here are a few tips to remember:
Eat seasonal, local foods as much as possible.Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, provides us with just the right foods for our body.
Limit indoor lighting and computer/TV use at night as it interferes with our natural sleep rhythms. Light more candles and turn in early.
Favor gently cooked warm foods over cold and raw foods, especially if you have a lot of Vata in your constitution.
Exercise should be of a more gentle, nurturing nature rather than intense and excessive. Think yoga, t’ai chi, qigong, walking, etc.
Consider deepening your spiritual connectionthrough a meditation practice.
Use a light box and supplement with Vitamin Dif you are prone to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Bundle up and take some solitary walks in Nature. Nothing is more deeply restorative.
The irony here is that so many of us get extra busy and things get chaotic as the holidays approach. I let go of that stress a few years ago and it has made such a difference in my life.
If slowing down and going within seems ridiculously impossible for you at this time, at the very least, set aside a few minutes each day to close your eyes (meditating is ideal), do some deep breathing and try to let go.
Sending you all some calming energy to help you during this seasonal transition.
Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, AADP certified Holistic Health Counselor and Energy Healing Practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda. Barbara was able to heal herself from fibromyalgia by learning and implementing ancient holistic practices, including Ayurveda. She is now pain-free and eager to share these methods with her readers and clients. You can contact her for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session, or to read more articles on her blog, at barbarasinclair.com. Sign up HERE to receive Barbara’s monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips.
Beyond Deterministic Genes: The Morphogenetic Field
Our genes have long been ballyhooed as either a death-sentence or the Midas touch of genius, bestowing upon us pristine health and an agile mind, or the deterministic outcome of cancer, neurological disease, or various other birth defects. But what if there was something else helping to determine our fate? What if our genes were merely building blocks, and a greater intelligence was in charge of whether or not we can throw a basketball from the free throw line and get nothing but net every time, or die at the age of 46 like every other person in our family’s history, due to a genetic predisposition for cardiac arrest?
Do Genes Make the Man – Entirely?
Genetic determinism is the idea that genes, to the exclusion of environment or the field of our awareness and experience, determine how an organism turns out. You could call it the extreme version of nature vs. nurture, wherein our DNA tells us everything about what something will be.
The aforementioned idea decides that generational programming accounts for everything. We’ve become so obsessed with genes, in fact, that we test for everything – from BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes for breast or ovarian cancer, to simply testing our DNA for clues into our ancestral roots. It isn’t as though this information isn’t useful, or even fun, but it can be deceptively limiting. While we can learn if our great-great grandparents were likely to fish or have red hair, we can also find less savory ‘genes’ that foreshadow more somber outcomes.
One of the biggest intellectual roadblocks to overcome in healing ourselves, or even understanding the Universe fully, is based on this assumption: that our genes determine our reality, or the likelihood our lives and health will follow a predetermined path. This assumption is based on yet another erroneous fallacy – that we are just a combination of mechanical, chemical, and hormonal interactions – what Newtonian science would call ‘modern medicine.’
Even after mapping out 3.2 billion base pairs of DNA in the human genome project, we were no closer to figuring out how to heal aberrant DNA for one reason. While many scientists were looking at the four single letters in a protein recipe and how they carry out bodily functions, they forgot to make room for consciousness.
Consciousness, Thoughts, and Intentions
Instead of our lives being determined by our genes, they are more likely determined by what science now calls epigenetics.
Our genes grow in a soup of resonant fields created by thoughts and intentions. Rupert Sheldrake, the noted biologist and author of over 80 scientific papers on the subject, has been railing against mainstream science, trying to break through its dogma on the subject for decades:
“Morphic resonance is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance. Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, which are more like TV receivers than video recorders, tuning into influences from the past.
And biological inheritance need not all be coded in the genes, or in epigenetic modifications of the genes; much of it depends on morphic resonance from previous members of the species. Thus each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future.”
Sheldrake calls this field, ‘the extended mind’. He has defended his theory over and over again from people who call him a crackpot or a whack job. His latest book, Science Set Free, discusses his theory to great extent, but for now, we can discuss it summarily.
Dr. Bruce Lipton, a controversial biologist, has pointed out that one set of gene blueprints can result in over 30,000 different possible outcomes. In multiple adoption studies conducted in the 1880s and 1990s, it was found that children in the same family have an important causal role in gene expression, regardless of their biological origins.
Genes Are Only a Piece of the Puzzle
Researchers found that even children who did not have particular gene combinations that would predispose them to certain types of cancer – but were adopted into families that had attitudes or prevalent emotions that resulted in this health outcome – also often developed the same cancers as their host families did. Social context also played a significant role in whether these adopted children developed a disease. It was surprisingly uncommon for the genes themselves to play out deterministic health scenarios.
Genes are not locked into a specific code. Gene activity can change on a daily basis, and does. The heretofore accepted scientific paradigm of genetic determinacy is being turned on its head. As Lipton explains in a lecture:
“The name protein means ‘primary element’ (proteios, Gr.) for proteins are the primary components of all plant and animal cells. A human is made of ~100,000 different proteins. Proteins are linear ‘chains,’ whose molecular ‘links’ are comprised of amino acid molecules. Each of the 20 different amino acids has a unique shape, so that when linked together in a chain, the resulting proteins fold into elaborate 3-dimensional ‘wire sculptures.’ The protein sculpture’s pattern is determined by the sequence of its amino acid links.
The balancing of electromagnetic charges along the protein’s chain serves to control the ‘final’ shape of the sculpture. The unique shape of a protein sculpture is referred to as its ‘conformation.’ In the manner of a lock and key, protein sculptures compliment the shape of environmental molecules (which include other proteins). When proteins interlock with the complementary environmental molecules, they assemble into complex structures (similar to the way cogged ‘gears’ intermesh to make a watch).”
This and other discoveries made in the last hundred years have allowed scientists willing to go against mainstream to understand that the ‘primary components’ of life are still orchestrated by something more.
Bound Together, Appearing Separate
The morphic resonance theory postulates that we are bound together even though we appear separate, and it is in this field that communication (among cells, DNA, particles, etc.) takes place. While Newtonian science explained the theory of gravitation, outlining the invisible force which holds all things together, the same scientific reasoning also tended to divide everything into separate, mechanistic, material categories. Why is an apple different than a tomato, or a bee different from a persimmon flower? How does the DNA know to make a tree or an ant? A human being or a salamander?
The word ‘morphic’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘form,’ and the morphogentic field determines how things take form. It doesn’t just organize living things, but also inanimate, non-sentient matter. While genes play an important part in organizing us into things, they don’t explain how the organization itself happens. After all, apes and humans, fruit flies and worms are all very similar, genetically.
