Superhuman Healthcare – CranioSacral Therapy

This Independence Day I found new freedom in my body. I was blessed with an amazing gift of a CranioSacral treatment. It rocked my world, to say the least…

It’s been ten years since my last CranioSacral treatment. I can remember feeling very relaxed but was unaware of the subtle effects.

My awareness of my body is very different now. Meditation has played a big role in that. During this treatment I had a much better understanding and appreciation of the internal effects.

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on treatment of the whole body. This method uses light, still touch to guide the body and nervous system into balance.

Sheila Hennessey is a licensed massage therapist and CranioSacral specialist. She provides treatments in Parker and sees private clients. She is a registered therapist with the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America. From their website:

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapists understand how an optimally functioning healthy nervous system performs.  We are trained for years on how to use acute perception skills to perceive subtle physiological changes.  We also are aware of the energetic map that underlies one’s basic health and symptomology.  We believe that health is never lost no matter what the ailment.

What happened?

To say it was very relaxing would be an understatement. My nervous system had been on overdrive for months, from moving amidst a series of life challenges.

As the stress-induced body armor melted from the heat of the Bio-Mat I entered a parasympathetic state. This allowed my body to begin the healing process. With Sheila’s expert touch and gentle guidance the layers of tension began to dissolve.

A few highlights from this session:

  • Subtle shifts and tingling sensations in my body.
  • The healing effect on my neck.
  • Sweating and detoxifying.

Afterwards I felt very light and balanced. My alignment and posture improved a great deal. I felt calmer and more comfortable in my whole being. I enjoyed this enhanced state for days on end.

I recommend this therapy to anyone who practices yoga and meditation. Not only is it phenomenal for relieving the effects of prolonged stress, it does wonders for the central axis of the spine. This gentle process can also help expedite the development of the mind-body connection.

If you are considering CranioSacral treatment, I highly recommend you contact Sheila.

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Outdoor Fitness Classes – Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club

Outdoor training season is one of my favorite times of year. Navigating the weather can be a bit of an adventure here in Parker, Colorado. We get flash hailstorms all summer and it can get pretty windy at times. Which is a big reason why I’m so grateful to have a new indoor training space.

On nice days it’s amazing to train outside here. The sunsets are gorgeous and the skies are incredible. And after a long winter it feels so good to soak up the warm sunshine while exercising.

One of my local outdoor training spots is the Parker Norwell Outdoor Fitness park. Park gyms are a very cool phenomenon. I’ve seen a few of them in my travels around the country. This one was designed by the Barkholt family from Denmark:

During travels in Asia, the family experienced how the public outdoor fitness parks everywhere offer easy access to exercise, and the perfect supplement to the family’s walking and running routines.

This experience inspired the Barkholt family to develop their own unique line of outdoor fitness equipment, expressing the very best of Danish Design: quality, functionality and aesthetics.

There’s one piece of equipment that I really like – the curved pull up/stretching bars.

It’s perfect for practicing a full range of strength and flexibility exercises. A few of my favorite exercises include:

  • Hamstring Stretches
  • Flat Back Stretch
  • Hanging Spinal Stretch
  • Leg Lifts Series (for core and leg strength)
  • High Bar Stretching

These exercises are highly beneficial for all levels of experience. If there was one thing I could recommend that people do for themselves this summer it would be to train outdoors 2-3 days a week.

I’ll be co-hosting a series of small group sessions at the Norwell Park Gym and other local outdoor training spots. Contact me if you’re interested in attending a free seminar on how to do these exercises.

For more information visit the Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club’s Facebook page.

 

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Sensory Deprivation Tanks – Pratyahara for Modern Day Life

Finally!

I’ve wanted to try a sensory deprivation tank for years. It’s been on my bucket list after hearing friends swear by them.

As luck would have it, Parker is home to the largest float spa in Colorado. I was delighted to find a Groupon deal for a 90 minute session at the Astral Float Spa.

…invented by John Lilly back in 1954, it is a lightless, soundproof tank inside which subjects float in salt water at skin temperature. The tanks are now also used for meditation and relaxation and in alternative medicine. The best thing you can do for your mind, body and soul. The only environment like it is in space or back in the womb. – Astral Float Spa

DEETS

  • The interior of the tank is about 4′ wide by 8′ long.
  • The water is approximately 10″ deep.
  • Each tank contains 800 pounds of dissolved medical grade Epsom salt.
  • The high salt content gives the water a soft and silky consistency.

