Brainwaves & Meditation: The power of energy

The quote above is from Albert Einstein. I have always been fascinated by the brain and how we can alter our overall health using simple tools, like meditation, yoga, and sound. It’s truly incredible how much power we have, yet don’t seem to harness! Below are some tones you can use to help you relax into your meditation. As always, please ensure you have grounded your energy, create a protective layer (this can be achieved with white light radiating out of your body to surround you,  from your core), and have someone who can gently bring you back into your body, if you will not be going for a full-night sleep.

5 Brainwaves:

1) Delta – Deep Sleep

During the Delta state, we experience this in our deepest state of sleep, when our body becomes immobile. It’s also known as ‘slow wave sleep’, with a frequency of 0.5-3 Hz. During this phase our body repairs itself, integrates what we have learned, and our nervous system can be changed.

Here is an example of this tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb5mIZm5bcQ Definitely a great way to dive into your meditation, but I would recommend working from Alpha & Theta into this frequency.

2) Theta – Subconscious

The Theta state occurs as we initially fall asleep and during light sleep. In this 3-8Hz frequency, we are able to allow our subconscious to come to the forefront, and are able to create change in our thoughts. This is the state we relax into during hypnosis, which can have many beneficial effects in re-patterning the brain. This is a sample of this tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66tq9xji0xA&list=RDQMYBab6gar5TY

3) Alpha – Relaxation

Alpha waves have a freqquency of 8-12 Hz and are experienced during relaxation. This is a great sample to begin with for your meditation, as you ground and create protection around yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cHjaJRl1Qo

4) Beta – Active

During Beta we are active and awake. This is our every-day range of activity at 12-38Hz.

5) Gamma – Associated with deeply meditative states

Gamma is the most intriguing frequency which we actually don’t know that much about. It has been said to be associated with bliss states – the ultimate state we desire to experience. In yoga terms, this is known as Samadhi. During this frequency of 38-42 Hz, our brains are very active and processing different areas of our brain and our conscience – our brains are awake and we are able to fully integrate what we are perceiving for a more full image. This is the state we experience when during periods of intense intuition, which is what psychics, lightworkers, and monks are able to access with ease. We can all achieve this, but like anything, it takes practice and discipline. The benefits of being able to access this state are quite profound, as we are fully aware during our waking lives, yet fully connected for truly intelligent decision making. It was also found that those achieving these states experience greater joy, peace, and love.

 

Maintaining a Healthy Body

1000 Hz is equivalent to 0.001 MHz. To give a little context, a healthy human brain functions at 71-90 MHz. When we have a cold, this drops to 58 MHz. When we begin to leave our bodies, this drops further to 25 MHz. Everything vibrates with a frequency; animals, stones, plants. This is why we want to surround ourselves with other beings that also vibrate at a high frequency, but ultimately we are responsible for ourselves.

It is important to be aware of what we are absorbing into our bodies and minds as both food, thought, and sound have frequencies. Fresh produce is between 10-15 MHz, and fresh herbs from 20-27 MHz. Therepeutic-grade essential oils are between 52-320 MHz, with Rose, Helichrysum, Frankincense, and Lavender being amongst the highest. This excerpt below demonstrates this quite clearly*:

“Initially, the frequency of each of two different individuals – the first a 26 year old male and the second a 24 year old male was measured at 66 MHz for both. The first individual held a cup of coffee (without drinking any) and his frequency dropped to 58 MHz in 3 seconds. He then removed the coffee and inhaled an aroma of essential oils. Within 21 seconds, his frequency had returned to 66MHz. The second individual took a sip of coffee and his frequency dropped to 52MHz in the same 3 seconds. However, no essential oils were used during the recovery time and it took 3 days for his frequency to return to the initial 66MHz.

Another very interesting result of this study was the influence that thoughts have on our frequency as well. Negative thoughts lowered the measured frequency by 12 MHz and positive thoughts raised the measured frequency by 10MHz. It was also found that prayer and meditation increased the measured frequency levels by 15 MHz.”

