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Practicing Deep Relaxation

This week in my yoga classes I taught a yoga set called “Kriya to Throw Off Stress”. It was so badly needed. Every day our brain and nervous system are reacting and responding to all the internal and external things that are happening. Our brain is constantly on the look out for danger. In this mode the sympathetic part of the nervous system is activated. On a regular basis, our body and mind needs effective relaxation to activate the parasympathetic nervous system so our body and mind can take a break, get some much needed repair and healing done so we can continue coping with our busy lives.
So how do we activate the parasympathetic nervous system so our body and mind can repair and heal? We do this with restorative yoga sets, relaxing Reiki, massage or reflexology sessions, a gentle walk on a beach or quiet country walk, a relaxing Epson Salt bath, listening to free guided meditations on Spotify or YouTube or listening to gentle music. It needs to be enjoyable, affordable and enjoyable!
When we relax deeply, we sleep better, have more energy, are calmer, are easier to be around, can focus better and we enjoy life more! So what can you start trying weekly to help your parasympathetic nervous system to activate?

For stress management and mental health contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 10 October 2017.

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An Introduction To the Chakra System

One way of working with our body and mind is the Chakra System. The Chakra System represents different parts of our body and mind. It is a useful guide for helping us to understand and heal ourselves. It’s a way for us to take responsibility for our own wellbeing.

Many healing systems work with the Chakra System to bring balance into our body. Yoga, Reiki, colour healing, meditation and many other modalities work with the chakras.

The chakra system provides us with a way of understanding individual challenges as well as ways to heal or change.   Working on the chakras can lead to new ways of thinking and to emotional understanding and expression.   

The chakra system can be used to understand and treat various life challenges.  No matter who you are or what challenges you face, the chakra system can assist in your growth and healing.

When we work with the chakras for healing, we are looking to bring balance into our lives. Balancing chakras happens with yoga, energy healing, crystals, affirmations, meditations, journaling and many other ways. Balancing the chakras may need to be done regularly. Just like we need to wash our body regular to stay clean, our chakras need work to stay balanced.

There are 7 chakras plus the aura. In Kundalini Yoga the aura is seen as the 8th chakra. Here’s a description  of the 7 chakras:

Chakra 1: Root Chakra represents our connection with earth and is associated with the colour red. It’s located at the base of the spine. Issues linked to the root chakra include survival, trust, prosperity, roots, grounding, health, home, family, appropriate boundaries. It’s about our right to be here.

Chakra 2: Sacral Chakra represents water and is associated with the colour orange. It’s located in the lower abdomen. Sacral chakra issues include pleasure, sexuality, emotions, movement, desire, need, sensation. Its about our right to feel.

Chakra 3: Solar Plexus Chakra represents our inner fire and is associated with the colour yellow. It’s located in the upper abdomen. Solar Plexus issues include Energy, activity, autonomy, individuation, will, self-esteem, proactivity, power. It’s about our right to act.

Chakra 4: Heart Chakra represents air and is associated with the colour green. It’s located at our heart centre. Issues connected to the heart include Love, balance, self-love, relationship, devotion, reaching out and taking in. It’s about our right to love.

Chakra 5: Throat Chakra is associated with the colour blue. It’s located at the throat. Issues connected to the throat chakra include Issues: Communication, creativity, listening, finding one’s own voice. Its about our right to speak.

Chakra 6: Third Eye Chakra is associated with the colour indigo or violet. It’s located between the eyebrows. Third Eye issues include intuition, imagination, image, visualization, insight, dreams, vision. Its about our right to see.

Chakra 7: Crown Chakra is located at the top of the head. It’s colour is white or purple. The Crown Chakra is connected with transcendence, immanence, belief systems, higher power, divinity, union, vision. It’s about our right to know.

There’s a lot to the Chakra System and this really is a very brief introduction. I highly recommend books by Anodea Judith to help you understand the Chakra System. There are many websites with excellent information on the Chakra System. 

I use the Chakra System as a tool for healing. By seeing it as a tool I can use, I take responsibility for my body and mind. I may not work with it for months, then sometimes I’ll come back to it so I can work through something.  Enjoy getting to know this part of yourself!

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Sleeping To Mind Your Mind

When we have regular quality night’s sleep, our ability to manage the ups and downs of life is much greater. A good night’s sleep offers our body and mind a chance to switch off, recover, process and have dome downtime to heal.

Sleep boosts your mental health. It helps to make your memory sharper. Getting regular quality sleep puts you in a better mood. Quality sleep aids in decision making. We can focus on everyday tasks easier when we’ve had a good night’s sleep. Getting a good nights sleep helps clear your mind.