So why would anyone do this? Modern day living has many people feeling desperate for relief. Our senses are bombarded constantly. The need to unplug is strong but few of us are able to get off-grid.

Sensory deprivation tanks can be an oasis for an over-stimulated nervous system. Modern day yogis can use them for practicing pratayahara, (sensory withdrawal) the fifth limb of Patanjali’s eight-fold path. According to Yogapedia:

Pratyahara is considered important in yoga because it forms a bridge between the external focus of the previous limbs of yoga and the internal focus of the subsequent limbs, which move the practitioner into concentration, meditation and, eventually, to the goal of samadhi (union with the Divine).

Fear Factor

To be honest I was a little apprehensive. Mild claustrophobia and concerns of being too cold crossed my mind. I wasn’t about to let fear stop me so I worked through my reservations.

This may sound morbid, but we all die eventually. I figured that a 90 minute savasana was a good way to practice for the big event. That’s what “Corpse Pose” is for anyway.

My fears dissolved the moment I stepped into the tank. The darkness was inviting and the water temperature was comfortable. The parts of my body that were exposed to the air were surprisingly warm.

Effortless Floating

The high concentration of Epsom salt made my body super-buoyant. I positioned myself in the center of the tank and moved into stillness. The only sensory input was from occasional contact with the walls or a random droplet of condensation.

I focused on my breathing and started to relax. Knots of tension began to unravel. First my sacrum, then my right femur, left shoulder, fingertips…

As the layers of modern day body armor began to melt a wave of sadness rose up my back (the storehouse of past memories). Much like the effect of healing bodywork, floating helped me release some grief.

Once the daily headlines and life soundtrack ran their course, past memories of floating began to surface. These dreamlike images of swimming or soaking all shared a similar feeling of freedom. I drifted farther into a state of bliss when all of a sudden…

BLAM

With uncanny precision, a single water droplet exploded between my eyebrows. Chinese Water Torture on my third eye. A current of awareness traveled up my forehead and the crown of my head began to pulsate.

After an hour of stillness I wanted to move again. I discovered that when I secured my heels against the floor I could slide back and forth, creating wave patterns with my spine. My joints cracked open as my hair floated around me like long strands of seaweed.

Aftermath

Afterwards I felt hypersensitive, similar to the effects of a two hour yoga practice. I felt disoriented, vulnerable, and eager to retreat from the world. I wasn’t so sure about the whole operating a motor vehicle thing, but I drove myself home.

If you ever want to try a sensory deprivation tank, my advice would be to arrange for someone to pick you up. Also be sure to go when the weather is warm. Best to avoid going into the cold with open pores or a wet head. Stay healthy!

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Home Rituals – Maple Pecan Pie

I’ve had slow-cooked foods on the brain lately: French onion soup, barbecued ribs and pecan pie. Slow-cooked foods are ideal in the winter and when my body is craving certain foods, I listen.

I’ve wanted to make a pecan pie for ten years. My inspiration came from the Shoshoni Yoga cookbook, which I discovered after a day trip to the Rollinsville, Colorado center.

Even more outstanding than the high frequency of the beautiful mountain ashram or the gentle yoga class was the food…

The yoga class was held in the main hall next to the kitchen where I could hear the cooks chanting mantras (mantra: to protect).

The summer meal consisted of Mexican vegetable soup, salad with avocado dressing, and sopapillas with refried beans and cheese. I felt so nourished from eating these foods and left wanting to know more.

I studied every page of that cookbook. All great recipes (especially the desserts section) but the pecan pie was the most impressive. Why?

They use maple syrup instead of corn syrup.

I didn’t know you could substitute the two. Corn syrup is a standard ingredient in pecan pie. It’s also one of the sweeteners that I avoid.

Maple syrup is packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants. Combined with pecans’ massive health benefits this dessert is a phenomenal superfood.

“One saintly Ma from Bangalore tells us, “We need to eat a little sweet on occasion, so we stay sweet.” – Yoga Kitchen: Recipes from the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat

I’d been hesitant because I wasn’t sure how to do it. I didn’t want to mess up or waste good ingredients. But after a two week Personal Yoga retreat I felt more courageous and aware of my body’s messages.

It became clear that I needed more information. So I did some research which led me to this recipe. It’s similar to Shoshoni’s version and has more detailed instructions.

A Personal Spin

I used pre-shelled pecan pieces (slow food is great but ain’t nobody got time to shell 2 1/2 cups of pecans) and added a little nitrate-free bacon fat to the pie dough (bacon fat prevents the crust from burning). You could go straight butter – just keep an eye on the edges. [Is Lard Healthy?]