The theory of morphogenesis supposes that something imposes a pattern of organization on a field – producing specific outcomes in matter. These fields are not fixed; they evolve. This is part of the reason you can see a child that doesn’t have cancer in her genes develop cancer when she is exposed to a ‘field’ which consistently creates the disease. It is also why some people with cancer-causing genes don’t get cancer at all. Sheldrake thinks these messages in the field are passed down through a ‘non-local’ resonance, but ancients called this consciousness.
In another interesting experiment conducted recently, two bilaterally symmetric eyes arise from the anterior neural plate in vertebrate embryos. Those pose an interesting question – did both eyes share a common developmental origin or did they originate separately? Does all of nature spring forward in a ‘Big Bang’ moment, or does it exist as merely a possibility in a metaphysical realm waiting to become ‘real.’
Whatever is discovered to be the underlying cause, or pattern of development, it has been noted that morphic fields of social groups connect group members – even when they are far away – and provide channels of communication through which organisms can communicate at a distance, affecting the genome. This is also the foundation of distance healing, and may even possibly explain how entire forests communicate beyond the network of fungi found on a forest floor. In more than 61 studies on distance healing along with 120 additional randomized controlled studies involving thousands of miles of geographic distance, DNA changes as well as spontaneous healings occurred repeatedly.
DNA may be Fixed, but Epigenome is Flexible
It turns out that our DNA code is fixed for life, but the epigenome is flexible. Epigenomes react to signals from the outside world, such as diet and stress. Even in differentiated cells, signals fine-tune cell functions through changes in gene expression. A flexible epigenome allows us to adjust to changes in the world around us, and to learn from our experiences. This happens both singularly and collectively.
Epigenome signaling can happen from inside a cell, from neighboring cells, or from the environment entirely outside the cell.
In early life, our mother’s nutrition and state of mind helps to develop the epigenome. If she is flooded with stress hormones, or eats lots of kale and spinach, this will affect the genes.
As life continues, a wider variety of environmental influences shape the epigenome, from social interactions, physical activity, diet, and emotional reactions to stimulus.
Progressing into old age, and throughout life, epigenomic activity is triggered by what is happening in the outside world, shutting down or activating certain sets of genes.
To summarize: eat right, create a loving, peaceful environment, and challenge your societal assumptions if they don’t serve you. Your genes could very well be changed in the process.
“When the seasons change, we experience a sympathetic internal shift. All life-forms open themselves up to receive cosmic redirection from nature during these crucial seasonal transitions, so we are likely to be more vulnerable and unsettled.” —Maya Tiwari, The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Ayurvedic Healing
Here in the Northeast where I live, the heat of Pitta Season is slowly waning. Temperatures are fluctuating from day to day, turning cold and dry, and the wind is beginning to blow. Vata Season (fall/early winter) is making its appearance.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. It brings with it blue skies and crisp cool sweater-weather days, apple picking and changing leaves. But I have always been aware of feelings of anxiety and agitation, as well as a lack of focus, that would show up as sure as the apples falling from the trees. I am feeling it now.
This seasonal shift confused me for years, until I began to study Ayurveda. Now, even though it still shows up with the apples and the pumpkins, I’m prepared and better equipped to handle it.
As we begin this transition from Pitta Season to Vata Season, it’s important to note something that Ayurveda teaches.
“The Ayurvedic texts say that a disease can take root in the body only during the junctions between the seasons, when all nature is in flux. Because of the upheaval dominating these junctions, the body’s natural immunity becomes virtually defenseless against impending disease.” -Maya Tiwari
I have experienced this firsthand, many times, and am learning just how true this cautionary statement is. The most important lesson I have learned is to deeply nurture the Vata part of me.
A critical fact to bear in mind is that an excess of a dosha can build up over the months and it is important to address this before moving into the next Ayurvedic season. If your Pitta has been high all summer, you want to get the excess heat out of your body so that it doesn’t get trapped and lead to health issues. I addressed this issue in a recent post which you can read HERE.
Even if Vata is not your primary dosha, you may find yourself feeling a little anxious or scattered as the temperature drops and the wind begins to blow.
Remember, we are made up of all three doshas and their earthly elements. It is Vata dosha, which is comprised of air (think movement) and ether (space), that is responsible for racing thoughts and a pounding heart that create anxiety. Vata is the dosha most likely to get out of balance, but luckily can can come back just as easily. In a word, it’s changeable.
The attributes of Vata dosha are dry, mobile, cold, light, rough, clear and subtle. All of these characteristics are heightened during Vata Season as well as during the Vata times of day – 2:00-6:00 a.m. and 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Here are a few signs that your Vata dosha might be increased and needs balancing:
Feelings of heightened anxiety, nervousness and fear
Bothered by cold and wind
Sleep is interrupted and light
Excess stimulation is bothersome–i.e. crowds and loud noises
Intestinal gas, constipation
Dryness–skin, hair, stools, eyes, etc.
Feeling disorganized and overwhelmed
Can’t sit still
Fatigue following bursts of energy. Crash and burn (this is typical of Vata energy)
So, what to do to ease this transition and stay healthy? Like increases like in Ayurveda, so think opposite to bring your Vata back into balance by:
Dressing warmly and keeping a scarf around your neck, especially if windy. The back of the neck is very vulnerable to wind.
Eating more warm, gently cooked seasonal foods. Root vegetables are especially grounding for Vatas.
Avoiding cold drinks. Opt instead for warm beverages like spiced herbal teas, warm spiced milk, or warm lemon water with honey.
Eating enough healthy fats and oils (especially ghee)
Avoiding over-exercising, which can aggravate already high-energy Vata. Gentle yoga, tai chi and qi gong are excellent choices.
Taking quiet walks in Nature is grounding for airy Vatas.
Meditation and pranayama (breathing practice) can help soothe Vata anxiety and fear.
Daily self-massage with warm grounding oils like sesame or almond oil is extremely calming to the nervous system. Or, try an herbalized Vata oil.
Try to stay away from loud, noisy environments and when you can’t avoid them, take a moment to breathe deeply and find your inner calm.
Keeping a regular routine with regards to sleeping, eating, working, etc. is imperative for Vatas, who love variety and can easily lose focus. An ideal bedtime is between 9:30–10:00pm.
Nurturing yourself as much as possible on a daily basis!
Determining your Ayurvedic prakriti (click HERE). Follow the food guidelines for your constitution and you’ll be on the right track.
On a positive note, there are so many wonderful things about Vata types. When balanced, they are creative, optimistic, joyful, forgiving, flexible, and full of enthusiasm. They thrive on change and love to discover and experience new things. It’s no coincidence that school starts back up in the fall, people get excited about new projects, and creativity is in full bloom.
