Self Care Matters

thumbnailWe live in a world of constant stimulation. On any given day we are bombarded with cell phones, email, facebook, twitter, traffic, billboards, television, (bad) news, not to mention most of us have calendars packed full of events requiring our attention. All of these stimulate our central nervous system and can activate a stress response in our body. Stress creates a cascade of chemical reactions in the body releasing substances such as epinephrine and cortisol. Prolonged stress causes damage to the body systems and results in decreased immune function, sluggish digestion and is the cause of many diseases of both body and mind.

The problem is clear, so what are people doing about it? More importantly what are you doing about it? Self care is the answer; we must balance the stress in our lives with its natural opposite, relaxation. Relaxation shouldn’t just be that 2 weeks a year when you’re on vacation lounging in a hammock reading your favorite book and sipping a margarita, it needs to be a way of life. What we do for ourselves today effects our tomorrow and all of the tomorrows to come.

Some of the most popular self care practices include;

  • massage
  • yoga
  • conscious breathing
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • healthy eating
  • aromatherapy
  • energy work
  • floatation
  • reading
  • writing
  • gardening
  • drawing
  • painting
  • biking
  • hiking

All of these methods assist in fighting disease and increase feelings of peace and lead to a well rounded and healthy lifestyle.What we do is not nearly as important as the simple act of doing it. Creating the time and the space for self care is half the battle. We must make the time, then engage with passion and intention in the preservation of health and wellness. Taking the time to enjoy the moment, relaxing into uncertainty, swaying with the winds of change, loving ourselves enough to give time to the nourishment of our body, mind and soul, this is self care. As we change our attitude to ourselves we change our perception of the world, one breath at a time.

What are your self care practices?.

Yoga Poses for Pregnancy Bliss

I was recently asked by a client what yoga poses were helpful during pregnancy. I wasn’t able to answer the question off the top of my head so I decided to put together a list and post it for any other mom’s to be who might also be interested.

If you have never tried yoga you may think of it as nothing more than exercise, a series of postures designed to sculpt our body. Let us not forget that Yoga is much, much more than this. The word “Yoga” means union, its holistic practice unites our body, mind and spirit and connects us to the infinite. During pregnancy the practice of yogic postures (asanas) coupled with yogic breathing (prananyam) and daily meditation  facilitates balance for the mother and the child in all three areas.

It is important to always listen to your body while doing yoga especially during pregnancy, do not over exert yourself. stay calm and focus on your breathing while visualizing a conscious healthy pregnancy and delivery. These gentle yoga postures are safe during a normal healthy pregnancy, please consult your physician or midwife before practicing yoga. Enjoy!

Easy Pose – Sukhasana

Butterfly Pose – Purna Titliasana

Cat Cow – Marjariasana

Goddess pose- Supta Baddha Konasana

Lunge- Anjaneyasna

Childs pose- Balasana

https://youtu.be/uxY2UofbghA.

Pregnancy and Massage a Sacred Journey

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-pregnant-woman-belly-pregnancy-concept-image34391478Massage has been practiced throughout recorded history and has been an important part of  pregnancy and childbearing for millennia. Pregnancy and birth are a sacred journey, one that creates a miraculous environment for awareness and healing. As a massage therapist, there is nothing quite like working with a mother and her unborn child. The beauty of pregnancy and the energy of new life in the womb gives rise to a deep reverence for the journey the mother and child are on together.

Historically, pregnancy and childbirth were seen to by midwives, healers, birth attendants and family members. Massage was an important tool in assessing the mothers well being, the position of the unborn child and managing stress and pain before, during and after the birth. With the rise of modern medicine and a more clinical birthing environments we have lost some of these beneficial practices. Prenatal massage is making a comeback through the rise of birthing centers and the resurgence of midwifery and doula’s.

Massage therapy increases an individuals awareness of their body and for the pregnant woman, whose body is growing and changing everyday, this awareness is an amazing tool in understanding and accommodating their needs and connecting with their baby.  In addition to body awareness, prenatal massage provides relief from stress and discomfort associated with pregnancy. Stress relief is important for expecting mothers as stress during pregnancy has been shown to cause immune deficiency, nausea, birth complications, including preterm labor, decreases in blood supply to the uterus, fetal distress and even miscarriage.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage include:

Massage during pregnancy can be preformed not only by a licensed Massage Therapist, but by the pregnant mother herself. Gentle massage can have a soothing effect on both mother and baby. In his book, Nurturing the Unborn Child, Thomas Verny, M.D. writes that after the sixth month of gestation the unborn baby can sense massage of the abdomen and respond to that touchThis implies that not only does the mother benefits mentally and physically but so does the baby! Perhaps this type of nurturing touch could even increase the babies awareness of itself and its relationship to its mother and the world at large through the facilitator of the massage.

Prenatal Massage is safe providing the mother-to-be is experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy. There are certain contraindications and cautions for pregnancy massage such as risk of pre-term labor, preecclampsia, ecclampsia, blood clots and clotting disorders. Consult your physician prior to receiving massage if you have any concerns..