Maple Pecan Pie

Prep: 8 hours or overnight

Servings: 8

One 9″ Pie Crust

  • 3/4 cup white flour, chilled
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, chilled
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 5 Tbsp butter, chilled
  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat, chilled
  • 4-6 Tbsp ice water

Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups toasted pecan pieces
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Bourbon (optional)

Prepare the Crust

  1. In a food processor pulse to combine the flours and salt. Add chilled butter and fat and process until the mixture has the consistency of cornmeal. Add 4 Tbsp ice water and pulse until the dough gathers into a ball. Add 1-2 additional Tbsp of water if needed.
  2. Transfer dough to a piece of parchment paper. Form dough into a round disk, handling as little as possible. Wrap dough in parchment paper and place in a sealed ziplock bag. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Unwrap dough and lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll dough into a 12″ circle. Transfer to a 9″ pie plate. Press rolled dough to fit pie plate. Shape edges into a fluted or decorative design of your choice.
  4. Chill crust for 30 minutes.
  5. Line pie crust with parchment paper and dry rice or pie weights. Bake crust at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove paper and weights.

Filling

  1. Prepare the filling while the pie crust is baking. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar and salt. Remove from heat and add maple syrup, vanilla, and Bourbon.
  2. Stir in the toasted pecan pieces. Option: to infuse the pecans add them to the vanilla-syrup while they are still hot. Let cool completely.
  3. In a small bowl whisk the three eggs. Stir into pecan mixture in three additions.

Pour filling into hot, pre-baked pie crust. Reduce heat to 275 degrees. Bake pie for 20-40 minutes. I recommend reading the Bojon Gourmet’s article for how to determine when the pie is done.

Let the pie cool completely and refrigerate. One hour before serving cut into slices and bring to room temperature.

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Summer Skincare is Getting Juicy

Summer Skincare is Getting JuicySummer is in full swing here in Colorado, and now the best time to start a regular juicing routine. The high altitude, hot sun and dry climate is a recipe for chronic dehydration. So drinking plenty of water and nourishing fluids is essential for maintaining good health.

Just like any superfood, fresh juice makes you feel absolutely incredible. The health benefits are phenomenal. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, juicing can help:

  • Promote weight loss
  • Boost your immune system
  • Increase your energy
  • Support your brain health

I like to make fresh juice for my Personal Yoga Retreats. It helps to increase flexibility, especially water-laden vegetables like celery and cucumber. I only use organic vegetables and let them come to room temperature beforehand.

Nourish Skin Fresh Vegetable Juice

One lesser known secret about skincare is that you have to feed the skin from the inside. So instead of spending lots of $$$ on skincare products to create that healthy “summer glow,” you could invest in a high quality juicer and drink the most beautiful veggies.

I used carrots, beets, sweet potato, celery and parsley, all of which are fantastic for the skin. This recipe is especially good for summer because the combination of carrot, beet and sweet potato helps to protect the skin from sun damage.

Here are a few health highlights of this elixir:

  • Slows the aging process
  • Maintains tissue growth
  • Helps to produce collagen (which prevents wrinkles)
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Balances the electrolytes in the body
  • Reduces acne/blemishes
  • Detoxifies the blood and liver
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals

Nourish Skin Fresh Juice

Fresh Juice for Summer Skincare

Serves 2

4 medium carrots

4 celery stalks

3 small sweet potatoes

2 small beets

Half of a bunch of parsley

  1. Wash the vegetables thoroughly. Spray with a 50/50 vinegar and water mixture to disinfect. Rinse in cool water.
  2. If the vegetables have been in refrigerated allow them to come to room temperature.
  3. Cut the beets and sweet potatoes into pieces that are small enough to fit into your juicer.
  4. Place a Pyrex measuring cup under the spout to catch the juice.
  5. Turn the juicer on and juice the sweet potatoes and beets.
  6. Add the parsley. Use the carrots to help “feed” the parsley into the juicer.
  7. Last of all, add the celery. (See note.)
  8. Turn the juicer off. The juice will continue run into the measuring cup.
  9. When the flow of juice turns into occasional drips, remove the Pyrex and place a dish sponge underneath the spout to catch the drips.
  10. Give the juice a quick stir.
  11. Pour the juice through a fine mesh sieve into two glasses.

Serve and enjoy!

Note: Celery is fibrous and may stick to the blades which unbalances the juicer. So it’s very important to do this step at the end.