A cautionary tale, however, to over-enthusiastic Vata-types is to not let ourselves get burned out during this season. The word to keep in our consciousness is nurture. Body, mind and spirit.
Much love, Barbara
Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, AADP certified Holistic Health Counselor and Energy Healing Practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda. Barbara was able to heal herself from fibromyalgia by learning and implementing ancient holistic practices, including Ayurveda. She is now pain-free and eager to share these methods with her readers and clients. You can contact her for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session, or to read more articles on her blog, at barbarasinclair.com. Sign up HERE to receive Barbara’s monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips.
Your Personal FitScope: Numerology for Optimal Exercise
It may feel sad to watch summer disappear as the 9th month of September rolls on, but take comfort: as one thing ends, something new is just around the corner.
The energy of 9 represents service to humanity, brotherhood, personal truth, and living with integrity. September has also been deemed suicide prevention month as well as addiction month. With the recent death of Robin Williams, these are current mainstream media topics – daunting, but warranting discussion. Combining service to humanity with integrity, charity can start at home when we do our best to curtail addiction and depression.
One well-known way to ward off addiction and depression is to exercise. There really is no debating how beneficial exercise is to elevate a person’s mood. Are you tried of making excuses not to exercise? Figuring out why we resist something that is so good for us is key. Ever consider that you just might not have found the kind of movement that fits your mind, body and soul?
I have created for you a FitScope – intuitive fitness advice based on your numerology. We are not talking CrossFit, tri-athleticism or a plan for six-pack abs. This is an approach to incorporating fitness into your life with ease and grace. Using your birthdate, do a simple calculation for your Life Path number, then scroll down the page to reveal your own personal reading.*
Life Path number calculation: add all the digits of your birthdate until you get to a single digit.
1 Life Path – Because of your creative and expressive nature you need more than the average amount of exercise each day. Since you spend much time alone and much time in your head, choose an activity that is simple and easy to follow (dare I say “mindless”?). Try walking, hiking, swimming, or restorative yoga. Also try mixing in activities you enjoyed as a child like riding a bike, roller-skating, jumping rope, cartwheels, or hula-hoop. The more playful and silly the better! Find some kids to show you how if you’ve forgotten.
2 Life Path – You need exercise that releases muscular tension. Try uplifting movement that has music, dancing, or deep breathing. Also include those that require balance: yoga, pilates, step aerobics. Even sex (tension releasing and deep breathing!) would fit the bill. Include independent activities for yourself and above all select ones that YOU like. Add beauty by choosing colors and surroundings that also appeal to you. Include stretching and meditation every day.
3 Life Path – Expressive movement suits you best. Zumba and interpretive dance are good options. Find inspiring energetic music or write your own. Choose music that mirrors your current feelings and move with it. Consider teaching, leading or creating a fitness class of your own. Your creativity and enthusiasm alone make you qualified for such an endeavor. Ideas: MeetUp.com, Baby and Me fitness club, or a neighborhood park; share the price of a babysitter with others while you work out.
4 Life Path – Step by step, and goal-oriented fitness programs work best for you. Sign up for a half marathon then train for it. Or make it a goal to be a black belt within 2 years. Weight training, running and biking are all good “building” programs. Does competition motivate you? Try a team sport like tennis or racquetball.
5 Life Path – You will get the freedom you need when you create a disciplined approach to your fitness program. Freedom from health worries. Freedom to sleep well. Freedom in your diet choices, etc. Variety is very important. If you are missing workouts or don’t work out at all, it is probably due to boredom. Something as simple as walking can be changed up by going at a different time of day or to a different location, or by adding music, books on tape or listening to free streaming comedy (e.g. Pandora). Do not do the same work out two days in a row. Being regimented doesn’t have to mean boring. Fast moving aerobics classes like Zumba are great for you – there is no need to be super fit (go at your own pace) or even know how to dance to enjoy this class! Note: finding yourself talking a lot during a class also hints at your boredom. If you enjoy talking while working out, use ear buds and a microphone and go outside. Try not to talk indoors while working out – this can be annoying to others.
6 Life Path – Pick any physical activity you think you are not very good at and do it anyway. Guess what, it will be perfect because it is good for you. Notice how you feel while you exercise. Fans of the sitcom Friends will remember the episode where free spirited Phoebe went ‘running’ with Rachel – adopt an anything goes kind of attitude and you can let loose, too! Or try something like Tai Chi so you can slow down and enjoy the process. Like to golf? Do not take a cart, do not keep score, and while you are walking between holes take care to notice your surroundings.
7 Life Path – Try to do as many outdoor activities as possible. Mix in something you enjoy that requires attention/concentration, like counting, or that builds upon preceding classes. Ideas: dancing, gymnastics (yes, some centers have gymnastics for adults!), kickboxing, or martial arts.
8 Life Path – Tapping into your inner abundance and power is the key to your fitness routine. Be a workout buddy, inspire and encourage others to exercise. Sharing in this area will certainly motivate you and others to meet personal fitness goals. Can you share your abundance by offering a free class or volunteering to teach? Martial arts, weight lifting, kickboxing, and tennis are good choices for you.
9 Life Path – Gee, you are good at so many things. What to choose, what to choose? You lead others without trying. Imagine what you could do for the fitness of humanity if you made a conscious effort at it? Look deep into your heart, honor your conviction to better health and get something started today.
May you all find the level of health and fitness that brings the most joy.
*Talk to your doctor before starting any new fitness program. Consult professional trainers when necessary.
Tricia Gunberg is an intuitive healer that helps her clients cultivate healing through Reiki, Numerology, and personal readings. Book a session with her to find out more about yourself, or read her spiritual blog for additional guidance. More ideas and specific exercises on the FitScope tab at TriciasEnergyGarden.com. You’ll also find an Introduction to Numerology at Tricia’s website.
Special Brain Exercise ‘Enhances Brain Performance’, New Study Finds
Not all types of meditation are created equally. Some alter our brainwave states so that we become more calm and centered, helping us sleep better at night or dampen the ‘monkey-mind’ which many traditions speak of, the tendency for our minds to wander from thought to thought incessantly. Others boost brain performance, or reduce stress.
Vajrayana and Theravada meditation cause differing physiological responses in the body and mind. Previously, meditation was thought simply to cause a relaxation response in the body, a term coined by Harvard Professor, Herbert Benson, but known widely by meditators for centuries.
While it is true that specific changes in our brains occur when we meditate, the practice is larger than distributing attentional systems, as Western scientists previously assumed. This may have been wrongly deduced since Theravada meditative practices were most often studied in a clinical context.
