A Stretch For Gardeners

For those who like to garden, it’s a very exciting time of year.   We are ready and waiting to get out there.  Our plans are getting put together and supplies are starting to get ordered.  However, how many of us are thinking about preparing our bodies for garden season?  Now is the time to begin a stretch and strengthen routine to prepare for all that digging and weeding?  In general we need to prepare a routine that provides full body relief, but includes a focus on our particular areas of weakness.  Begin by asking yourself where you felt sore from last year’s experiences.  Those areas need extra work to prepare. Building a 15 minute daily routine will give you much more pleasure in the garden this year.  I guarantee it.

The most important parts of your body to strengthen are your core and the back of your shoulder blades.  Having a strong core will help support your back as a whole.  It will also allow you to lift and hoe without straining the back.   Strengthening your upper back eases the pressures from always leaning forward.  Working with a rowing machine might go a long way.

Try adding in some stretches that open your hips.  While sitting in a chair, cross one leg over the other and then lean forward at various angles to stretch your glute and low back muscles. Leg tightness causes all manner of hip and back inflexibility, so take some time to stretch your hamstrings and quadriceps, too.  Don’t forget to stretch your wrists and hands as well.  Below are details for one stretch that should help almost all of the areas of your body I have mentioned, but you will need to tailor a routine for your exact needs and capacity.

Angle Pose (Konasana):  Stand with feet together, hip width apart.  Step one leg forward.   The further you step forward, the more strenuous the pose will be.  Inhale and pull both shoulders up to your ears. Exhale and pull your shoulder blades together and grasp your hands together behind your back.   Inhale and pull your arms down while holding the shoulder blades pulled back so that you are stretching the chest and toning the back.  Keep both legs straight as you lean forward.  Typically we tend to tilt our torso as we do this, but work to square your shoulders and hips.  Lean forward until you are perpendicular to the floor.  Hold the stretch by breathing strongly with your core belly muscles until you fatigue.

Caution: As with all general wellness advice, not all stretches or fitness advice is suitable to every person.  When in doubt, talk to a professional at your gym, yoga studio, or therapy clinic.

Ego Pt. 3: The Four Aspects Of Your Mind

We have been talking about the Ego, but did you know that there are other aspects of the human mind? Maintaining a balanced working relationship between all four major aspects is important to our happiness and success in life.

The first aspect of mind is the clerk.  The clerk handles all of the secretarial work.  It has no major opinions or agenda and acts a bit robotically to file, sort, and recall information.  When our clerk begins to fail us we can’t remember details, we lose words or forget to keep appointments.  A healthy clerk keeps us sharp and effecient.

The second aspect of mind is the unconscious mind.   It is referred to as the repository and the metaphor of a vast ocean is commonly used to describe it.  This storehouse of sensory data can be accessed by the clerk.  It also sends impulses and impressions out on its own that can influence our dreams and our thoughts.  The unconscious is powerful, immense, and misunderstood.  Both repeitition and strong emotion increase the power of unconscious impulses.  Working with our addictions, habits, and desires helps to slow down the power of these impressions so that they don’t overwhelm us and carry us away into unhelpful directions.

The third aspect of mind is our ego, the self-appointed boss. We have already covered how our loud, bold, and myopic ego can get itself into trouble.  At its core, ego’s perspective is what creates all of those problems.  Ego sits facing the physical world.  Its self identifications are all based on sensory data alone, and not on our deeper self.

The fourth aspect of our mind is the mystic, or the enlightened mind.  This is the part of our mind that is thought of as being able to listen to our deeper intuitive impulses.  Where ego faces solely forward, listening to the physical world, the mystic listens to both our senses and our more subtle, more connected, self.  The personality of the mystic is one of queit as opposed to the ego’s bluster.  Thus it is said that the soft voice of wisdom coming from our mystic is often overshadowed and overridden by the rowdy voice of ego.

What does it mean?  Happiness and wellness are better achieved via a healthy relationship between all four aspects of our mind.  With all four players working effeciently and as a team, we can accomplish our life’s purpose with grace.  Looking for details on how to nourish and strengthen each aspect of mind?  There are more details than we can get into today.  However, the best practice for nourishing all four aspects of mind together is meditation.  If you would like to learn more about meditation, ask someone who practices regularly or join one of our yoga classes or meditation groups.

Reiki 1 Certification Training

This May 30th we will be offering our very first in house Reiki Certification Training.

Join Reiki Master, Monica Groth in this one day seminar.