Meditation, and meditative forms of yoga are wonderful ways to train your body to quieten the mind, aiding you in being able to access these Gamma states.

Here is a sample of Gamma sound for your meditation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axTImghP9Ts

You can also listen to some of  these sounds and Solfeggio frequencies at work to keep energy up and heal your body through frequency!

 

 

*Excerpt from: http://isira.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/YL-Essential-Oils-Frequency-LA.pdf

 

 

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Yoga actually extends far beyond the physical practice. The physical aspect of yoga is actually only an eighth of it! Through exploring this path, you will notice your meditation  – and life experience – become richer and more meaningful. These concepts are designed to be explored.  Yoga consists of 8 aspects, with the idea being achieving enlightenment. Enlightenment is connecting to your true self, your spirit, and through that, oneness with all, in which we find freedom. A side benefit of this journey – living a healthy and happy life!

 

These are the 8 Limbs of Yoga:

  • Yamas: these are disciplines to observe to guide our interactions with the world
    • Ahimsa: non-voilence
    • Satya: truthfulness
    • Asteya:  taking only what is rightfully yours
    • Brahmacharya: using energy in healthy ways (often seen as celibacy)
    • Aparigraha: only taking what you need
  • Niyamas: personal practices for a healthy internal world
    • Saucha: purity and cleanliness
    • Santosha: contentment  
    • Tapas: self-discipline
    • Svadhyaha: self awareness
    • Ishvara Pranidhana: surrendering
  • Asana:

The physical practice of yoga. It’s important to keep your body alert, healthy, and strong to enjoy your life and share this experience with others! Moving mindfully is very important to all of our teachers – we even have a class called Mindful Movement! When we move mindfully, we do so with breath, grace & strength. We can heal our bodies, and help prevent injury!

  • Pranayama:

Breathwork. You can see some type of pranayama we have practiced on Instagram. As breath-work has been important to me since I was a child, this is something all our classes focus on.

  • Pratyahara:

Sense withdrawal. This is part of the reason I am often quiet in our Yin classes – a rare opportunity for you to be awake and completely alone with your thoughts – this is powerfully cleansing & healing!

  • Dharana:

Focused concentration. Part of our #meditationchallenge focused on this form of meditation. Picking a theme, thought, vision, feeling to focus on can be very powerful to help you feel and achieve goals. I personally like to focus on a thought, then let it go to allow inspiration to flow as I feel myself stepping away and becoming more objective…which goes into the next limb of yoga!

  • Dhyana:

Meditative absorption. This form of yoga is my favorite and what I have practiced for years, as it’s where inspiration comes from. The mind is freed a this point to allow intuition to guide. Again, much healing can be achieved through this approach, and this is fabulous for considering changes or growth. The trick is to not get attached to the process and details. Trust it will work out – surrender and know it will – we just may not be aware of all the details …but do you need to be? It can be a challenge, but amazing things can happen when you let go!

  • Samadhi

A state of continual bliss, also known as enlightenment. Enlightenment is wholeness, oneness – which we already are. But being able to recognize and feel it at all times, brings us to a state of bliss as we recognize there is only pure love and energetic connection amongst us all. As James Cisneros put it; “Enlightenment is not a change into something better or more, but a simple recognition of who we truly already are.”

 

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook as we explore these aspects in greater depth!

 

Learning to Live with Stress is More Important than Learning Algebra

Oh, the things we didnt learn in school.

Are you devoting enough time to exploring how to respond to stress? The benefits can be (literally) life-saving.

Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life. In fact, this energy is what motivates us to get out of bed each day, go find food, and build relationships with others. But exposure to high levels of stress over the long-term has major consequences for our health.

 

Stress & Our Immune System

When our bodies are responding to stressful events, our immune system becomes suppressed. This happens so that all of our physical resources can be given to our fight-or-flight systems to increase our chances of survival in a life or death situation. The problem is, our brain cannot tell the difference between receiving a stressful email from our boss VS being chased by a bearboth situations are simply considered to be threateningand the fight-or-flight response kicks in.

