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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Sep 20 2017 08:00AM

Yoga teacher Emma Klein looks at some steps you can take to obtain some yogic super powers...


So, everyone knows that by practicing yoga they can get super powers, right?


Wait, what? You mean like Clark Kent, superman type super powers?


Yes! No! Ok, Maybe. . . . . . .

The final step in the yogic journey is enlightenment, and one of the benefits or shall we say side effects of enlightenment is siddhis or special powers. These powers are rumoured to be anything from levitation to invisibility, but one of the rules of obtaining siddhis, like fight club, is to never talk about your siddhis!


So how do I obtain these super powers you might ask?


Well, there are multiple ways, but the one that is said to be the easiest to follow is Patanjali’s Ashatanga or Eight Limbed Path. Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most common Paths followed today as it gives very clear steps with clear results. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s are a systemic and practical method to enlightenment. Some of the steps are easier to follow than others but they can be grouped into sections to make it easier to master.


• Building your foundations through Yamas and Niyamas (Ethics and Self-observations)



• Steadying the Mind and Body through Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara (Physical Practice, Breathe Control and Sense Withdrawal)

This involves keeping the body and mind healthy. Through regular exercise (whether that be yoga or not), being aware of the breath and how it affects our body and working on being able to step back and quiet our minds


• Moving deeper within the mind through Dharana and Dhyana (Concentration and Meditation)

Training the mind to not wonder, and to be completely still for extended periods of time.


• Reaching Samadhi / Enlightenment (Bliss)

The culmination, where even the sense of being falls away and a person is no longer weighed down by earthly things, experiencing true peace and finally gaining super powers.


One of the translations of the formal definition of Yoga is: “Yoga is the restraint of the fluctuations in the mind.”


Yoga is finding true stillness of mind. With this true stillness of mind comes enlightenment.


The Asana or physical practice are only one aspect of yoga, and anything that helps you to discipline and find stillness of mind can be referred to as yoga.


Good luck on your Yogic Journeys

Namaste

Emma






By West Norwood Therapies Team, Sep 13 2017 08:00AM

Acupuncturist Philippa Summers looks at periods in the context of wider health and shares the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to helping support your menstrual cycle, including how acupuncture can help.


Cramps, heavy bleeding, sore breasts, back pain, poor sleep and mood swings - periods can be a time of dread and misery for many women. Do you pop a pill and struggle on? Does it interfere with what you are able to do? Do you collapse on the sofa with a hot water bottle and work your way through a month’s supply of chocolate? You don’t have to just get through it, you can change the nature of your periods. I have many clients who have had dramatic long lasting improvements in their cycles. Read on to find out how acupuncture can help.


Our menstrual cycles often display patterns that reflect our wider health and from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective they provide a very useful insight. Rectifying underlying patterns can help to adjust your period as well as helping with other symptoms that may seem unrelated. Even women whose periods are not disruptive, may gain insights into their wider health by looking at their cycles – for example short, light scanty periods may be a sign that you could benefit from more nourishment and may coincide with other symptoms like tiredness, poor concentration and dull headaches.


It is easy to believe that what we experience each month is normal because it becomes what we are used to, even when it verges on the extreme, especially if it has crept up over time. One client in her forties, had been having severe cramps since she was a teenager. They were so bad that she was on several occasions given morphine to deal with the pain. She had a course of acupuncture spread over 3 months and now comes once every 6 weeks or so. Most of her periods are now completely pain free, for the odd one she has mild pain that is easily managed. Unusual periods can also in themselves lead onto other issues, for example heavy blood loss every month can over time lead to anaemia. So don’t just put up with things.


To understand what is influencing the period we take a close look at just about every aspect of the whole cycle and especially the period – length of cycle, length of bleed, blood flow, consistency of the blood and whether or not there are clots, the size of the clots, any pain, the nature and location of the pain and when in the cycle you feel it, likewise with moods throughout the whole cycle. These details are put together with other aspects of your health – your digestion, sleep, energy levels and any other symptoms, for example headaches. Taking your pulse and looking at your tongue also give vital clues.


These finding are then put together to identify patterns of disharmony that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) relate to Qi, blood and the balance of yin and yang. In biomedical terms these loosely correlate with hormonal levels, adrenal function and a host of other factors that influence our physiology. It can help to pin point issues that may need to be further investigated and diagnosed by your GP. Any bleeding outside your normal period should always be checked promptly with your GP and I would encourage women with any unusual symptoms to consult their GP if they have not already done so. Treatment is focused on you as a whole so it is not just your period symptoms that benefit. A look at lifestyle helps to identify small steps you can take to support treatment – often dietary and exercise adjustments – based on your TCM diagnosis and what you feel is manageable.