Self-care and nurturing is essential for a balance and well-being. Reiki is a gentle, light-touch healing modality that can greatly enhance your ability to nurture and heal your loved ones. It helps heal physical and emotional blockages so that our life force energy, or Ki, can flow unimpeded.  This leads to increased energy and vitality. Reiki helps one to enter into deep relaxation where healing at all levels can occur. It can also be used to relieve chronic pain and can safely supplement other healing modalities.

During this training you will learn to practice self Reiki; learn about the philosophy of the seven Chakras; receive a Reiki Level 1 attunement and receive a Reiki Level 1 Practitioner certificate.

No prior experience required.
Open to all – licensed therapists and public.
Class is limited to 8 students.
Vegatarian Lunch is provided.  RSVP for lunch at registration
Course Fee: $175 / person
Time: 9-4pm
Date: May 30th, 2015
Location: Back To Bliss – Retreat Center located five minutes north of Marshfield.
 
For more details feel free to comment on this post or call Back To Bliss and speak to Monica in person.

Herbs: A Natural Remedy

Many people choose to take herbal remedies.  One of the main reasons people go with them is because they are natural.  But, what pros and cons does that term ‘natural’ come with?  I have read several papers arguing the pros and cons of herbs, and there are a lot of key points in a complete discussion.  We can begin that discussion by examining the word synergy.

Synergy can roughly be defined as, ‘individual components working better through their cooperation and association than they would apart.’  An Herbal remedy can sometimes have hundreds of unique plant compounds in a capsule, or a properly prepared tea.  Proponents for herbal remedies argue that when taken in their naturally occuring concentration and mixture, there are many benefits you gain compared to simply isolating the active ingredient. While we don’t have room for specifics here, many times there are naturally occuring buffers and catalysts that are found in the herbal mixture that turn on or off inside the body depending on our internal chemical balance.  These often act to soften the intensity of the herbs reaction on our body or to enhance its effectiveness when the proper conditions are there.  Many people describe this as a ‘natural intelligence’ that the herbs have to interact approapriately with our bodies.

To be fair, going ‘natural’ also has a few potential drawbacks that are important to know about too.  One such is that because an herbal remedy is taken from a living plant, the health of that plant and the health of the soil it was grown in can make a drastic difference in the potency and effectiveness of the herbs you buy.  Wine enthusiasts talk constantly about the climate and weather effecting the grapes used to make their wine.  They know how strongly these factors effect the flavor of the final product.  The same considerations affect the potency of the herbs.  Its incredibly rare that you can look at a bottle of herbs and learn anything about the growing conditions that the herbs in your capsule grew under.

Herbs have been used effectively for thousands of years, but we haven’t come close to scientifically validating all the effects their ingredients and their combinations have on our bodies.  The natural process is full of wisdom that we have yet to understand, but it also has much less precision and certainty.  These facts turn some people towards herbs and others away.

Remember: Herbal remedies are taken from living material.  When you choose to use them, you should know that you are getting all the pros and the cons of working with a ‘natural’ ingredient.

Caution:  Just because an herb is a natural ingredient doesn’t mean that the entire capsule you are taking is natural.  Pay attention to the fillers and other ingredients listed on the bottle.

Ego Pt. 1: The I Maker

Ego can be described as self identity.  It is the “I maker.”  Its job is to deferentiate between you and the not you.  For many people the ego is taken in negative light.  However, the ego plays very necessary roles in our psyche.  Like all things, when it is misunderstood and allowed to fall into negative patterns, it can be a cause of significant  misery and illness for us.

Here are two negative patterns that an unchecked ego can fall into.  First is a broad one, called false identification.  Here ego identifys itself with a label or an event.  I am an accountant, I am a badger fan, etc….  While many of these identifications can be helpful to us as we move through life, there are many ways that this identification can create serious problems for us.

A second tendency of ego is that it doesn’t care about positive or negative self image, all it cares about is strengthening its own self identifications.  What this means is that as long as ego sees itself as more unique, then ego doesn’t care if you are a good or bad person.  Its job is to be the “I Maker” and that is ALL that it cares about.  Thus many people say they are the “worst person in the world” at something.

If we allow ego to dominate our mind unchecked, then our self identity can begin to become negative.  This can happen easily if we allow ourselves to falsely identify with a negative incidence.  One example could be when you lied to a friend.  Then ego continues to identify with that event and bolster its unique strong image of itself by labeling itself as the most horrible lying friend in the world.