For the research, associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov and Dr. Ido Amiha examined four different types of meditative practices: two types of Vajrayana meditation practices and two types of Theravada practices (Shamatha and Vipassana). They collected electrocardiographic (EKG) and electroencephalographic (EEG) responses and measured behavioral performance on cognitive tasks using a pool of experienced Theravada practitioners from Thailand and Nepal, as well as Vajrayana practitioners from Nepal.
The researchers watched meditators practice in both the disciplines and recorded their observations. Theravada meditation produced enhanced parasympathetic activation (what we know as the relaxation response). In contrast, Vajrayana meditation did not alter parasympathetic activity, but instead showed an activation of the sympathetic system (arousal of cognitive function).
Immediately after practicing a Vajrayana-style meditation, cognitive tasks became dramatically easier. This was thought to be due to an increase in attention and focus and the absence of what meditators call a ‘dull’ mind which can sometimes accompany a more relaxed state.
The researchers distinguished that such dramatic boost in attentional capacity is impossible during a state of relaxation. Their results show that Vajrayana and Theravada styles of meditation are based on different neurophysiological mechanisms – one causing relaxation of the nervous system, the other inducing higher cognitive awareness.
The researchers made an obvious conclusion that each of these types of meditation could be used according to need. In cases where one needs to perform intellectually, at one’s best, Vajrayana meditation could be especially useful. When stress and anxiety need to be reduced, or sleep induced, Theravada meditation could be practiced.
After seeing that even a single session of Vajrayana meditation can lead to radical enhancements in brain performance, Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov and Dr Amihai will be investigating whether permanent changes could occur after long-term practice. The researchers are also exploring how regular folks can enjoy the benefits of these practices, even if they are unfamiliar with the traditions from which they are derived.
Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov said:
‘Vajrayana meditation typically requires years of practice, so we are also looking into whether it is also possible to acquire the beneficial effects of brain performance by practicing certain essential elements of the meditation. This would provide an effective and practical method for non-practitioners to quickly increase brain performance in times of need.’”
Associate Professor Kozhevnikov and Dr. Amihai from the Department of Psychology at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences published the study in the journal PLOS ONE in July 2014.
Geoff Byrd of Radio Mysterium offers tips on relieving depression – naturally. Geoff says: I am not an expert or a doctor. But I have had experience with depression and healing myself. I talk about all the things I did to pull out of the doldrums. This video is specifically geared toward people who are “awake.” This post also appeared on ZenGardner.com
Intuition: A Healing Tool Most Doctors Have Forgotten
– A loved one was in trouble
– You needed to eat a specific food or take a certain herb or supplement
– There was something unsafe or otherwise “off” about a certain person or place
…that ended up being spot-on?
If you asked most Western medical doctors what role they felt intuition plays in modern medicine, you might find a few that recognized its value, but the majority would tell you that intuitive healing is a hoax. After all, intuition is about as conventionally accepted by science as ESP, seeing the future, or out-of-body experiences, right?
I used to feel the same way until an experience I had while filming “The Tapping Solution” seven years ago reshaped the way I understood these kinds of unexplainable phenomena.
We were in Aspen, CO, shooting an interview with Bob Proctor, a living legend in the field of personal growth and achieving happiness. One of the final questions we asked him was, “How do one’s fears and anxieties limit the infinite potential that each of us possess inside of us?” Bob’s response was something that my friends and I still talk about to this day.
“First off, most of us don’t even know who we are.”, Bob began. “You’re Nick and I’m Bob, but those are just names that we were given. Who are you, really? Once we get past the surface of who we THINK we are, the number of abilities we can access are terrifyingly infinite.”
Then he gave us a little demonstration.
“For example, I can tell you who you are just by looking at your face. Does this sound crazy? It’s not. We’ve dumbed ourselves down so much that most of us have forgotten half of the senses we were born with.” Bob then proceeded to work his way around the room and give us the lowdown on who we each were at our core essence, which was not the most comfortable process. There were about 6 of us there, including a few well known “gurus” in the field of superfood nutrition and energy healing, plus our film crew. And yes, he was dead on with each of his 10 second assessments, although he had never met any of us prior to that day.
The most memorable of these “scans” was Proctor’s assessment of one of the other wellness celebrities in the room, who I will not name here. This outwardly gregarious figure had been waiting his entire life to meet Bob and was already sitting mesmerized in the corner of the room, watching with awe as he made his rounds. Proctor then turned to him and said, “You. People love you because of your pioneering spirit and the passion with which you speak to large and sometimes even unfriendly audiences. You are amazing with words and inspire people to take action. But, what most people don’t know is that you are actually an extremely shy, introverted person. You would much rather be alone in your garden than in the public eye.” Our friend’s face went flush as he nodded with a sheepish grin.
One of the many lessons learned that day: Never underestimate the gifts we are born with.
Here are a few tips if you’re interested in tapping into some of what Bob Proctor showed us:
First, the unconscious mind (where intuition comes from) is not linear like its conscious (or rational) counterpart. We’re quite accustomed to the logical mind’s computer-like approach to navigating the world, but the intuitive mind operates on entirely different principles. Time and space, for example, have no bearing on the non-linear behavior of intuitive thought. With practice, connections to our past, present, and future can be made in an instant, resulting in an instant “knowing” of the person, place or thing we are focussing on.
Still with me?
The notion of intuition or “the direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process” is almost too much for the rational brain to comprehend. We’ve spent so much of our lives depending solely on a logic-driven guidance system that our more subtle, intuitive “sixth sense” has all but disappeared.
But like a muscle, this gift can be strengthened over time using a few techniques:
1 – Write it down. Your unconscious mind has plenty to tell you, but it needs to be acknowledged. Keeping a journal or log of the peripheral messages that you receive on a daily basis will encourage your intuition to speak up more often and much more clearly.
2 – Allow your inner voice to show itself. Often we are too embarrassed or ashamed to let certain thoughts or emotions show themselves, even in the solitude of our own minds. This is especially true of the more traumatic or limiting ones – and these are the exact areas we need to focus on if we want to heal.
3 – Create or find a space where you can go into a deep meditative state. Have you ever walked into a room or forest clearing and felt a welcoming tingle down your spine? This is the kind of sensation you want to feel when you walk into your own sacred space. This is your workshop and your chapel. Choose it wisely.
These three simple practices are a great place to start. Once you’ve begun honing this skill, you will probably find that your own intuition will guide you to the next steps. That’s how it unfolded for me.
Director, The Sacred Science
Sign up for the FREE E-book! Our FREE E-book is loaded with powerful sacred medicines that are being used by the shamans of the Amazon Jungle.
