I just found this amazing article From Harvard Medical. In straightforward language it talks about how the "brain-gut axis" (aka the way your brain connects to your digestive system) connects your stress-levels to your digestive health- AND VICE VERSA. So, if you improve your stress-levels you improve your digestion, and if you improve your digestion, you improve your stress levels! The point: Reduce stress to Improve Digestion and this will improve your quality of life!
Restorative Spa Yoga on the stress-relieving BioMats is one great way to get your brain-gut axis on the right track.
HARVARD MENTAL HEALTH LETTER www.health.harvard.edu august 2010 Stress and the sensitive gut Psychotherapy may help ease persistent gastrointestinal distress.
Functional gastrointestinal disorders affect 35% to 70% of people at some point in life, women more often than men. These disorders have no apparent physical cause—such as infection or cancer—yet result in pain, bloating, and other discomfort. Multiple factors—biological, psychological, and social—contribute to the development of a functional gastrointestinal disorder. Numerous studies have suggested that stress may be particularly important, however. The relationship between environmental or psychological stress and gastrointestinal distress is complex and bidirectional: stress can trigger and worsen gastrointestinal pain and other symptoms, and vice versa. This is why psychological therapies are often used in combination with other treatments—or even on their own—to treat functional gastrointestinal disorders.
A second brain Life-sustaining functions, such as breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature, are regulated through the autonomic nervous system. This complex network of nerves extends from the brain to all the major organs of the body and has two major divisions. The sympathetic nervous system triggers the “fight or flight” response. The parasympathetic nervous system calms the body down after the danger has passed. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems interact with another, less wellknown component of the autonomic nervous system—the enteric nervous system, which helps regulate digestion. The enteric nervous system is sometimes referred to as a “second brain” because it relies on the same types of neurons and neurotransmitters that
are found in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). After
sensing that food has entered the gut, neurons lining the digestive tract signal muscle cells to initiate a series of intestinal contractions that propel the food farther along, breaking it down into nutrients and waste. At the same time, the enteric nervous system uses neurotransmitters such as serotonin to communicate and interact with the central nervous system.
This “brain-gut axis” helps explain why researchers are interested in understanding how psychological or social stress might cause digestive problems. When a person becomes stressed enough to trigger the fight-orflight response, for example, digestion slows or even stops so that the body can divert all its internal energy to facing a perceived threat. In response to less severe stress, such as public speaking, the digestive process may slow or be temporarily disrupted, causing abdominal pain and other symptoms of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Of course, it can work the other way as well: persistent gastrointestinal problems can heighten anxiety and stress.
Reviews suggest that several types of psychotherapies may help ease persistent gastrointestinal distress—or at least help people learn to cope with such symptoms. Although this research has limitations—in particular, many studies have been criticized for using a waiting-list control, which does not allow investigators to account for the therapeutic effects of receiving medical attention—the evidence suggests that the following psychotherapies may provide some relief for many people with severe functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
This standby of psychotherapy helps patients to change counterproductive thoughts and behavior and learn coping skills to better manage stress and anxiety. One three-month study involving 431 adults with functional gastrointestinal disorders found that CBT was significantly better than patient education at improving overall symptoms and well-being, but had little or no effect on pain. This and other research suggests that CBT may be most useful in helping patients to cope with persistent gastrointestinal distress, rather than reducing pain. Preliminary research suggests that CBT can be modified for children with such disorders.
Relaxation therapy. This encompasses a number of techniques designed
to help people relax and reduce reactivity to stress. Techniques include
progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and restful music. Relaxation
therapy has seldom been studied alone, but the research suggests that it is effective for gastrointestinal disorders when it is combined with CBT.
Hypnosis. Gut-directed hypnotherapy— which combines deep relaxation with positive suggestions focused on gastrointestinal function—may be helpful for people whose symptoms occur even without obvious stress. In one small randomized controlled study, patients with severe irritable bowel syndrome underwent three months of hypnotherapy that involved placing their hands on their abdomens while being asked to feel warmth and imagining they had control over gastrointestinal function. By the end of the study, symptoms had significantly improved in the hypnotherapy group when compared with a control group who underwent supportive psychotherapy. Another study suggests that benefits of gutdirected hypnosis may persist for years.
Suarez K, et al. “Psychological Stress and Self- Reported Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders,”The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
(March 2010): Vol. 198, No. 3, pp. 226–29.
For more references, please see www.health.harvard.edu/mentalextra.
Source: from Harvard Mental Health Letter, Harvard Health Publications
In times of stress so often we run to the gym, do a strong power yoga class, or to do the Grouse Grind to unwind and ‘let off steam’ but is this really the most effective way to release tension?