Nourish Your Skin With Fresh JuiceThe clean up is the most work, but you’ll feel so good from drinking your fresh juice that it won’t really matter. And the pulp looks amazing! It reminds me of the Japanese vegetable cakes that are trending right now…

Summer Skincare Juicing PulpJuice pulp makes great compost!

Summer Skincare Juicing Pulp Compost

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Thai Curry Soup

Thai Curry Soup Recipe

It’s great to be back on the Western Slope of Colorado. There is something extraordinary about this place. I felt it the first time I drove across the Utah-Colorado border. After exploring Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Utah for the past six months it’s wonderful to know that this is where I want to live. The synchronicity that led to moving to Grand Junction was nothing short of miraculous. And the work that has gone into getting to this point has been significant. Needless to say, I am very, very grateful to be here.

The weather is perfect for soup.

It’s starting to cool down a bit at night, so I’ve been making some small changes to my diet and lifestyle. Soup has been calling my name, so I made a big batch of homemade chicken stock. Last night I whipped up a pot of Thai curry soup. The warming spices and rich coconut milk melded with the slow-cooked meat and vegetables which made the house smell wonderful!

A bowl of good medicine.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, so feel free to play around with the ingredients. I used what I had on hand and made my own curry powder with a good-quality organic turmeric powder. Turmeric is a great addition to your medicine chest [a.k.a. pantry]. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“It has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as well as Ayurvedic medicine.

Traditional medicinal uses include the treatment of liver disease, skin problems, respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments, sprained muscles, joint pains, and general wound healing.

Its benefits have since been well documented in the medical literature, and curcumin—one of the most well-studied bioactive ingredients in turmeric — has been found to promote health and protect against a wide array of health conditions.

It actually exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, as well as potent anti-cancer properties that have been intensely studied.”

The full list of health benefits is way too long to list here, so let’s get cooking! One of the ways to really amp up the flavor of any soup or stew is to add a sprinkling of Celtic sea salt in the final stage of cooking. Just be careful – this stuff is STRONG and a little goes a long way. I also add just a touch of sugar to balance the flavor of the curry. I like spicy food but I can get a little heavy handed and the sugar helps to round things out.

Thai Curry Soup

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 yellow squash, chopped
  • 2 mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked dark chicken meat, sliced
  • 1 rounded Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 a can of full fat coconut milk
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Kosher and Celtic salt
  1. Start by warming the chicken stock in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Place a large wok over medium heat. Add coconut oil, chopped onion, red pepper and carrot. Stir occasionally and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add chopped yellow squash and mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  4. Add minced garlic and sliced chicken meat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then coat with curry powder. Stir mixture constantly (it will be dry) for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock, coconut milk and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer until carrots are tender (15-2o minutes). Add a sprinkle of Celtic sea salt and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. When ready to serve, add a generous handful of baby spinach and stir until the leaves are wilted. Ladle soup into two bowls.

Serve with hot white rice or cooked noodles.

Easy Thai Curry Soup Recipe

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Liberty Health and Wellness

Liberty Health and Wellness Yoga

Liberty Health and Wellness

 

I’m proud to announce a new partnership with Liberty Health and Wellness, a holistic and alternative health care service provider on the Western Slope of Colorado. We have clinics in Grand Junction and Montrose, and are planning to set up a third clinic in Moab, Utah! We specialize in home care and clinical services including acupuncture, tui na, yoga, as well as dietary, herbal and exercise therapy. To learn more about how Oriental medicine can help you and your loved ones please visit: libertyhealthandwellness.net

Personal Yoga Benefits

 

CartwheelAre you thinking about starting a Personal Yoga training program? If so, this is a great article to read before we meet for your FREE initial consultation. It’s based on real-life accounts from former students who have experienced the recalibration of a Personal Yoga training program.

How will my life improve from training with Emily?

You may experience any or all of the following benefits:

  • Feel more comfortable in your body.
  • Stronger, more flexible, more at ease.
  • Less pain, increased mobility.
  • Increased self-esteem.
  • Improved posture, healthier.

Some senior students have even reported growing taller!

You may also feel:

  • Calmer, happier, kinder.
  • Relieved, grateful.
  • Empowered.
  • Sexier.
  • Less anxious.
  • Less angry or frustrated.
  • Confident, knowledgeable.

One student remarked how my approach is like a teacher training. It’s true, I provide teacher training-level information at a fraction of the cost! I believe that everyone who wants a solid yoga training should have access to this information, so they can learn how to do their own life-long, sustainable practice. Studios will sometimes offer “unlimited” yoga specials. What I’m offering is the ultimate form of unlimited Yoga – the ability to practice anytime, anywhere! 

