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Author Archive for: Brittanya

Get the Most out of Yoga Class: 5 Easy Tips to Starting an at Home Yoga Practice

November 5, 2013
November 5, 2013

Get the Most out of Yoga Class:
5 Easy Tips to Starting an at Home Yoga Practice
by Lucka Mantra
______________________________________________

When it comes to getting better at any skill, you’ve probably already heard that a little bit of practice every day is more beneficial than a really long session once a week.

If you were taking guitar or French lessons once a week, wouldn’t it make sense to practice your new riffs and scales or vocabulary outside of the lesson setting?

Well, it is the same with yoga classes. Taking home what you learned in your class and practicing it at your own speed is where a lot of the yoga magic happens.

But what if you struggle to find the time or motivation to roll out your mat on a daily basis?  Here are 5 tips that can help you get started:

1)     Schedule it! Practicing around the same time every day will greatly increase the likelihood of creating the habit.
 I like to do my at home yoga practice in the morning after my workout when my body is nice and warmed up. It was kind of painful the first few times that I did this but before long my body – and more importantly, my mind – really did adjust. Schedule a time of day that you will do your routine and stick to it. When it is time, put down whatever you are doing and get started.

2)     Just put on those stretchy pants and get started!
So now you have your yoga time scheduled. But its yoga time and you feel lazy. What do you do? Go put on your stretchy pants; it will help you get in the mood. The hardest part of working out is putting on your workout clothes! My goal is to do 15-20 minutes of yoga on a regular basis, and once I put on my gear and get started I usually get so into it that I keep going for 30-45 minutes.
3)     Do poses that your body loves.
Why not look forward to practicing at home rather than seeing at it like it is something you have to do? By doing poses that you love you help your body feel amazing and it will make you want to do it more often. You can save the more challenging poses to practice at your yoga class where you will have an experienced instructor to guide you.

4)     If you don’t know what to practice, find a sequence that you enjoy and follow it as a starter guide.
There are tons of free resources online. Think of something that you want to work on (my thing right now is the splits) and look up a ‘how to’ video on Youtube. I have also used this morning sequence as a guide to get me started, and then I add other poses as I feel like.

5)     Make a yoga practice calendar.
Every day that you practice mark your calendar with an X and try to sting as many X’s together as possible. This is a technique that Jerry Seinfeld used to motivate himself to write.
Jerry once said, “Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain. Don’t break the chain.”

 

Lucka is a yoga instructor at Wild Woods Yoga and Wellness in Nelson BC.
For more articles visit www.luckamantra.com

Man I love that Sauna!

November 1, 2013
November 1, 2013

sauna_lady_cream_towelYou may or may not know this, but we have an infrared sauna at the studio and I LOVE that thing. I’m pretty sure that I get the most use out of and this is a trend that will most likely continue. But don’t worry, I like to share, so I’ll make sure there’s lots of time for you to use the sauna too…I promise!

I’ve been getting a few common questions about the sauna so while I was sitting in there sweating today I decided I’d come home and answer some of those questions here for you!

1. When should I use the sauna in relation to my yoga class or massage?

If you are having a massage I highly recommend using the sauna before your appointment. It will warm up your tissues and help you to relax before you even get on the massage table, making your massage far more effective and thorough.

If you are heading to a yoga class I’d recommend using the sauna before your class in order to more deeply stretch areas of excess tension, or after your class if you’d like to save the sweatiness for when you’re heading home. Please only go for that deep stretch if you know that your targeting muscle group is actually in need of a serious stretch. The body is prone to imbalances (called upper crossed and lower crossed syndromes) where one set of muscles is overly tight and the opposing set is overly long. The overly long muscle group can feel tight as well, but it does not need to be stretched more. A common occurence of this is in the rhomboid muscles (the muscles between your shoulder blades)…they definitely feel great to be stretched, but in the majority of cases they are in dire need of strengthening…not stretching. And that’s the end of my little rant on not overstretching muscle groups that don’t need it! Remember that adding heat and stretching those groups can equal injury. If you have questions about this let me know or come in during retail hours…I’d be stoked to help you understand it more fully!!