 

Learning to Cope with Stress

Living in todays fast-paced, connected society means that we are constantly exposed to stress. This long-term exposure to stress and immune system suppression can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, heart attacks, and cancer.

Fortunately, we can train ourselves to respond to everyday stress in a way that does not engage our fight-or-flight systems. Part of this process involves activating our relaxingparasympathetic nervous system. This can be done in a variety of ways, including: breathing, movement, physical pressure/deep tissue activation, and warmth. When we are already stressed out, it can be irritating to hear someone tell us to just breathe. But this message isnt entirely uselessthe key is knowing how to breathe and exhale in a way that tells our bodies its time to relax.

 

Mastering Your Nervous System

Now, we dont want you to read this article and stress out!!! Learning to switch onour parasympathetic nervous system doesnt have to be a demanding task. There are plenty of resources dedicated to supporting physical relaxation, so allocate 5 minutes each day to learning a new technique. As you learn which techniques are most effective, continue practicing them so they become second-nature when you encounter stress in your life. For those who want to explore further, join us for the upcoming workshop Interrupting the Stress Response on Wednesday, November 29th at Studio 202 in North Vancouver. There, we will be discussing the physiology of stress, and sampling different techniques that promote relaxation.

 

Explore Your Response to Stress

A final word of encouragementWe are all unique in our ability to tolerate and respond to stress. Adopting an attitude of curiosity and humour can be helpful in exploring which techniques are most effective for you as an individual. With some time, practice, and patience, learning to respond to stress will be a valuable long-term investment in your health and overall wellness.

What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is the art of breath-work. ‘Prana’ is life force – our breath, and ‘yama’ is discipline. This is why the 8 limbs of yoga are called the yamas and niyamas – the disciplines of yoga to live a healthy and happy life. See our post on 8 Limbs of Yoga blog for more information on Yamas & Niyamas.

 

How Pranayama Helps Your Meditation

You’ve likely heard you can only think about one thing at a time, so choose positive thoughts. This is part of the beauty of meditation and pranayama. By focusing on a single positive thought, a breath pattern, or a sensation – you become immersed. By focusing on the breath, we are able to let our minds neutralize and reach a more balanced and happier state! It is not possible to control the mind with the mind. This is why pranayama is an essential aspect of meditation.

 

Notice Your Breath

First please take notice of your breath. Is it rapid? Short? Long? Slow? Deep? Is your chest expanding? Is your belly expanding? Place a hand on your lower abdomen, close your eyes and begin to connect with your breath for a minute. Has it changed?

 

Forms of Pranayama to Try

There are many forms of breathwork, that can be practiced, each serving different purposes:

  • Calming – simple inhale with your belly expanding and exhale through the nose, flowing into each other is incredibly soothing. This is also called Ocean Breath or Ujjayi when you try to ‘fog up the mirror’ on your exhale – it creates a slight constriction in the throat making the sound of the ocean.
  • Deep calming – inhale for 4 seconds letting your stomach expand, retain the breath for 4 counts, exhale for 6 seconds, and hold out for 2. Continue with this breath.
  • Cooling – rolling the sides of your tongue upward and sticking your tongue slightly out, inhale and exhale. You will notice a cooling sensation. This is great for fevers! If you have a one with a fever, lay them on your bare chest skin-to-skin as you do this breath.
  • Energizing – with Breath of Fire it’s important to ground yourself first. Close your eyes and imagine a golden cord or roots extending from the base of your spine into the earth. Feel that sense of connection. When you are ready, begin by taking a long belly-breath. Exhale in quick contractions, drawing your navel towards your spine. For each long inhale, you should be able to do 10 exhales. Rest between and continue.
  • With kids – to help children calm and sleep, have them lay down and place a hand on their belly. As they inhale imagining their bellies are like balloons expanding, and exhaling to let the air out of the balloon through their nose or mouth.