If you’re interested in learning more about how Personal Yoga can benefit you I’d be happy to schedule a phone call or meet for a cup of tea. You can contact me by emailing: mindbodymandala@gmail.com. I look forward to speaking with you!

Yoga WOW

Emily Seymour Yoga WOW

Long-term consistency trumps short term intensity. – Bruce Lee

Have you ever wanted to try a yoga class but wasn’t sure if you’d like it? Or maybe you held back in a challenging vinyasa class because you didn’t want to burn out? Ever wish you could take a yoga class that gave you a road map to follow?

Enter the WOW. I’m pleased to announce that I’m rolling out a brand new class series this summer. The Yoga WOW (Workout of the Week) is a customized class that I’ve designed for Integrate CrossFit in Salida, Colorado. Inspired by the CrossFit WOD model, this class is great for yogis and CrossFitters alike.

Yoga WOW is not a typical gym-yoga class. If you’ve ever seen a CrossFit facility you know that it isn’t an average gym. While gym-yoga classes tend to be promoted as a supplement to other exercise routines, Yoga WOW is designed to support you with creating your own yoga practice!

What happens in a Yoga WOW? Each class is one hour long. Students arrive a little before the class starts and begin warming themselves up. We’ll chat for a few minutes about the WOW list of exercises. The list is posted in the gym and on my Facebook and Twitter accounts for students who want to do their own Home WOW. Each month has its own theme that focuses on a primary category of poses. There’s no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to yoga, so this class includes plenty of variations to choose from. The general class structure includes:

  • 5 mins Warm ups/Introductions
  • 5 mins breathing
  • 15 mins sun salutations
  • 15 mins WOW poses
    • Peak Pose of the Week
  • 5 mins cool down
  • 5 mins corpse pose
  • 5 mins meditation

The goal of Yoga WOW is to give students a basic outline of a personal practice. Once they get familiar with the format they can start playing with variations and designing their own sequences. Over time a personal practice becomes a choose your own adventure experience!

Want to learn more about designing your own Yoga WOW? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today. 

Superhuman Healthcare

Avi Ginsberg acupuncturist and holistic healthcare practitionerThe roulette wheel of life delivers the occasional hard knock to us all, and as luck would have it I got hit with a serious viral infection. We’re talking about the kind of sickness that will put most people in the hospital where they’ll be given antibiotics and possibly surgery. It was REALLY bad. I’m not quite sure how it happened, except that I might have picked it up on one of my five hour commutes through New York City.

At first I thought it was food poisoning but then I developed a severe radiating pain in the right side of my jaw. I could barely chew my food – eating was painful and exhausting. The icing on the cake was I had just started a ten day housesitting job in Connecticut and had no way to access medical attention.

That was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.

As soon as it was over I went to see Avi Ginsberg. He’s an Oriental medical provider and has been my primary care physician for over ten years. He diagnosed my condition as being an extreme case of “toxic heat” in the stomach channel. Avi proceeded to bombard the virus with remedies for clearing heat and building immunity. The arsenal of therapies that he used to treat me included:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese herbs (antibiotics)
  • Cupping therapy
  • Magnets
  • Qi Gong
  • Mung bean pudding
  • Watermelon
  • Daikon radish
  • Peppermint tea
  • Tamarind juice
  • Colloidal silver
  • Vitamin C powder
  • Mouthwashes (salt water, baking soda, peroxide, vinegar, vodka)
  • Raw garlic
  • Alum powder
  • Watermelon frost
  • A mysterious black powder he got in Chinatown
  • Red flower oil
  • Far Infared heat therapy
  • Moxibustion

The beauty of these ancient remedies, folk medicines, and alternative therapies is that they do not deplete the body. 

After a week I was 80% better, and after a month I’d healed completely. By allowing my body to heal through what I call “superhuman healthcare” I am healthier and stronger than I was before I got sick.

I’m sharing this with you because I want to help people understand how powerful and empowering alternative medicine is. It IS possible to heal from extreme viral attacks without toxic pharmaceuticals, surgery, or obscenely expensive medical bills.

Needless to say, I am very, very grateful to Avi for his help and I highly recommend his expertise to all of my friends. He provides Traditional Oriental Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Dietary and Herbal Therapy, and Exercise Therapy in Grand Junction and Montrose, Colorado. For more information please visit Liberty Health and Wellness