The attack on What Doctors Don’t Tell You is part of a larger concerted campaign to demolish alternative medicine of every variety. Small, organized groups, the self-styled guardians of ‘true’ medicine and science, have been systematically harassing many alternative individual practitioners and professional organizations, while Brussels and the UK government, lobbied by the pharmaceutical industry, have been busily putting into place a series of laws that are restricting access to high dose vitamins, herbal supplements and other natural medicine.
The problem is that no one — skeptics, politicians and even the drugs industry lobbyists — has paused long enough to join the dots about out how this campaign could accelerate the decline of the system they purport to defend.
The following is to do with Britain and the National Health Service, but it equally could apply to any Western country with a health care system.
Consider a few inconvenient statistics, as Dr. Robert Verkerk, director of the Alliance for Natural Health, discusses in a forthcoming issue of WDDTY. The think tank The King’s Fund is predicting a financial crisis for the NHS within two years, as it struggles to support its 1.7 million employees (the NHS is the fifth largest employer in the world, says Dr. Verkerk).
Both political parties recognize that the demographics of the British population are shifting. At the moment, one in six of us is over 65, but in 35 years, the over 65s will represent one of every four citizens. And we’re not enjoying rude good health. Although we’re living a bit longer, we’re getting ill earlier than we used to.
Small wonder that the Labour Party is kicking around the idea of a ‘death’ tax of 15 per cent on the estates of the recently deceased to pay for care of the swelling numbers requiring the NHS while still alive. And the current conservative government plans to cut the NHS budget by $2 billion and replace hospital care with extra ‘care at home’ initiatives meaning that you may not be able to get seen by a hospital at the point where you might really need it.
While handling emergencies admirably, the medical profession is woefully ill equipped to help this ageing population prevent chronic illness. As Dr. Sarah Myhill, outspoken British doctor who specializes in treating many chronic conditions holistically, writes, when it comes to actually understanding disease, all of doctor-induced disease – from medical mistakes to the side effects of prescription drugs – ‘pales into insignificance when compared with the intellectual neglect demonstrated by doctors failing to understand, recognize and prevent the two major causes of death; namely heart disease and cancer. The worst example of this neglect is the nonsense propagated by doctors that a high fat diet results in high cholesterol and so heart and arterial disease – indeed this has become the popular accepted wisdom.’
So just imagine for one moment if all those attempting to suppress natural medicine are successful and all of alternative medicine disappears.
Natural medicine is a £6 billion pound industry in the UK alone. Aside from the disastrous effect destruction of this sector would have on the British economy, think of the impact this would have on the already collapsing NHS. For many years now, more visits have been paid to alternative practitioners than to GPs in Britain.
Imagine, for a moment, that all those millions of patients now have to line up to see their GPs, instead of going to their nutritionist, homeopath or acupuncturist.
Imagine the millions more who get will ill earlier than they would have because they are unable able to get hold of dietary supplements that are increasingly necessary giving the declining nutritional value of most food.
Imagine the effect on the population if our only recourse with chronic illness is to rely on a system of medicine that is now the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer.
Are you starting to get the mental picture? Millions more sick people requiring more hospital care earlier.
The bottom line, pure and simple, is that killing natural medicine would kill free medicine. If the politicians and the drug industry have their way, destroying alternatives will do more than anything else to accelerate the end of the NHS.
Lynne McTaggart is an investigative journalist and author, and a sought-after public speaker whose talks and workshops have transformed the lives of the thousands around the world who have heard her. She edits the monthly health journal What Doctors Don’t Tell You and was also the editor of the 48-lesson partwork, Living The Field, perhaps the most definitive work yet to bridge the worlds of physics and spirituality in its 768 pages.
The blog “10 Pseudo-Science Theories We’d Like to see Retired Forever,” says “Homeopathy claims water can cure you, because it once held medicine.” But, the theory of homeopathic medicines is not based on diluted medicine. It seems the author(s) haven’t actually bothered to look up the theory of homeopathy, or understand its claims before composing that nonsense. The author of “Homeopathy is Placebo – Ban Homeopathy,” who says, “The reason homeopathy should be banned is not that it’s placebo, but that it’s fraudulent,” would also benefit from a simple dictionary check. A placebo is defined as a medicine that is fraudulent, to quote Merriam Webster, Placebo “a usually pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorder.”
Stephen Barrett, M.D., the ultimate “pot calling the kettle black” cites among other reasons, “the laws of chemistry.” The laws of chemistry are actually the theories of chemistry, on theory that they ‘cannot be broken.’ But apparently Dr. Barrett is worried that homeopathic medicines might manage to break these laws of nature? He does not go so far as to suggest that homeopathic medicines should be banned, but wants them labeled as placebos, with statements like “a public warning that although the FDA has permitted homeopathic remedies to be sold, it does not recognize them as effective.” Stephen also seems to forget, for the moment at least, that many doctors prescribe placebos, not because they don’t work, but because they do work.
The reasons suggested for banning homeopathy are, frankly, very weak. In summary:
– it’s no better than a placebo
– people might take homeopathic medicines and suffer because they avoid a ‘real doctor’
– ??more?? I honestly can’t find any more reasons – I’d be happy to be enlightened.
So, let’s look at the reasons first, then the reality.
Homeopathy is no better than a placebo.
First of all, we need to define a placebo. A placebo is a lie from your doctor. If there is no doctor, it’s not a placebo. If there is no intentional lie, it’s not a placebo. Stephen Bartlett suggesting labeling homeopathic medicines as placebos, is suggesting the paradox, “This statement is false.”
There’s another side to the word placebo. People often confuse the word placebo with ‘placebo effect,’ thinking that ‘placebo effects’ are not real, that they are lies. But that’s not true. Merriam Webster defines the placebo effect as an “improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used.” Placebo effects are real. Placebo effects are not lies, they are real effects, measurable by science, and by medicine.
So, stating that homeopathic medicines are “no more effective than a placebo,” is actually saying that “homeopathic medicines cause real, positive effects that we don’t understand.” It also says “homeopathic medicines are no more effective than a lie from your doctor.”
Should we ban homeopathic medicines because we don’t understand them? Should we ban placebos because we don’t understand them? Nonsense.
People who take homeopathic medicines might suffer because they avoid a real doctor.
Do people suffer more because they avoid doctors, or more because they see doctors too soon, or too often? Frankly, although medicines often work well, medicines can also kill. According to government reports, medicines (but not homeopathic medicines) are third ranked in the causes of illness and death in the USA. Patent medicines and OTC medicines have side effects. It’s worth to note that, according to the medical profession, homeopathic medicines don’t have ‘real effects,’ therefore, according to the medical profession, they also cannot have ‘side effects.’