There are many more pranayama techniques you can try too, but more advanced ones are best in a class with a practitioner who can help you ground appropriately. Check out our Yin and Kundalini classes for more pranayama!

 

Yoga for Skiing + Biking

The mountains are almost ready… are you? As athletes, we tend to focus on the joy we get from our favourite sports, not stretching. This changes quickly after an injury! Being an avid runner, swimmer, skier, biker…and anything else I can possibly do, I get it! I would much rather be moving, but I realized in my early 20’s if I wanted to keep moving I need to let my body heal. If I didn’t do yoga, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t stretch!

Yoga for Biking + Skiing was created for athletes who need dedicated stretch time. This class is a power flow style, to strengthen the upper body – which isn’t the focus in either of these sports, and stretch the lower half! The goal of this class is to help build your endurance, and prevent injury. We help to bring balance to the body through various poses and breath-work.

Yoga for Balance

In order to be a strong, powerful and agile athlete, it’s very important to have a strong core. The core is the centre of our bodies strength and helps us to balance. Try standing on one leg with your eyes close. Now try it engaging your core – the pelvic muscles. Quite a difference!

By doing simple exercises to become conscious of engaging your core, you will notice your skill in both skiing and biking improve. While these sports are primarily leg-dominant, it’s important to keep a balanced body. Holding plank and doing fun variations of plank are great for strengthening the core and the upper body … and efficient so we can focus on deep release of the glutes & quads. Ensuring we stretch  as we strengthen our body for our sport of choice is essential to continue to build healthy, lean muscle. By allowing recovery time, our body will be better prepared for the next adventure and we lessen the chance of injury.

Yin Yoga for Deep Release

If you are happy to try some deep stretching for your whole body, Yin is such a soothing class! We hold gentle poses for 1-5 minutes to allow the muscles and surrounding fascia to melt, which allows the body to re-set. This is a perfect class to ease you into a solid night sleep.

I look forward to seeing you on the mat!

 

Belly Dance for Pre and Post-Natal Exercise

What do you think of when you think of belly dance? A celebratory dance? A sensual experience? ….Childbirth? There are many who believe that the origin of bellydance is linked to childbirth rituals of centuries ago. While these theories are controversial, it is easy to argue that many of the movements of bellydance mimic movements of a labouring woman. And, more importantly, many of the movements of bellydance use the same muscles used by a labouring woman.

Bellydance to Prepare for and Recover from Birth 

Pregnancy can wreak havoc on a woman’s body, but exercise, especially core and pelvic-floor strengthening exercise can help to minimize damage and expedite the healing process. Due to the wild changes in a woman’s body, many conventional abdominal & core exercises can cause more harm or exacerbate conditions such as diastasis recti –  a gap of roughly 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. This can cause a woman to appear pregnant months or even years post-birth. Many pregnancy fitness programs, including the Dia Method – which was featured in the “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” – modify abdominal exercises involving contracting and releasing abs from a standing, seated, or side-plank position, to prevent or reverse diastasis recti, to stay healthy and to prepare for or recover from childbirth.

Bellydance in My Pregnancy

As I researched these programs for my own pregnancy, I noticed that these are the exact movements I use in my belly dance teaching and practice. Except, of course, the belly dance version is much more fun! I have been recommending this beautiful art form and exercise to women, and sometimes men, since I took my first class nearly two decades ago.

Benefits of Bellydance 

The benefits of practicing this dance are relevant to all women, and, I believe, especially important for women preparing for or recovering from child bearing. To name a few:

  • Gentle strengthening of core
  • Increasing ability to isolate and control muscle groups
  • Helping prepare the body for birth and preventing diastasis recti
  • Recovery after birth
  • An emphasis on body positivity and acceptance and the feminine form in all its diverse representations
  • Improving posture
  • Stress relief
  • Development of rhythm and some cool party moves!
  • FUN!!