The body has three ways it can deal with stress.
1. Freeze- a good choice when we were invertebrates, but a poor choice now… unless you’re playing hide and go seek.
2. Fight/ Flee- Excellent for releasing muscular tension and developing strength, but since most stressors are mental these days this response is more of a release valve than a solution to stress.
3. Relax and form social bonds- Our most adapted response; spending time letting go and enjoying great company creates a healthy internal state primed for healing, and is the most effective way to create long-term relaxation.
The conclusion: If the danger is physical: run. If however, the stressor is mental: relax, and find joy from there.
The body’s relaxation response is a more recent addition to our options for how to combat stress, and is one that leads to longevity and happiness according to neuroscientist and researcher Steven W Porges. Throughout our evolution community structures became more and more effective in human survival, evolving this socially-driven relaxation response. When we spend time in a safe and serene environment with others our bodies respond saying, “It’s okay, the group’s here, I can relax.” We see friends, or take a deep sigh and our whole body lets go. How? Through the vagus nerve: our body’s amazing communication highway of deep relaxation.
The vagus nerve is a bundle of nerves that starts in the brainstem and winds its way through our facial muscles, our heart, lungs, and digestive tract. It is responsible for the body’s parasympathetic “relaxation response”. With a simple smile your body responds by acknowledging that all’s well, and it begins to address the root of our mental stress, and lets go of the physical tension, opens your mind to new ideas, encourages forming social bonds, releases endorphins helping you to feel wonderful, and jumpstarts healing, digestion, and cellular repair.
While running relieves tension, time with loved-ones and deep relaxation promotes longevity, social connection, creativity, healing, and happiness for the long-run. Walk an feel the sun shining, jog and see the magnificence of the world around you, run to explore your body’s abilities, and do yoga to connect to the soul.
Move and strengthen your body from a place of joy and you get the best of both worlds. Bring relaxation into your life and your heart, your health, your family and your happiness will thank you.
We’ve all caught ourselves doing things by rote. If you’re a cook it’s cutting carrots perfectly, a carpenter, it’s using a lathe. Even think about walking… we don’t think about it! Walking, like any other activity we’ve perfected through constant practice has become a familiar pathway in our minds and bodies. These activities are made easy through repetition until we’ve created such strong neural and physical pathways that we don’t have to think, our bodies just do.
Stress, or relaxation, are in effect the same- we train our bodies to respond by rote with deep relaxation or with tense stress, depending upon what we cultivate in our lives.
Much like walking becomes normal with time, if your body experiences long-term stressors that too becomes normal. We create deep neural and physiological pathways that put us on a hairpin trigger towards stress, and illness. That is… until we change the pattern towards better health and deep relaxation. Just like our bodies didn’t know what walking felt like when we were infants, many of our adult bodies have forgotten what it feels like to be truly relaxed. Since over 80% of illnesses are stress-related, this means our stress responses are also our illness responses.
But relax! There’s a solution to create great health!
… Just Relax.
The most effective medicine is your indulgent relaxation. The spoonful of sugar doesn’t just help the medicine go down, the psychological ease it brings IS the medicine (though I’d suggest a spoonful of liquid vitamins instead!). Your elixir of life is a sigh of relief. The key to health and happiness is to let go and relax.
Naturopathic Doctor Stephanie Palazanos says, “Stress [and its related illness’] needs to be dealt with through conscious relaxation techniques. These include yoga, meditation, tai chi, qi gong and deep breathing”While it may not be as easy as telling yourself to relax, by consciously relearning this essential key to health, happiness, and longevity, you can undo old patterns and replace them with new patterns of health and relaxation.
That’s what Inner Truth Yoga is here to do. We help your body to viscerally remember what it’s like to be truly relaxed, and therefore help you reform pathways to strengthen your relaxation response. Change your patterns and you change your reactions!
Like walking, it takes persistent relaxation over time to rewire your body’s responses to daily stress, but with as little as a deep relaxation class a week, a few minutes a day to breathe deeply, and a conscious commitment to let go little by little you can easily and blissfully create a new path for yourself.
Invest your time in creating pathways to health and vitality. Come try a class and have the best sleep of your life, and the best start to your journey for a blissful life of ease from within!
Here's a great article I found that covers the basics of what you can eat to improve your digestion!
Food + lifestyle= health!
More on how to relax into health coming up :)
Natural Approaches to Improving Digestive Health Digestion, an essential part of our well-being, is an activity our body must endure daily. This complex process may seem out of our reach in terms of control. However, there are many things that we can do to keep our digestive system healthy and regular. The following list includes natural and easy approaches to improving your digestive health.