I’m not saying homeopathic medicines are ineffective. Science, and medicine has proven, and agrees that homeopathic medicines are effective, although they qualify with “no more effective than a lie from your doctor.” Science and medicine have also proven that most, if not all, doctors recognize and occasionally prescribe placebos to their patients.
Do people who take OTC medicines suffer because they might avoid a real doctor? And what about food? Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine by thy food.” Should we also count those people who eat an “apple a day,” to keep the doctor away? Should we ban apples because some people think they are medicines?
What about Health?
Are placebos healthy? It is important to separate “health” from “illness”. Health is larger than illness. It is entirely possible that homeopathic medicines, even if they have no effect on illness, might have positive effects on health. But science has proven they do have positive effects on illness.
We don’t measure health. We haven’t yet learned to measure health yet – we can only measure symptoms of illness, and that’s how we measure illness. We can learn to measure health – but today, no-one is trying.
If we ban homeopathic medicines, how will we learn of their effects on health? And there’s the point. The exact point of this discussion.
Freedom. Freedom to study. Freedom to learn. Freedom to learn about health – to learn more than simple studies of illness. Freedom to know for ourselves. Freedom to make our own choices. To advertise and market our own choices.
Should we ban homeopathic medicines?
It might be a useful question, if it was not so loaded. It is loaded against my freedom of choice, in favor of society’s freedom to oppress, based on some people’s beliefs.
I believe in health freedom. I believe in the health freedom of the customer, and also of the producer and seller. Safety standards are important, but bans? Banning something is a serious act, difficult to undo – even if the ban was wrong. Banning homeopathic medicines would be a strike against freedom.
Our laws should be designed to enhance our freedoms, not to restrict them. If freedoms are to be restricted – there must be real and serious danger. Proof needs to be strong. Frankly, there is no evidence for banning homeopathy, plenty of evidence in favor of freedom.
Effective, especially effective against nutritional deficiency illnesses.
Little danger, although it is possible to die from food.
OTC – Over the Counter Medicines
Most commonly effective against symptoms of illness, allowing the body to heal.
Listed on bottle. Can be severe.
Some danger. Prone to non-monitored, over consumption, which can lead to illness, even death.
A wide range of effectiveness. Tend to be designed and tested for specific illnesses. The bestselling patent medicines only treat symptoms, and do not cure.
Listed on bottle. Can be severe. Sometimes not known for years.
Very dangerous. Requires a doctor’s prescription, controlled dosages, and even then can lead to injury or death.
Effective but we don’t understand why. However, many doctors are able to predict ‘when’ they will be effective, and prescribe them.
Little danger, although there is some danger when patent medicines or OTCs are prescribed as placebos – which does happen.
Effective, but we don’t understand why.
Little danger. As far as I know, there are no reports of death or injury caused by homeopathic medicines.
Should homeopathic medicines be banned? Nonsense. We need to spend our time on more important questions.
Have you ever wondered why some people age gracefully, seeming like they look pretty much the same now as decades earlier, while staying actively engaged in fun activities, learning new things, and staying active… and other people slip into steady decline?
If you have noticed this and wondered, “What’s up with that?” you’ll love hearing about Frank Moffatt and his new documentary film! You could say that Frank Moffatt is a man with a mission to change the world, but that would be missing the point that simply listening to his message has the power to completely transform our lives. When I heard from Frank that he’s raising funds through anIndiegogo campaign for a new documentary movie, I was intrigued. Your Second Fifty: Rising Above the Myths of Agingis a movie designed to implement change in all who see it. Consider these facts:
By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (source: AARP). Of that 45%, many will have been subjected to limiting beliefs and myths that will unfortunately restrict them from reaching their true potential — mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. The good news is that with proper education and guidance, these limiting beliefs and myths can be eradicated — and a fresh new outlook and approach can be established within one’s daily life.
I’m thrilled to know this movie is in the works, and honored to share some special insights from Frank Moffatt in this interview. And I hope that if you find this topic as exciting as I do, you’ll support the Your Second Fifty: Rising Above the Myths of AgingIndiegogo campaign, and share this post with friends and family!
CYNTHIA: I’m thrilled to talk with you about your new documentary film, “Your Second Fifty,” since its message that many common beliefs about aging are untrue is a big idea that also came to my attention when I was researching and writing my most recent book,Quantum Jumps. I was stunned to learn that long-term scientific studies have shown that one of the best predictors of long, healthy lives are peoples’ biases and prejudices about the elderly. When I give talks about the science covered in Quantum Jumps, I often make the point that “If you take just one idea away from this entire presentation, improve your stereotypes about the elderly! You can improve both your longevity, and your quality of life.” What inspired you to create a movie about these ideas at this time?
FRANK: First off I’m excited to read your book! We really have no idea of our potential and capability, especially in our second fifty. But to answer your question, I wanted to make the documentary because we are an impulsive society and people would rather sit and watch this film for an hour than sit and read a book for 6 or 7 hours. So the real question would be, what inspired me to write the book? After observing people over 50 for a year or so I was struck by the fact that some people were full of life, while others were full of death and the answer boiled down to their beliefs about aging – so I took on the task to debunk the myths and limiting beliefs of aging!
CYNTHIA: I agree with you that many people these days would rather see a movie or hear an audiobook than read a book, and I’ve been creating YouTube videos and audiobook editions of my books to meet this growing demand. I’ve also seen exactly what you’re describing regarding people around age 50 who either seem to be thriving or declining, with evident differences in ease of movement, involvement in learning and creative pursuits, and zest for life. I’ve also gotten the feeling we’re not doomed at age 50 to be “over the hill,” but actually can truly thrive. Have you personally experienced turning around a limiting belief about aging in your life, and if so, would you tell us about it?
FRANK: When I was a kid I suffered from asthma, and while I played sports, I was always missing parts of seasons because my lungs couldn’t handle the training. When I was 52, I decided I was going to run a marathon. I was over weight and hadn’t done any exercise in years. I began slowly, just walking one or two kilometers. Three months in, I was up to a ten K run, and 6 months later I finished the Bangkok Marathon – 42 K in just over 4 hours. I didn’t need to win the race, I just needed to change my belief from I couldn’t run – to I can run – I will run and I will finish what I started.
CYNTHIA: Wow, what an inspirational experience! I’d not heard of the Bangkok Marathon before, and I’m truly impressed that you reached a point at age 52 where you noticed you’d gained weight and weren’t exercising, and so you looked around to find what could motivate you to become more physically active. I’m sure your ability to set an athletic goal for yourself must have been made a bit easier thanks to your having played sports earlier in life. What advice would you give someone in their second fifty years who wants to get more exercise but hasn’t played sports?