2. How long should I stay in the sauna for?

If it’s your first time in the sauna I’d recommend 20-30 minutes at the most. It’s a good way to judge how your body will be affected by the heat of the sauna. After that, work your way up to sweating in the sauna for up to 40 minutes if it feels right for you. Any dizziness or discomfort indicates that you need to get out of the sauna.

3. What are the benefits of using the sauna?

There are many benefits of using the sauna from relaxation to detoxification. Click HERE to find more details about each of these benefits:

– Detoxification: Eliminate toxins and pollutants from your body
– Burn calories and control weight
– Relax and relieve stress
– Relieve aches and pains
– Build up your immune system
– Strength your cardiovascular system
– Improve skin quality & tone
– Enjoy the benefits of a workout without the pain

4. For what reasons should I not use the sauna?

Current medical history:

  • Pregnant or lactating
  • Dehydration
  • Recent (acute, within 48 hours) joint injury, chronically hot and swollen joints, enclosed infections (either dental, in joints or any other tissue).
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Heat illness (heat cramp/exhaustion/stroke)
  • Medication with a narrow therapeutic index, out of which is life threatening
  • Unstable hypertension
  • Severe hypotension
  • Hemophilia and/or a predisposition to hemorrhage
  • Superficial metallic implants (ie. metal pins, rods, artificial joints or any other surgical implant due to the reflection of infrared rays by these articles

Currently have:

  • Diabetes
    • also use insulin subcutaneous injections
    • also have neuropathy
  • Neuropathy
  • Acute or chronic edema or lymphedema (swelling of the wrists, ankles, etc.)
  • Cholinergic urticaria, acantholytic dermatosis, malaria, severe burns/scarring/heat rash
  • Am attempting to conceive (male or female)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Take street/recreational drugs (please circle either past or present) [eg. amphetamines, heroin, cocaine]
  • Take medications which may predispose me to heat illnesses when exposed to heat [eg. sympathomimetics, anticholinergics, tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, phenothiazines]
  • Take medication that may reduce perspiration ability [eg. diuretics, barbiturates, ß-blockers]

Read the following carefully before starting an Infrared Sauna session.

Please remember that infrared heat is simply radiant energy in the form of a band of light that radiates heat penetrating the skin to a depth of 1½ inches or more. This radiant heat is efficient because it warms the body internally, not the air. To regulate the temperature of the infrared sauna during use, open the door for cooling.

  • For optimal results, refrain from using the sauna on a full stomach.
  • It is important to remain hydrated. For best results, drink water prior, during and after your sauna session.
  • Do not apply excess body lotion to your body prior to a sauna session.
  • Use at least 3 towels:
    • sit on one folded towel for perspiration absorption and cushioning
    • use another towel on the floor to absorb extra sweat
    • use a third towel to wipe off your body surface sweat
  • At the first sign of a cold or flu, increasing sauna sessions may be beneficial in boosting the immune system and decreasing the reproductive rate of viruses and bacteria.
  • As your body becomes more heat conditioned, you may want to have the sauna session increased to 45 minutes or longer. Please remember to hydrate your system with plenty of water during the full session.

 

I hope this answers some of your questions! If you have more let us know!!

                                          Brittanya

 

To book an appointment call 250-352-5505 or email info@wildwoodswellness.com.

 

A New Recipe!

June 9, 2013
June 9, 2013

Sugar Free Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Let me begin by explaining that I have been on a Candida Cleanse for the last ten days and still have five and a half days to go. This means no sugar, no grains, no flour, no dairy, no condiments…nothing but meat and vegetables pretty much…and some berries, green apples, and citrus fruits. But that’s it.

I am quite a sugar addict and I love my cheeses…so this is no small feat and I’m quite proud that I haven’t yet cheated! However, things are getting a little boring around here, and not being able to bake any sweet treats (one of my favourite hobbies) has been pretty lame. On top of that, the rhubarb in our garden was getting massive and was in dire need of being used. Most of it went in the freezer since there was sooooo much, but Jeff and I both wanted to use some of it somehow….especially since we found out that rhubarb is technically a vegetable, which means I can eat it! Today I was inspired to try making a cleanse friendly treat, and here it is!