I truly believe belly dance is for everyone, regardless of age, size, shape! If you are pregnant and concerned, check with a medical professional before engaging in any exercise.

Biotensegrity Workshop North Vancouver

Embodied Biotensegrity Training brings the biotensegrity paradigm beyond the intellect to one’s experience in the body. A synergy of theory, interoceptive practice, yoga philosophy and enquiry gives rise to a new understanding and experience of the body. Balance, ease, presence and wholeness arise.

Biotensegrity says that our structure is based on an ever-changing balance of opposing forces on many scales. Continuous tensional forces hold us together against discontinuous expanding compressional forces. We exist as continuities of tissue, different in specialization yet the same in origin. Everything is connected. We cannot isolate single muscles or bones: when one thing moves everything else responds in complex and sometimes subtle ways. Our movements are not restricted by the delineations of up/down, side to side, back/front that we have been taught, but can be fluid, omnidirectional and spiraling. Biotensegrity speaks to what we feel in the body when the mind is quiet and awareness rests with sensation. The body is not solid and fixed – it is alive with ever-changing sensations – tingling oscillations, swirlings and a dissolving of boundaries of skin and separateness.

We see in biotensegrity oneness and duality, the essential coexistence of opposites, and the macro reflected in the micro. Embodied biotensegrity looks to yoga texts and draws relationships between these understandings and the biotensegrity paradigm. In embodied biotensegrity practice, these same concepts are explored with the body.

Embodied Biotensegrity Training opens the door to new explorations in the body by:

  •  cultivating healthy posture and movement patterns
  •  balancing and healing the fascial matrix of the body
  •  finding ease in movement and stillness
  •  experiencing wholeness
  •  quieting the mind
  • bringing yoga philosophy to conversations of emerging science

Embodied Biotensegrity Training uses innovative teaching methodology to foster “sticky learning” inviting teachers of all yoga styles and movement practices not just to integrate the theory, but to generate new knowledge and become trailblazers in their fields.

Join Chris Clancy for her Biotensegrity Workshop at Studio 202 on Nov 4th from 2-4!

 

Meditation

I’m sure you’ve heard of many of the benefits of meditation, so I won’t get into this. But what I do hear often, is how do you meditate? We all have very different ideas of meditation, and that’s completely ok. It’s a very personal journey and can take many forms; walking, painting, music, or more traditional breath work, also known as pranayama.

Why Meditate?

Everyone also uses meditation for different reasons, but this too changes throughout our lives. Many experience anxiety and use meditation to help find peace.  We are better able to be objective, see situations without unnecessary emotion, and better communicate with others. Meditation can help us refine our dreams. Meditation can help us heal, by releasing emotions and helping us to focus on what is most important to us. Energy flows where thoughts go.

How to Meditate

I don’t believe there is one way to do anything, just like there isn’t one way to meditate.  I don’t think it’s necessary to ’empty’ your mind. We are thinking beings. Using the power of meditation to observe objectively is a great practice, and in time you will notice you will have little moments of inspiration come to you more frequently.  Overtime I have learned some valuable tools to meditate in a safe way. When we are energetically exposed, as we can be when we meditate, it’s important to ground and energetically protect ourselves. We are extra receptive after meditation, and you don’t want to be picking up on others energy – this is especially true if you are already very sensitive to others.

  • Begin by getting comfortable in a space you can meditate every day undisturbed
  • Closing your eyes, inhale through your nose to the count of 3 and exhale through your mouth for 3 – sigh it out!
  • Begin inhaling and exhaling for equal 4 counts through your nose, allowing your stomach to relax
  • As you feel your body relax, bring your awareness from head to your seat (crown chakra to root chakra)
  • On your next exhale, imagine roots or a golden cord reaching from your root chakra into the earth. Feel this connection deepen. Exhaling any unnecessary energy into the earth to be dissolved
  • Continue with deep steady inhales and exhales for as long as you wish

More Meditation Tips:

For more information on meditation, you can follow us on Instagram and join our Facebook event: Month of Meditation. 