So the question is: How do we create more health and happiness in life?
The Answer: Relax deeply and bathe yourself in negative ions!
The peace of walking along the sea in a soft breeze. The delicious taste of fresh, garden-picked veggies. The serenity of the forest. The calm of walking through an ancient stone building. Each of these are experiences of negative-ions.
Negative Ions are found throughout nature give our bodies a natural boost to immunity, metabolism, detoxification, energy levels, deep sleep, the relaxation response, hormone balancing, and to setting the stage for health and happiness throughout our lives.
We've all heard about eating more raw food, and becoming more alkaline to prevent disease- Negative Ions are cornerstone to the magic of this health-movement. While an all carrot-diet isn’t recommended, finding more sources of negative ions certainly is!
So why are negative-ions so important to health?
Dr John Heinerman lists 4 main reasons:
1. Negative ions strengthen the function of the autonomic nervous system, enabling our internal body to switch more easily from our stressed to our relaxed healing state. The means deeper sleep, more serotonin production, clearer thinking, and less stress!
2. Negative ions reinforce collagen. Yes! This means the elastic tissues in your joints and your skin will stay more elastic. So rather than going to the Bay’s beauty counter, you can take a walk with supple joints, eat yummy organics, or enjoy a restorative yoga class on a Bio-mat and improve your beautiful health within and without!
3. Negative Ions improve cellular metabolism. The more efficient your (cellular) metabolism, the more easily your body can bring in energy, repair cells, and release waste. In short, the better your cellular metabolism, the better your overall health, happiness, and longevity.
4. Negative Ions strengthen the body’s immune system. The more energy left over from cellular metabolism, the better your immune system functions because it can create more “soldiers” and less acidic toxins. Increase negative ions and you’ll increase your immune system, letting you get on with creating your joyful life.
So, “what’s the easiest way of getting negative-ions into my life” you ask?
-Eat FLOW foods (fresh, local, organic, whole)
-Spend time in nature
-Minimize exposure to positive ions (especially processed foods and too much time with electronic and electrical devices)
-Enjoy a yummy restorative yoga class on a negative-ion crystal biomat, or have your own for work or sleep.
-Drink fresh, filtered, and even ionized water in abundance.
-Love yourself, creating sanctuaries for healing and happiness and you’ll find the decrease in positive ions from stress will create more space for this negative-ion glow, starting from your happiness within.
The message: Nourish your body by bathing in negative-ions to improve health and happiness from your cells to your smile.
Experience it yourself: Reserve Your Space in a Restorative Spa-Yoga session complete with your own negative-ion biomat!
Find your FLOW and Breathe, Live, and Eat right for your digestive health.
There's nothing better than the feeling of a strong stomach, after a meal that served your soul (and your health).
Increasingly individuals are turning away from processed food and into food that's easy for your body to process; away from fast food and towards healthy fasting. We're quickly learning that good digestion leads to a long and healthy life, and that our food and lifestyle choices are key to digestive health. So what's the best way to eat for your optimal digestive health?
The one-sentence answer: Improve your FLOW.
In order to make the most of your food, and to minimize stress, flow must be there. Your flow of breath, your flow of life, and your FLOW foods- Fresh, Local, Organic, and Whole.
Flow of Breath:
Take 5 minutes each day and focus upon deepening and lengthening your flow of breath. Really massaging your abdomen as you pull your stomach in deeply as you exhale. With deep belly breaths you'll increase your oxygen flow and improve your circulation to your digestive tract- this will make it easier for your body to break down and digest your nutrient-rich food. More oxygen, more nutrients, more energy, more health. In short, increase your flow of breath for more energy for more joy.
Flow of Life:
Take the time to eat mindfully. Yes, food on the run with your Iphone in hand is easy, but are you supporting your best digestive health? Probably not. Iin the long-run that sluggish feeling after eating will slow down your productivity anyhow, so why not slow down your breath, your body, your flow of life, and allow your rest and digest nervous state to take over for your meal- your body will thank you with more energy and a lighter feeling in the gut as your body was able to divert its energy to breaking down food for health.
(If, however, you have the new Yoga for Internal Health App on your phone- coming soon!, feel free to breathe along as you eat.)
Next time you go shopping remember this acronym:
Yes, one little acronym will do it all. By eating FLOW foods you will increase your body's intake of enzymes, vitamins, nutrients, and minimize new toxins being added to your body, enabling breath and movement to do its work in empowering yourself back to optimal health. In this state, stressful events simply roll off your shoulders because you have the resources to handle them effectively. If you suspect food sensitivities, visit your Naturopathc Doctor, or get in touch for a referral to a great ND in your area- it's worth finding out for yourself.