FRANK: When we started to make the documentary, I seriously thought I needed to interview one of the worlds top fitness guru’s, but over time I’ve realized that it’s not about having the body of a Greek goddess. It’s about being fit from the inside out. Going for a 30 minute walk each day not only improves your fitness level, but it’s beneficial, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and when we are more fit in those four areas of our life, we’ll attract more opportunities financially. But there are three other areas of physical wellbeing we need to consider:
1) Flexibility – a little stretching daily will pay incredible dividend down the road in our 80′s, 90′s and more and more likely our 100′s,
2) Resistance training – we need to keep our muscle in shape to support our physical structure so our later years are positive and product and
3) What we eat – as we get older the metabolism slows down because we slow down, so eat more fresh, raw foods and most importantly eat less–and that’s hard to do if we’re sitting on a couch.
CYNTHIA: I love the way these are simple things most people can do by making small adjustments to daily life. I can also reassure people that your advice is quite sound, as it’s coincidentally what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years since I took up practicing martial arts when I approached the age of 40. I’m doing the flexibility and resistance training as part of my Kuk Sool Won practice, and being much more mindful of what I eat, and I look and feel so much healthier now than I was 15 years ago. These tips are pretty well-known, but I understand your movie, “Your Second Fifty” does some pretty serious myth-busting concerning typical ideas most people have about aging. Could you share with us one of those myths you address?
FRANK: Honestly that’s the great part about the documentary and the sad thing when you take a minute to consider just how many limiting beliefs impact us after 50. And even when we’re aware of these limiting beliefs, we have no idea how to address them and remove them. But you wanted one, so let’s consider memory loss. We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Daniel Amen, possibly North America’s leading expert pertaining to the Mental Dimension. Without giving away all the goods here, he alluded to the fact that memory loss can be caused from a number of things–none of which were age-related. Having received a head injury as a young child that had gone unattended, or an inactive life style, both mentally and physically are far more likely to be key determining factors for memory loss in people over 50.
CYNTHIA: So if I understand you correctly, there’s no need for people to assume we’re all headed for dementia as we pass the ages of 50, 60, 70, and 80… nor is there any reason to presume we’ll necessarily be less active or less physically fit in our second fifty years of life. And hopefully, good results are obtainable in terms of improved quality and quantity of life without needing to spend a fortune, right?
FRANK: Well, let’s adjust that a bit – there is no need to assume we’re all headed for dementia – IF – we make the changes. If we don’t, then we’re rolling the dice, because the majority of people have sustained some form of head injury, or currently maintain a sedentary lifestyle. You just have to know what to do to make the changes! As far as fitness goes, one of the gentlemen we interviewed was Werner Berger. Last year, Werner climbed the highest peaks on all 7 continents (which by the way included Mt. Everest). Werner is 76 years of age. It’s also important to state that at age 59, Werner decided to climb mountains, so he is no different than anyone reading this article. That’s what makes this documentary so important – it will change the way we have been programmed to age. It may be the best investment anyone can make with regard to their longevity and wellbeing. Life is best served when we challenge ourself to be the best we can be, and give up competing with others.
CYNTHIA: Based on what I’m hearing from you about your new documentary, “Your Second Fifty,” and what I’ve learned from the latest research, I’m thrilled that you’re making this movie, and so glad that there will be such an inspirational film people can sit down and watch that has the power to so thoroughly improve peoples’ lives. If people are interested in finding out more about the movie, what’s the best web page for them to learn more?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to see clearly without glasses or contacts? According to Greg Marsh, a certified natural vision coach, clear vision is achievable by virtually everyone, even if you’re already wearing strong corrective lenses.
I first sought Greg out several years ago, at the suggestion of a man who, in his 70s, had excellent vision. After trying it out, I was hooked.
Greg got his first pair of glasses in third grade, and at every vision check, he needed stronger, thicker lenses. His life changed when, in his late 20s, he came across a book written by a teacher of Dr. Bates’ vision program.
“It just melted my heart, the stories about people improving their eyesight and getting their lives back,” he says. “I started trying it on my own near-sightedness. I had some initial success and then kind of hit a plateau.
That’s when things got really interesting for me. I eventually did a formal training as a natural vision teacher. I bought every program I could find. I also did a lot of cross-training in various ways to use the mind. I went into martial arts, meditation, and all kinds of things.
For many years, I just kept diving in every which way, and it just became irresistibly simple, interesting, and subtle.”
A Technique So Effective, It Was Banned…
The method Greg teaches was initially conceived by Dr. William H. Bates, over 100 years ago. A board-certified ophthalmologist at the top of his field, Dr. Bates taught his method to many, and it was so effective that it ended up being banned in New York after the optometrists lobbied the local politicians!
In essence, it became a threat to the business model of optometrists. The prohibition on the Bates Method is still on the books in New York to this day. Whether or not it’s actually prosecuted is another issue.
“In the 1950s and the early 1960s, that’s when all the state optometry boards were going after people,” Greg says. “One of the Bates practitioners they went after was Clara Hackett, who had worked personally with Aldous Huxley, who’s one of the more famous successors.
He wrote the book The Art of Seeing. He was basically told, ‘You’re blind. Get onboard with Braille.’ He got his vision back from working with the Bates Method.
Clara Hackett was on trial because she didn’t want to fold up and go home. All these people came in and testified. Aldous Huxley, the famous author of Brave New World, came in and testified.
He was very popular, so the jury was kind of in awe. Apparently, during the break of the jury, all the jurors were palming. Then they knew the outcome was going to be good.”
The Bates Method
So how does the Bates Method work? Greg explains:
“Basically, there are six muscles on the outside of your eye, and they’re moving it around… Ideally, these muscles are easily following visual interests… The problem is – it could be for emotional reasons, physical stress, or whatever – you start to strain. Once you start to strain, your vision starts to go.”
The action of straining essentially squeezes your eyeballs, contorting them. This makes your vision blurry, as it alters where the field of vision “lands” on your retina. Now you have three basic choices
Find out what’s stressing you, making you strain. Let it go, relax, and get your vision back. Dr. Bates developed ingenious tools for doing just that
Get laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), which permanently alters your focal length
Get corrective lenses. The problem with corrective lenses is that now you’re creating permanent strain
The Bates Method isn’t really an exercise; it’s more of a mental approach. It’s also worth noting that the Bates Method is clearly NOT a medical approach. You still need to see your regular eye doctor for checkups. Greg explains the theory upon which his program is based as follows:
“Dr. Bates’ keyword is ‘strain.’ If you strain your eyes, strain your thoughts, and strain your vision, these muscles are going to start getting tight. The strain is the essence of everything.
