No Pictures Please …

 

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I don’t take photos or videos of my students during yoga class. I don’t take photos or videos of myself during my yoga practice. And I feel strongly about the reasons why I maintain both of these boundaries.

It doesn’t allow me to focus on teaching. When I started teaching, I thought it would be really cool to document what I was doing and where I was teaching, but whenever I got my phone out to take a photo, something felt a bit weird. I didn’t feel like I was adequately holding the space for my students, and I felt distracted from the class by trying to get a good shot (and this is before technology had it’s say and made weird beeping noises during quiet moments).

It distracts me from my practice. When I’ve attended classes where the teacher is taking photos, I find it very distracting and it feels like a mild invasion of my privacy. I’m not on a photoshoot and generally, I haven’t been asked if I mind my photo being taken/used for promotion. I haven’t signed anything to say this is ok, and I haven’t given permission for my image to be used. I’m a relatively private person, and just as I don’t like people taking my photo without asking in everyday life, I don’t like my photo being taken without asking in a yoga class.

I feel a responsibility to my students to honour their privacy. This may seem like a strange boundary to make, given that with CCTV and smartphones, I’m sure that all our images are circulating all over the place without permission. But for me, yoga is meant to be a safe space – a space where I can work through things in my body, my heart, and my soul. And so to document and possibly distribute that record of work (where maybe there is some honest, real, shit going down), feels like a violation. How can I allow myself to be really truly vunerable (to get to that place of honest, real, shit) if it feels like someone will be using the record of that difficult work and it will be available to view again and again. I liken it to a psychologist taking a record of their session with a patient (caption: “saw amazing breakthroughs with my patients today!”), or a doctor snapping away on a smartphone during an examination (caption: “oooo! Guess what I found up a kid’s nose today?”). This would be totally weird and unethical! And of course, I’m not a psychologist or doctor, but in my experience, many of the things we deal with on the mat could likewise be dealt with in either of those settings. And I appreciate when teachers honour that privacy and allow me to feel safe to do that work.

I can’t get honest and real in my practice. I do my best work in private, and for me (even if I’m in a class of people) my yoga mat is a private space where I can be honest and open with myself. In moments of honesty and vulnerability, I have witnessed transformation, breakthroughs and depth of understanding, and it is what keeps me coming back to my mat. Real, honest, viewing is the purpose of my yoga and meditation practice. Without a place for that honesty and vulnerability, I don’t see the point of the practice. This, of course, may not be the purpose of yoga for everyone, but in order to respect those who use it that way, I keep the boundaries in place.

To ensure that I create a space where that can happen (both for myself and for my students), I don’t take pictures of myself during my practice, and I don’t take photos of students during class. Any photos that you do see may be a result of my practice, but not the actual practice itself. And any photos you see of my students are with their permission, outside of the practice.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on photos during yoga. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Photo credit: Ali Schilling (http://www.alischillingphotography.co.uk/)

February Playlist

Winter this year has been cold and grey … so very dark and grey. To keep my spirits bright and my body warm, I continue my yoga practice, but it is a little slower and more chilled, like all things in the northern hemisphere at this time. Here’s my favourite playlist for slow flows and bright hearts.

 

 

I’d love to know your favourite songs for staying warm in the midst of winter chills. Let me know in the comments or find me on Instagram: @laurenewilkie

Natural Remedies

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I’ve so enjoyed sharing my favourite health and wellness practices over the past few weeks, that today I’m adding a bonus health and wellness feature and sharing my favourite natural remedies – the ones I recommend and regularly use when I feel like I’m getting sick (although since seeing and following the advice of the practioners I featured, I rarely get sick anymore … woohoo!). Without further ado, here are my top 10 natural remedies (and ways to avoid getting sick in the first place):

 