Let me introduce you to my little friend…who has no sugar, no flour, no grains, no gluten, no anything bad for you!! Now, this recipe isn’t very exact, so step outside your box when you prepare to make it and recognize that you can’t really do much wrong. And have fun!!

Sugar Free Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients for the base:

  • About 3 green apples chopped
  • An equal amount of rhubarb
  • As much cinnamon and nutmeg as you want to use…I shook quite a bit on there…probably close to 2 tbsp of cinnamon and 2 tsp of nutmeg
  • Around 5 drops of stevia

Ingredients for the crumble topping:

  • About 2 cups of nuts (pecans are the best, yum, almonds work, or any other nuts you like…or use a combination like I did)
  • A handful of sunflower seeds
  • A handful (or more) of organic unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3-4 tbsp of ghee or butter at room temperature
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Step 1 – chop rhubarb and apples and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle or shake on as much cinnamon and nutmeg as you’d like and add the stevia. Mix these guys up so that the apples and rhubarb are well covered. Spread over an ungreased 8×8 baking pan.
  • Step 2 – place nuts, seeds, and coconut in a blender and blend until it’s fairly well broken down with no big chunks left over. You may have to scrape the mix into the center of the blender a few times. Then pour this mix into a bowl.
  • Step 3 – add the ghee or butter, stevia, and vanilla extract to the mixture and use your hands to mix everything together until it becomes crumbly. Then spread it over the fruit in the pan.
  • Step 4 – bake at 350 degrees until the topping is slightly browned and the fruit is soft.
  • Step 5 – ENJOY!

 

I hope you’re getting the sunshine that we are getting…it is lovely!!! Have a fantastic day and much love to each and every one of you!


 

First World Problems

January 26, 2013
January 26, 2013

I’ve been going about my day to day business, concerning myself with teaching classes where everyone can practice “safely”, not hurting themselves; giving massages “safely”, making sure to use care while massaging more sensitive parts of the body; and here and there worrying about how to make ends meet, how to find enough time in the day to get things done, and when I might host a retreat. La dee da dee da…BAM.

The real world sends a little reminder in the form of the movie Machine Gun Preacher. Wake up call, people are still being senselessly murdered, children are being forced to kill people, young girls are being raped, and entire families/villages are being wiped out, all while we go about our day to day business, worrying about our first world problems. We might hear about a war here or a conflict there in passing and many of us don’t even acknowledge that we heard that news anymore. In one ear, ah yes another conflict, out the other ear.

I have actually just plain old been avoiding the news in general for the past few years. Here’s the dilemma: can we really do anything to help? If you’re anything like me you become overwhelmed quickly when you ponder this question. You might think YES! Yes I can. So you set out to find out how you can help. And then are instantly overwhelmed again. So many parts of the world need your help due to both natural and man-made disasters that are taking lives and homes, food and shelter, every single day. You reach the point again where you think, how can I possibly help when there is so much to do? I grew up seeing pictures on my Gramma’s fridge of the children she sponsored in Africa. But then you hear about how little money makes it through the beauraucracy of some of those organizations to the children and people that really need the help, and you wonder if it’s worth donating. Yet the cost of packing up and flying there to take direct action is money that could be well spent feeding people and helping create sources of clean drinking water and safe haven. And so the circle of overwhelm continues. On and on and on…this would be why I stopped listening to the news. It becomes consuming.

I have no real answers for you, this post is really just an inward ramble, thoughts that need to get out. I know we all have the capacity to help, but I am trying to figure out what form that needs to take. In how many directions can my mind go at one time, and in which direction do I need to dedicate action?

For now I know that one of the easiest things each of us can do is this: accept yourself, love yourself, and let that love grow so much, become so strong, that it overflows and affects all of those people around you. Let it inspire those people around you to love themselves, to a point that their love also overflows and affects the people around them. Let that love become a tidal wave that can continue to grow. Let each of us become so full of love and abundance that it is impossible for every single person in the world to not feel that love. Maybe, one person at a time, we can convert the world into a more loving place, where the thought of harming another human being becomes incomprehensible.