This is completely free, and you will get tips every day for your home mediation practice. Our Thursday Yin class is another lovely way to meditate whether you have practiced for a while or are new to meditation. Yin is accessible to beginners. For mediation with children, we host Karma Family Yoga on Saturdays (by-donation). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.

Playdates! for Parents and Tots

We are very excited to be opening the studio for Playdates on Monday, Wednesday & Friday mornings! This is an opportunity for parents to bring their little ones to release some energy, get social, learn something new, and meet new parents + tots. We will have toys, books, and tea for everyone to share, and from time to time, mini-workshops with wellness practitioners sharing dance, yoga, and helpful tools for parents!

This was an essential aspect of the vision for the studio 15 years ago. Katie could see that it was a challenge for both parents to be working on the family structure and children’s emotional well-being. Most parents do an incredible job, but many are also choosing to have one parent at home, often opening their own small business. While running a small business isn’t the easiest thing in the world (!), it definitely provides incredible satisfaction (especially when you feel like you’re helping others) and to a degree, more flexibility. There are still more surprises to build on this vision! Being a community space, we are about connection and supporting each other in growth.

Oct 2nd, our first Playdate, we will have Dinah our Bellydance instructor joining us! This will be a fun session for little ones and parents – a chance to move, loosen up the back, and help mamas get some gentle core work in. For more information and to register for Playdates, please visit our main page and select one of the ‘More Details’ buttons. See you soon!

 

Help Relieve These Top 5 Baby Ailments with Reflexology

Reflexology is an ancient practice that was developed and used by many cultures across the globe including the Egyptians, Chinese and Vietnamese. It is a gentle, non-invasive technique of activating reflexes in the feet that affect the body’s organs, glands and parts to help to improve overall health, naturally. Modern reflexology is becoming increasingly popular as a holistic treatment for many issues and conditions.

When it comes to our children, we want the best for them and often go to great lengths to raise them in the safest and most natural way. I know I’ll buy my toddler the organic brand and skimp on my own or take hours researching the best product options because heaven forbid we make a “wrong decision” – #firstchildproblems  😉

What if I told you there was a natural & effective way to combat common baby ailments, right at home? Foot reflexology is a great technique to relieve common baby ailments, whether you use it alone or in conjunction with other traditional treatments.

Babies and children are especially receptive to the effects of reflexology since their feet are so “new” and the skin, ligaments, bones, nerves and arches have yet to develop fully. There are less physical and energetic blockages in the feet so activating the reflexes becomes easier and the effects can be faster and more specific.

In addition, infant & baby reflexology;
·         Is nurturing & helps enhance connection between caregiver and child
·         reduces stress
·         calms & soothes
·         activates the self healing mechanism
·         balances hormones leading to greater health of all the body systems
·         detoxifies the body
·         feels great and is fun for the caregiver
Reflexology is also safe, doesn’t have any unpleasant side effects and can be used as a preventative and maintenance tool – for example, combining it with your bath or bedtime routine!

If you’re a parent who would like to try using reflexology for your little one, I have developed a Baby & Me Reflexology Workshop where I show you how to activate the foot reflexes to bring about relief for 5 common baby ailments including Teething, Sinus & Congestion, Gas & Constipation (Digestive Upset), Sleep & Relaxation and Skin Conditions. Join us September 28th at Studio 202! To register, please visit: www.footgurureflexology.com


Moms have been super happy with the results, especially as they’ve seen a doubling or more in length of nap times after a session.

“I was very pleased with all the different techniques to use for various common baby ailments. My son is not a very good sleeper and much to my surprise after this workshop he surpassed his usual 45 min nap and slept for 2.5 hours!!! I also practiced the calming reflexology points before bedtime because he can get quite grumpy at the end of the day, and he was extremely calm afterwards. I highly recommend this workshop! Thank you so much Suzanne!”

~ Jessica, mom to 6 month old.