Many people come to me saying, I want to be well.  They are told to do a stretch or change something in their lifestyle.  They say, “Ugg, I can’t!  It’s just something I’m not willing to do.”  That resistence is coming from their ego.  We can all limit the carbs in our diet if that is truly what we need to do.  Our ego fights it and fights it, not because its best for our health, but because it is best for our ego.  The resistence to doing the right stretches is simply ego clinging to its self identifications.

If we think about this a little bit, I am sure you will come to realize that there are hundreds of times in your recent past where internal resistence has held you back or self identity has determined your course of action.  This is especially true when we need to do something for our health that we don’t like or don’t identify with.  “You want me to eat vegetables?”

Next week we will talk about practices that help soften ego’s dominance over our habits.

Ego Pt. 2: Identifying Ego’s Influence

The first practice in preventing ego from dominating our thoughts is to identify when our thoughts are stemming from our ego.  The good news is that there are several cues that can bring awareness to when this is happening.

Ego speaks in two primary terms:  I like/dislike and I am /am not.   It uses these terms to bolster its self identity. For our purposes, we want to use these two sets of terms as red flags.  “I like spaghetti,” is an ego driven thought.  RED FLAG.  “I am a better person than that,” is an ego driven thought.  RED FLAG.  Any time that a thought includes either of these two primary “I making” terms you know that it is clouded by our ego.  By first developing a habit of witnessing these red flag thoughts we can come to realize how often our ego is directing our thoughts.

Gaining awareness of how we reaction to ego driven thoughts is our next level of practice.  It is startling to realize how strongly they affect our behavior.  To begin, it is easiest to focus on how you react when your ego’s desire is thwarted. When you dislike something, but have to do it anyway, there is very often some sort of little tantrum our ego creates to avoid its ‘I dislikes.’ We all know what a child’s tantrum looks like; floor pounding, pouting, and yelling.  What does your “tantrum” look like? Do you run from any situation that you dislike? Do you throw up walls of attitude like disdain, fear, or arrogance?  Often we project anger outwards onto external people or things to avoid doing what we dislike.

When you get real with yourself, you can find that we all have behaviors that stem from our ‘I dislike” and “I am not” driven thoughts.  I am not saying that all of these thoughts or habit patterns are negative, but by having an honest conversation with yourself, you can access some negative habit patterns that may be keeping you from getting healthier.

If you get good at following the thread of thoughts and behaviors you can move onwards to the likes and positive ego boosting thoughts.  Do this after you have spent some time with the negatives because they are a little harder to catch.  There is a little less intensity and drama because ego is getting what it wants.

The main point of these two contemplation practices revolve around the idea that ego isn’t the only part of our mind, nor is ego’s opinion as important as it insists.  Once we can identify something as stemming from ego, then we can begin to place checks and balances on our ego’s dominance over our thoughts and habits.  What other parts of our mind are there?  We will dig into that next.

Soulful Beauty Event

May 2nd 2015 Is A Day Just For You

Enjoy services and participate in our soulful nurturing workshops designed to inspire, pamper and renew you!  Begin the day by waking up your Chi to get your artistic juices flowing.  Our paint away workshop is a blast!  The lovely bridge over flowing water with a fall scene represents change, transition, choice, and movement in your life.  What better theme for spring!  Finish the day with a beauty workshop with Jess M. and create and take home some wonderful bath ritual products that you can use after you get home to complete your day of renewal.

Attend each event individually or stay all day for one low fee of $60.

 

qigong

10 am Waking up the CHI

In Spring Forest Qigong, Carrie will show you how to get the energy flowing in standing and sitting positions.

Individual Class Fee: $8

 

IMG_0978

11 am Paint your way to Calm (with the paint away ladies!)

Paint Away’s Kimi and Roxie will show us how to paint this picture in a creative fun way, while bonding with family and friends. All ages welcome. Kids under 15 can choose a smaller canvas.

Individual Class Fee: $30

 

spa-girl

1 pm Beauty Basics

Join Jessica M for a few new fun Spring/Summer looks with Jayne Iredale makeup.

Individual Class Fee: $8

 

emily

2 pm Take home the “AHHH” workshop

Emily has expanded her class to include: bath salts aromatherapy, oils, scrubs, facials, and how to incorporate them into a bath time routine for an at home spa day. You will go home with the “Take home the AHHH kit” (valued at $30.)

Individual Class Fee: $30

 

 

Come and experience all four classes for $60!  A light snack will be provided for anyone attending.

Registration is required. If you have any questions or would like more information please feel free to call (715)-316-0040 or email at info@backtoblisswellness.com

 

Click on this link to our Soulful Beauty Event to open a savable and emailable PDF.  Feel free to print and take the flyer to work or share this post below with your friends to invite them and spread the word.