Acupuncture is gentle and relaxing – the needles, as fine as a hair, are gently inserted and you just lay back and relax for 20 minutes or so while they work their magic. Well, actually, far from being magic the mechanisms by which acupuncture works are increasingly well understood. Acupuncture stimulates the fascia which triggers a cascade of hormonal and neurological effects that reduce inflammation, affect blood flow and influence the body’s homeostatic self regulating ability to heal itself.


Your period is a wonderful embodiment of your fertility, don’t put up with discomfort or distressing symptoms. Help them feel like a blessing and not a curse.





By West Norwood Therapies Team, Aug 30 2017 08:00AM

This week's blog is a guest blog from local career and life coach Meg Lyons who is offering WNT clients 10% off a 3 month coaching program for September


I discovered West Norwood Therapies when I was going through a particularly challenging time at work. Within the context of a restructure at my company, my role had changed, I had responsibility for a completely new team in an area of the business I knew nothing about, and I felt little connection to the day-to-day drudgery of conference calls and meetings that seemed to achieve very little. I wasn’t making time for exercise, I was craving carbs and sugar, and I was generally feeling exhausted, like I was on a hamster wheel – racing hard but not feeling much joy out of all the effort. Each day, I was slowly losing touch with who I was and what I loved to do.


Fortunately, some acupuncture with the amazing Philippa helped with my general lack of energy and sluggishness, and being in the warm, nurturing treatment room at WNT was a relaxing and powerful way for me to take a break from the daily grind. Lying on the table with needles in me was a great way to force myself to be still!


I also finally realized that I needed to change my work situation and pursue my goal of doing work that was more aligned with my values, strengths, and interests.


Does any of the above sound familiar? Having experienced the stress of being dissatisfied with my career, where enjoying work had stopped feeling like a possibility, I know how hard that is. In my role as a career and life coach, here are some considerations if you’re experiencing anything less than joy in your work.


Understand your values: Our values are our guiding lights, core pieces of ourselves that make us who we are and that shape our decisions and behavior. If you have a value that you’re not incorporating into your work, that can eventually erode your sense of enjoyment and authenticity. Perhaps people and connection are important to you, and you find yourself working much of the time independently. Or perhaps you value autonomy and your every move is scrutinized by a micro-managing boss. Whatever it may be, when we work in line with our values, we feel more alive, more on purpose. What’s the missing ingredient that you would add in to make your work more enjoyable? It might be that there’s a value you can intentionally add in, either to your work or to your life outside work, that would give you more satisfaction.


Work to your strengths: Our strengths allow us to shine – they’re what we’re good at, what we’re known for, what we use that can make work feel easy. Many times we under-estimate these strengths, or we assume that everyone has them and that they’re not special. Nothing could be further from the truth – your strengths are part of what make you, you! How much are you getting to use your strengths at work, on a scale of 1-10? Where are there opportunities to use them more, so that you can shine? Is there a way of partnering with someone you work with who has complementary strengths to yours? If you’re not quite sure what your strengths are, ask some people who are important to you, perhaps friends, colleagues, and family members. Find out from them what they think you do well, when they’ve seen you put that strength into action, and what difference it made. Make sure it’s people who know you well, and whose opinions you value. Find out from them what they see as your strengths; in their replies, you’ll understand which of your strengths have the most impact.


Keep things in balanced perspective: Often if we’re under stress at work, our instinct can be to push harder. “Once I get through this project, I’ll make more time for exercise.” “It’s busy now, but when I come up for air, I’ll focus on my relationships outside work.” These are things we tell ourselves, that justify our working more, even if it’s counter-intuitive! Often it’s the voice of an “inner critic” driving this dialogue. What would it be like to step away from your desk at lunch and go for a walk to get some fresh air? Or to stop checking your work email after a certain time, so that you can focus on being at home and relaxing? There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings! We need time to recharge and be restored. Next time you’re inclined to put in that little bit more time in the day, ask yourself, “What am I saying ‘yes’ to and what am I saying ‘no’ to?” Saying “yes” to success and achievement is important, but it’s also important to say “yes” to balance, energy, and a life outside work.