Do that one thing for me. Set a timer on your phone if you need to, or just take a seat, and start this process of filling yourself with love and sending it out to those who really need it. Let it overflow from you, and hopefully it will touch someone you see today.

February 12th is Red Hand Day. Read about it here: Red Hand Day – to end the use of children as soldiers

I’d love to know what your thoughts are on making a difference. Do you donate to organizations? Have you traveled to places in need to physically help? Do you run or work for an organization? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Peace and love to you and every single being.

Brittanya

Resistance is Futile

January 5, 2013
January 5, 2013

In preparation for teaching a morning boot camp starting next week (7:15 am, ugh) I have been getting up early every day this week…easing my way into it. I’m not sure that there is any real ease in early mornings for me, I just haven’t been that much of a morning person. Ever. However, I scheduled myself to teach a 7:15am class Monday to Thursday not because I am crazy (I’m not denying that though), but because I feel as though it is something I have been resisting for a long long time, and I am ready to overcome some resistance! Now you might be thinking that you aren’t resistant to getting up early, you just need those beauty winks, or you don’t have to work til later so why not, or who wouldn’t sleep in whenever they could?! My thought is always that Oscar, my dog, needs more morning cuddles and I should be under the covers to keep me warm…which leads to more dozing. Those are resistant thoughts!!!

I know this because I got up early this morning, ate my grapefruit, laid out my yoga mat, and half-heartedly got down to my practice. After taking 45 minutes to do what normally takes me 10 minutes, transitioning to yin yoga for one 7 minute pose, screwing around aimlessly, and then eating a cookie, I ended up here. Writing this. I realized after the first 30 minutes that I was full on resisting my practice. Why? Who cares why. What now is the more relevant question here. Do I push through it and complete a practice anyways? Do I wrap it up and move on to something else (which was this mornings choice)? Do I head out and find a yoga class to go to? Do I look for inspiration? There never is a right answer to anything, it’s all subjective you know, but on this one I guess it’s all a personal choice. I might try doing an online class after this and see what happens…I know I need to get my sweat on at some point today (that turkey baby is still lingering from Christmas…and Christmas Eve…and Boxing Day…uuuugh).

The upshot here is that this mornings practice brought this idea of resistance up for me. I have been resisting a lot in my life lately, and I’m sure some of you are resisting things like your New Year’s Resolutions…or you soon will be. So if you aren’t yet, now is a great time to figure out what to do with that resistance so that you don’t end up sleeping in every morning, putting off your new goals, and waking up in a month to realize that you look like grumpy cat every single day.

What I want to know is what YOU do, or what you plan to do, when you feel that resistance? Or if you even recognize when you are resisting something?  Leave a comment below or head over to my Facebook home and let me know what you do!

Have a sparkly day!

Brittanya

Strengthening Your Intuition

October 23, 2012
October 23, 2012

“Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference and/or the use of reason. “The word ‘intuition’ comes from the Latin word ‘intueri’ which is usually translated as ‘to look inside’ or ‘to contemplate’.” (From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuition_%28psychology%29).

Do you follow your gut feelings? Have you ever ignored that feeling and found out later that you really should have listened to it?  Most of us have experienced that in some form, whether we realize it or not. Some people are more in tune with their intuition and others aren’t sure what intuition is. If you are one of those people who tries to stay in tune but sometimes forgets to listen, this is for you!

Have you ever noticed that animals don’t hesitate on their decisions unless we force them to? If a horse in the wild thought ” meh, maybe there’s a cougar in there, maybe there isn’t, I’m going to keep eating anyways” they would be killed in no time. Horses have extremely strong intuition because their lives depend upon it. Before domestication, animals required intuition for survival, and so they listen to it keenly, barking and growling at people that are agressive, shying away from things that could be dangerous, and keeping their energetic feelers on high alert.

Intuition is a powerful tool that can guide us towards decisions and actions that will draw us along the path of our higher purpose, often speeding along the process. Our intuition can tell us when certain decisions will work out well, and it can let us know that we are taking the wrong step, before we even realize that we are doing these things. It is therefore a fantastic thing to enhance and strengthen, so that we can fumble less and enjoy life more, knowing that we are doing things that are good for ourselves and therefore, those around us!