There are many ways to improve your quality of sleep. It’s all about finding an enjoyable one that helps you. Try switching off TV’s, phones and computers at least one hour before bed and listen to relaxing, enjoyable music or guided meditations. Get regular exercise well before bedtime to release stress. Eat a healthy diet so your body has the building blocks it needs to relax and repair during sleep. Get regular sessions of massage, Reiki, bio-energy, reflexology or any kind of therapy you enjoy that helps you relax. Make a to-do list or journal to declutter your mind before sleep. Make a gratitude list before bedtime of all the good from the day and go to sleep feeling positive.

For stress management and mental health contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegrah newspaper on 3 October 2017.

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Practicing Gratitude

World Gratitude Day was celebrated on 21 September and no matter what’s going on in our lives, or how difficult things seem, there’s always, always, something to be grateful for. Developing an attitude of gratitude means being able to find the good in each day and looking back saying, “you know, today wasn’t that bad!”

Studies on gratitude show that developing an attitude of gratitude helps people to sleep better, feel and think positively and helps them feel more energetic and they feel genuinely thankful.

Go over to a light switch. Turn it off and on and off and on. Watch the light coming through. Having electricity to turn on the light means you could pay you electricity bill, have shelter, a home where there’s electricity, and more! Or turn on the tap and feel gratitude for a water supply. What about your community and the shops and people who are around you? Think how they add to your life, whether you know them or not. Think of all the friendships and fun you may have. There is so much to be grateful for.

Studies show that people who take a few minutes before bed to find things to be grateful for over time begin to sleep better. Take time daily to make a gratitude list and see how it helps you.

For stress management and mental health contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 26 September 2017

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A Walk In Nature

As I write this week’s column, I’m just back from a walk at Moore Hall. It’s a while since I’ve been on a nature walk and it was long overdue! I know it’s good for me, I know that I have a clearer body and mind after it. I simply allowed life to get in the way! Walking in nature is a fantastic way to mind your mind.

Walking in nature helps improve short-term memory. A research study gave participants a memory test before and after a walk. They found that participants who had walked among trees did almost 20% percent better than the first time.

Other studies have shown that walks in nature help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process the body uses to respond to threats like damage (e.g., a stubbed toe) and pathogens (e.g., exposure to the flu). In one study, elderly patients who had been sent on a weeklong trip into the forest showed reduced signs of inflammation as well as some indications that the woodsy jaunt had a positive effect on their hypertension.

Walking in nature can help improve concentration. In one study, researchers worked to deplete participants’ ability to focus. Then some took a walk in nature, some took a walk through the city, and the rest just relaxed. When they returned, the nature group scored the best on a proofreading task.

For stress management and mental health contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph on 19 September 2017.

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Free-Flow Writing: A Journaling Technique

Journaling is a fantastic way to declutter your mind. All you need is a pen and paper. When we write on out our thoughts and feelings on paper, we begin to find clarity, peace and even solutions. Free-flow writing is dumping all your thoughts and feelings onto a page. It’s writing out your train of thought and how you’re feeling to find a solution. It’s getting what’s in your head on to paper and seeing where it takes you.

Free flow writing helps break down subconscious barriers that are stopping you from understanding a problem. It helps you clear out your head, come to surprising understandings of yourself and gives you ideas for solutions to problems

When you sit down to do some free-flow writing, find a place for 15 or 30 minutes where you won’t be uninterrupted. Write without breaks for a set period of time. Or write without breaks until you have run out of something to write. Do not slow down your writing. Do not edit or correct spelling or grammar while writing. Do not judge what you are writing. Just write down your train of thought and see where it takes you. There is no need for anyone except you to see what you’ve written. You may like to burn it or throw it in the bin for privacy.

For stress management and mental health contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph Newspaper on 5 September 2017.

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The Legacy of Heart and Compassion: Gratitude for Louise Hay

On 30 August 2017, Louise Hay transitioned from her body. Through her work, Louise Hay has helped generations of people to help themselves.  Through her books alone, such as You Can Heal Your Life, Louise taught positive thinking, affirmations, and how our thoughts and feelings affect our health.

Louise was 90 years young. What a life she has lived. She rose from the terrible challenges in life to become a beacon of light and hope for millions.

Over the last couple of years, the world has lost many celebrities, both musicians and actors. The transitioning of Louise Hay from this life is the one that has affected .e the most and I cried. As I looked through my books, searching for You Can Heal Your Life again, I notice how many books a f oracle card decks I have that were published by her publishing company Hay House. Louise’s legacy isn’t just in her own books and other products. Her legacy shines through all the authors signed by Hay House. Louise created a publishing company that published books of heart and compassion, that help people through their lives. That is some legacy to leave.

Louise Hay, both directly in her own work or indirectly through authors she supported, has impacted my life in a powerful way. Through her heart and compassion, I have learned to open my heart and become compassionate. Her legacy has helped me through my own challenges and will keep helping me. Her influence helps me in my own work with others.

As the saying goes, she was some woman for one woman! Thank you Louise, for your heartful and compassionate work, and for your immense legacy. Rest well.

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