Imagine you’re on a tightrope, you’re walking, and you’re feeling your way forward. That’s how the eyes want to work. If you get tense on a tightrope, you’re dead, right? Instead of thinking of it as exercises, you have to go into it in a really subtle way; it’s more like a meditation.”
Basically, your vision is not compromised because of weak eye muscles. They’re strong enough. They’re just too tensed to work properly, so you have to relax them.
When people have a hard time seeing they typically will squint, which actually makes your vision worse. Squinting is one of the worst things you can do for your vision as it stresses your muscles. I find myself all day long paying attention to this as typical response is to contract your eye muscles and squint.
Another part of the process is “faith”—faith that your eyes “know what they’re doing” and can see well. The problem is that once you start wearing corrective lenses, you’re actually worsening your vision. This progressive worsening of your vision can lead to a defeatist mentality if you don’t realize that what you’re doing is creating the problem.
Be certain that you do the little experiment Greg discusses in the video by creating a pinhole with your hand and surprising yourself how clear your vision becomes without any corrective lenses. Just bend your finger to create a small pinhole between the skin folds. Now hold the pinhole in front of your eye, and notice how much more in focus everything is that you’re looking at. As they say, seeing is believing and this will go a long way to convince you that you can actually see well without corrective lenses.
By wearing glasses, you’re essentially retraining your eyes to strain in order to see all day long. Ideally, you’ll want to remove your glasses whenever you can safely do so. Also make sure you have appropriate lighting, especially when reading. “The amount of light is huge,” Greg notes. “While somebody is making the transition from needing glasses to not needing glasses, things like using more light really help, like if you’re reading a book.”
Common Vision Problems Caused by Excessive Eye Strain
The two most common eyesight conditions requiring glasses are: (1) myopia (near-sightedness, which usually appears in childhood or during teenage years) and (2) presbyopia (a type of farsightedness which leads to reading glasses at middle age). They both are very responsive to the Bates Method, and in fact the approach is nearly identical. If you have a mild prescription, you can simply go more and more frequently without glasses as you improve your eyesight. Of course, you should always wear glasses if they are required for driving, until you pass your vision test without them.
Especially with nearsightedness, stronger prescriptions tend to require more creativity and persistence, since the habits of staring and straining are more established. Also with high nearsightedness, you may need to progressively work your way down, which can be an expense for more pairs of glasses. But the visual clarity and relaxation you will feel all through your body and mind makes it deeply rewarding! The need for reading glasses is a common age-related problem, but according to Dr. Bates, loss of vision is not a “fact of life” at all. Even this he relates to eye strain.
“Most optometrists or ophthalmologists would say that the ciliary muscle around the lens is the cause—that it gets frozen. They’ll say, ‘Well, gee, your lens has become impossibly hard and now it doesn’t move anymore,’ Greg says.
The lens of your eye, which is behind your cornea, right behind the iris, thickens and thins continuously all day long as you focus on various things. It also grows as you age. Eye doctors will say that your lens has become too large and rigid, and can’t flex anymore. But according to Greg, the problem with that model is that most people who sincerely apply the Bates Method do reduce or eliminate their need for reading glasses. Once again Dr. Bates’ solution is to relax the eyes so the muscles can function naturally.
The Power of Your Mind
Astigmatism, cross-eye, glaucoma, cataracts, and other vision conditions can also benefit from the Bates Method. With regards to cross-eye, Greg notes that this problem is not really caused by too-short a muscle pulling the eye. Rather it’s that the muscle is chronically too tight, and if you relax it, your eye will typically go back to its normal position.
“I love working with people who have been diagnosed with glaucoma or cataract and who are open to natural approaches,” he says. “One lady I worked with was about to get surgery for glaucoma. Her doctor told her she’d already lost 60 percent of her vision just in one eye. I had an amazing EFT session with her. I told her to palm 10 minutes at a time at least six times a day. Three or four days later, she let me know that her score dropped from 28 down to 12 on glaucoma in that eye. Her doctor said, ‘Oh, wow. The medicine finally started to work.'”
Dr. Bates used to experiment with visualizations for patients with cataracts—a condition where the lens of your eye gets cloudy. One of Dr. Bates’ patients who had cataracts was able to make her cataracts disappear through guided visualization alone. When she got stressed out again, the cataracts reappeared.
“I don’t want to put anybody in a box and say, ‘Oh, your thoughts are negative.’ But if you’re having negative thoughts, imagine you can feel how that manifests as, say, a cataract.Louise Hay, the guru of emotional reasons for disease, she would say the reason for cataract is the future looks dark. I can’t tell you how many people have resonated with that. They’ve had a family member who died, a big business bust, or they just realized, ‘Wow, I’m getting old. I haven’t done everything I wanted.’ That metaphor of ‘the future looks dark.’
Now just imagine the crystalline structure of the eyes and how ever that magically transmutes into the cataract and the opacity. Now imagine changing that vibration and then just asking: ‘How fast can I imagine and how fast can I allow for this change to take place?'”
Remember that the Bates Method is not a medical approach, and you must seek a licensed practitioner for any diagnosis, prescription, or treatment. The Bates Method is more like meditation or yoga. It can help you engage your mind and imagination, to relax your eyes, and bring about as much natural healing as possible.
Sample Bates Method Techniques
One of the most famous Bates Method techniques is palming. Look around and notice the level of clarity of your vision at present. Then, simply place the center of your palms over your eyes. Relax your shoulders. You may want to lean forward onto a table or a stack of pillows, to facilitate relaxation. Relax like this for at least two minutes. Then remove your hands, open your eyes, and notice whether anything looks clearer. Usually, it will.
“What you’re doing is you’re letting your hands and your fingers sort of melt into your face. You feel how that affects your whole being as you let that happen. It’s almost like your whole stress system is starting to melt away,” Greg explains.
“Send love and relaxation into your eyes through your palms, which, by the way, are minor chakras, or energy centers. You’re sending all this relaxation into your eyes, and your eyes are relaxing. Imagination becomes very important here, too. You can imagine, pretend, and feel that your eyes are going back toward their natural round shape. Just stay with that as long as you want. And then when you do uncover your eyes, you’re going to see that things are more clear, at least for a moment.
See, this is a setting, a thermostat setting that your body-mind just had for a long time. It may take some practice, some awareness, and gradually learning to sustain this [relaxed state]. It’s kind of a zen thing. You can’t crave it too much because the more you crave it, now you’re trying to force it and now you’re straining again.”