Like our brain, “if you don’t use it, you lose…” intuition as well. If you get gut feelings that tell you not to do something but you constantly do them anyways, you are sending a loud and clear message to your body that you don’t care what it has to say. Over time you will find that your intuition just fades away, leaving you to make every decision based on what your brain, ego, and society deem to be important. Your decisions and actions will benefit your ego and the rest of you that is “you” will wither. Maybe you’ll feel disconnected, ungrounded, materialistic; or maybe you’ll feel nothing at all, which is a tragedy.

However, if you do use your intuition it will flourish! Every time you follow that gut feeling and make decisions and take actions based on what you feel, you strengthen your own capacity to know what steps to take easily and effortlessly! It’s a positive reward for your body everytime you listen to it, making it stronger, healthier, and more centered. You will find that when you are trying to make a decision your intuition will kick in more quickly and give you stronger signals! If this sounds like something you’ve been tyring to do, then try these quick daily activities to strengthen your intuition more:

  • force yourself to make atleast one small decision every day (anything, whether to drink coffee or tea, when to eat lunch, which gas station to fill up at, etc) and go with whatever your gut feeling is. Focus on the decision and the options, and whichever clearly has the strongest pull, go for. Following through is the most important aspect of this.
  • spend a few minutes in meditation on a decision that you are trying to make. Allow your mind to become clear so that the answers that you require can fill in that space.
  • do something that you have been meaning to do that has been nagging at you….and see how great you feel after!
  • drink enough water (atleast 2 litres a day).
  • get out into nature or connect with animals on a daily basis, they are our best teachers.

Now get out there and get intuiting!

I wish you health, happiness, and many smiles!  Brittanya

Photo courtesy of Sarah Underwood Photography: http://www.sarahunderwood.com/

Shake It Off

October 16, 2012
October 16, 2012

We all know the typical scenario because we’ve all been there. You get into an argument with another person, maybe your hands are shaking a little; you’re replaying the events over and over again in your mind thinking of what they said and what you should have said; you call a friend or ten to tell them about the big event, to hash it out and reinforce that you were right; and it is your focus.

Now think to a time when you’ve seen dogs meeting or playing. They run out into the dog park, ready to face the new adventure of new friends and play times! Here comes a great big dog, ready to play “I’m going to chase you down and pounce on you because I am dominant”. This is generally a pretty scary event, one that rightfully merits a show of dominance back. Up go the hackles, down goes the tail, ready to communicate some aggression back, ready to establish the pecking order before playtime. Whatever form of hierarchical shuffling needs to happen ensues, and then both dogs continue on their merry way (maybe playing together or parting ways), taking one last moment to shake off their hackles. As simple as that!

Is it possible for us humans to take a cue from our canine friends? Can we learn to shake off our hackles just as simply and easily? I say yes! If it comes to the point of argument, then get it out, say what needs to be said, write down what you need to write down (like a forgiveness letter), consider what good came of that argument, and then LET IT GO. Do whatever you need to do to shake it off. If that means meditating, going for a run, or stepping out for some deep breaths, then do it! Mentally even see yourself taking a big shake and releasing those emotional hackles.

As Buddha said “holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.” So the next time you are angry and following the same old scenario, pause and considering taking a new approach to it this time!

I wish you much luck in this, along with much happiness and many smiles!

Cheers, Brittanya

Dynamic Massage Works

Need a reason to get a massage?

July 26, 2012
July 26, 2012

The Benefits Of Massage
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:

  • Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
  • Ease medication dependence.
  • Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
  • Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
  • Increase joint flexibility.
  • Lessen depression and anxiety.
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
  • Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
  • Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
  • Reduce spasms and cramping.
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
  • Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
  • Relieve migraine pain.

A Powerful Ally
There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.

Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:

  • Decreased anxiety.
  • Enhanced sleep quality.
  • Greater energy.
  • Improved concentration.
  • Increased circulation.
  • Reduced fatigue.

Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.

Profound Effects
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:

  • Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
  • Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
  • Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
  • High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
  • Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
  • Preterm infants have improved weight gain.

Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.

Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.

 

From http://www.massagetherapy.com/learnmore/benefits.php