By improving your FLOW in Breath, Life, and Food choices you improve your digestion, strengthening your relaxation response which will help you combat stress and improving health in every moment. In-between yoga classes, treat yourself to better health and embrace the FLOW of your joyful life.
From my inner truth to your inner health,
Inner Truth Yoga-
Inner truth yoga is a growing yoga and wellness company that was inspired by the journey into discovering joy within, and bringing it into life, one moment and one decision at a time. Thank you to the amazing Yogis who came before and found the connections between energy, breath, movement and life. With an attitude to learning, we endeavor to pass on these teachings with as much consideration and integrity as the state in which they were created. Thank you.
Improve your digestion using yoga! My Grandmother used to say that 'good bowels and a good disposition go hand in hand'; turns out- it's true!
For years I had trouble mustering the happiness I knew my life deserved, until I cleaned up my diet, and started doing yoga regularly!
During this journey Dr Jason Hughes told me,
"Over 80% of your body's Serotonin is produced in the Small Intestine. This cannot happen if the small intestine is inflamed."
As the old wisdom knew, great digestion enables great happiness!
So, if your gut is inflamed through poor elimination, IBS, food sensitivities, or a highly-stressed state, not only are you more at risk for colon-cancer from this inflammation, but your body won't be able to produce enough serotonin for you to experience joy regularly in life! So how do we create happiness naturally from within? Decrease inflammation through Diet, Yoga, and Breath!
This pursuit of joy, of health, and of personal empowerment through healthy digestion is what encouraged me to create a DVD that you can take home and practice daily in your own cozy surroundings, on your schedule. Through this DVD you can promote a healthy digestive system by increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation, and creating a 'rest and digest', relaxed state for your nervous system in which your body can heal and feel joyful. Do all that you can for to encourage happiness that radiates from within!
I encourage you to come learn to breathe, twist, and relax for your best health and wellness.
So far we've seen some amazing results from these techniques in improving digestive flow, producing abundant energy, revitalizing skin, increasing circulation, and creating overall feelings of well-being. Come join me for a breath-focused Yoga for Digestive Health session, purchase the DVD, or pass along this information to someone you love who may benefit from learning to breathe for optimal health.
Warmly and with much love,
Inner Truth Yoga- Inner truth yoga is a growing yoga and wellness company that was inspired by the journey into discovering joy within, and bringing it into life, one moment and one decision at a time. Thank you to the Executive Success Programs Community, and to Wanda Woods, for your incredible support in my own journey of personal growth and exploration. Your demonstrated commitment to building a more consistently ethical and compassionate world has been true motivation and has helped me in creating this, my own focus, and labour of love.
From my inner truth to your inner health, -Sarah
Improve your digestion using yoga! Oxygen is free, it is abundant, and it is one of the most under-rated tools for creating vibrant health. Learn to use it! Here's why...
Because breath is the only system in our body that is both fully controllable, and fully automatic, by learning to work with our breath we can tap into the autonomic nervous system and affect our body's chemistry.
Dr Andrew Weil, MD, in his lecture "Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing" talks about the vast health improvements he's seen his patients go through when they incorporate simple breathing techniques, as little as 5 min/ day, into their daily routine. These included, weight control, improved circulation (no more cold hands!), relief from anxiety and depression, improvement in heart-irregularities including atrial fibrillation, reduction in digestive upset including bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel, cancer remissions, allergies, and a variety of other health-concerns large and small that dissipated over time with short but persistent use of breath-techniques.
By influencing our breath, we can affect our moods, digestion, immune system, hormones, and circulation. Ultimately, we can control our health with breath.
In yoga for better digestion we use yogic breath techniques and gentle postures to retrain your diaphragm and lungs to breath deeply and fully, relaxing your body, increasing oxygen, improving circulation, and putting your health back into your hands... and your lungs!
Our breath is indeed the master key to health.
I encourage you to come learn to breathe for your best health and wellness.
So far we've seen some amazing results from these techniques in improving digestive flow, producing abundant energy, revitalizing skin, increasing circulation, and creating overall feelings of well-being. Come join me for a breath-focused Yoga for Digestive Health session, or pass along this information to someone you love who may benefit from learning to breathe for optimal health.
Inner Truth Yoga
Inner truth yoga is a growing yoga and wellness company that was inspired by the journey into discovering joy within, and bringing it into life, one moment and one decision at a time.