If you’ve lost that loving feeling with Mondays (not to mention Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays!), but are not sure what you’d do instead of what you’re doing now, let’s have a conversation. If you believe work should be enjoyable, rewarding, and fun – but that’s not what you’re experiencing now – then please get in touch at meg@meglyons.com. I’d love to help you discover the work that makes you feel truly alive.



Meg Lyons is a career and life coach who works with people who want more fun, and less stress, in life. Through career coaching, she helps people understand what ideal work looks like for them, and then supports them as they get into action to make it happen.



By West Norwood Therapies Team, Aug 23 2017 08:00AM

Our nutritional therapist Audra Chukukere shares some background information on gut health and why this is a good place to start when working with a range of symptoms.



As a nutritional therapist with a special interest in hormones, it might strike you as odd that I place so much importance on gut health. Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring the link between the gut and the health status of the body.


‘All disease begins in the gut’

is a quote attributed to Hippocrates, the godfather of modern medicine.


When I first read this, I struggled to see how certain ailments had anything to do with the gut. However, with more experience supporting people on their journey to optimum health, I have come to the realisation that there might be some truth to this after all.


Any talk about gut health, is not complete without a giant nod to our microbiome – the collection of microorganisms that live in and on us. We have more bacteria cells than human cells and most of them live in our gut. So are we just a host for bacteria?


There are about 500 different species of bacteria in the gut but 99% of the bacteria comes from only 40 different species.


The relationship between us and our gut microbiota is complex – some bacteria are free-loaders that don’t cause any disease, pathogenic ones that cause disease, pathogenic ones that don’t, fungi, parasites, and bacteria stiil to be identified. The beneficial ones are called probiotics.


What have good bacteria done for us lately?

For starters, they:

• Breakdown food to help us absorb nutrients better

• Produce vitamins like k2 useful for clotting

• Keep pathogenic bacteria under control

• Support our natural defences – over 70% of our immune system lives in the gut

• Metabolise and help excrete oestrogen

• Produce neurotransmitters – 80% of serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter)

• Regulate metabolism


The Microbiome and Hormones

A special class of microbiome is responsible for metabolising oestrogen. When oestrogen is made by the ovaries (primarily) it gets inactivated in the liver, passes through the intestines and is then eliminated in stools. When a certain class of bacteria is present however, it produces an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase which mucks up this process. It reactivates oestrogen which gets reabsorbed causing an imbalance. Ostrogen dominance is implicated in all female hormone irregularities including, acne, low libido, PMS, heavy bleeding, mood swings, migraines (before periods), uterine fibroids and any cancers that are oestrogen-dominant.


Oestrogen is also produced, in small amounts, by our fatty tissue (adipose) so weight gain can be a cause and an effect of hormonal imbalance. An interesting piece of research showed that obese germ-free mice (unfortunately still used in experiments) were given the gut bacteria from lean but not germ-free bacteria. The obese mice lost weight. And guess what? It worked the other way too. Obviously not conclusive evidence as we are not mice but enough to support the theory that gut bacteria play a role in weight management.


So how do you know your gut microbiome is in need of some TLC?


Some of the signs that you might have an unhappy gut microbiome include:

• Bloating

• Wind/burping

• Flatulence

• Constipation and Diarrhoea

• Menstrual Irregularities

• Fatigue

• Brain Fog


My consulations


One of my core beliefs is to work with the whole person not a collection of symptoms. So our initial consultation is thorough and in depth to allow you to talk about your health concerns, feelings and thoughts, and be listened to without judgement.


As your naturopathic nutritional therapist, I will work with you to help you attain your health goals.

Here’s to your gut health.

Audra


Reference:

Stoller-Conrad J. Microbes Help Produce Serotonin in Gut http://www.m.caltech.edu/news/microbe

Stentz R. et al A Bacterial Homolog of a Eukaryotic Inositol Phosphate Signaling Enzyme Mediates Cross-kingdom Dialog in the Mammalian Gut

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213122358.htm

Briden, L How your gut affects your hormones https://medium.com/clued-in/how-your-gut-affects-your-hormones-bc8f67509721

Abraham, S Study finds specialized bacterial cells found in the gut produce steroid hormones

https://phys.org/news/2013-09-specialized-bacterial-cells-gut-steroid.html#jCp

Brown, M and Hazen, S. The Gut Microbial Endocrine Organ: Bacterially-Derived Signals Driving Cardiometabolic Diseases

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456003/




Welcome to our blog where we share tips, advice and thoughts from our fantastic team of experienced practitioners