  1. Eating Fresh Veggies and Fruit. I don’t really need to explain this one – eating fresh food helps the body to have the power and energy to fight off any bugs, and will keep you in good health most of the time. Make sure you’re having at least 5 servings of fresh (aka, you chopped or peeled them yourself) fruits and veggies every day, and your life will be amazing. For real ūüėČ
  2. Drinking Fresh Lemon and Ginger Tea. This one is pretty easy to make and I love it so much that I drink it regularly, not just when I’m getting sick. To make, cut a few pieces of fresh ginger root (I peel mine) and steep in hot water for 10-15 minutes or more. I love putting the hot water in a travel mug with the ginger pieces so I can enjoy it throughout the day. Before adding the lemon, allow the water to cool slightly so that the heat of the water doesn’t destroy the delicate properties of the lemon juice. Add together and drink as is, or add a small amount of raw honey to taste. Lemon helps to alkalize the body, and aids the liver in detoxifying. Like garlic and oregano oil, ginger helps to boost the immune system and has a whole host of benefits. For an additional boost, try adding a small amount of tumeric root when you’re steeping the ginger. Tumeric has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for centuries to aid healing.
  3. Avoiding Sugar. I know this sounds difficult, but just 1 teaspoon of sugar suppresses the immune system for up to 6 hours, so if you’re eating sugar then your immune system can’t rid itself of the stuff that’s making you sick. I still eat fresh fruit and occasionally raw honey for its antibiotic and antioxidant properties, but all other sugar (including dates, dried fruit, agave, maple syrup, alcohol and all processed food – most of which contains added sugar) gets put on hold. I’ve noticed that my body heals much faster when I do this, and I can get on with my life without feeling like crap.
  4. Eating Raw Garlic. When I need a boost, I take a shot of raw garlic in a very small amount of water before bed. It’s pretty horrible, I won’t lie, but I can pretty much feel it working as soon as it reaches my stomach. Raw garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial elements which are great for fighting bugs. I learned this little garlic-shot trick from Sarah Britton of My New Roots, who has some great tips on how to do this with the minimum amount of discomfort.
  5. Taking Oregano Oil. This is an amazing oil, and like raw garlic it’s hard to take, but boy, is it powerful! Like garlic, oregano oil is highly anti-microbial, and has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. I recommend putting the drops at the back of the tongue so the impact is minimized, and have a glass of water or juice ready to wash it down. Don’t overdo it on the amount – a couple of drops once or twice a day is all it takes, and more can actually be harmful or cause stomach upset. And only take it for a short period of time so that the bugs you’re fighting don’t build up resistance. Ensure also that you get good quality oil – doTERRA is a brand that I recommend as the oils are very pure and distilled in a way that retains their theraputic properties. To buy doTERRA oils click here, and for more on other uses for Oregano Oil, click here.
  6. Gargling with Salt Water. Gargling with salt is a remedy that was passed on from my Granny, a nurse and woman ahead of her time. Whenever I was sick as a child, the first thing she asked was if I had gargled. She recommends gargling every hour, on the hour, but if your schedule doesn’t allow, a few times a day works well. I find this very soothing when my throat is sore, and like me, my Granny rarely gets sick, and has an incredible social life, even at the impressive age of 90!
  7. Using a Neti-Pot or Nasal Rinse. When I’ve had a cold and I’m trying to keep things moving and clear, I love, love, love my neti-pot. It literally gets rid of all the gunk from the nasal passages and is great during or after colds and also for seasonal allergies or hayfever. I use this one (which you can get in most pharmacies), and I find it most effective after a shower when my nose has opened a little from the heat.
  8. Having a Steam. When my nose is blocked or I’m having trouble breathing, I love filling up the sink with boiling water, adding a couple of drops of eucalyptus, tea tree or lavender oil (the latter two are also great for skin health), covering my head and the sink with a towel and breathing in the steam. This usually helps clear up the airways for a little while and I find it relaxing. You can also diffuse some oils in your room while you sleep, which for me, allows more rest.
  9. Taking a Salt Bath.¬† Sometimes when I’m run down, my body just needs a little bit of extra care. If I’m feeling achy and tired, a bath with epsom or himalayan salts works really well to make me feel better.
  10. Resting. Often illness is a message from our bodies to our brains, telling us to slow down. And when we don’t listen, we get sick. If I do finally succumb to illness, it’s usually because I’ve been doing too much, and I try to honour the message I’ve been given and spend more time resting and recouperating. The body repairs and heals itself during sleep, so this is one of the most effective ways to get better.

 

So there you go! My top 10 natural remedies to help prevent illness and boost the immune system. I’d love to hear if you have any home remedies too! Send me a message or let me know in the comments. And in the meantime, stay happy and well ūüôā

Inside the Literal and Energetic Bodies

I first met Naturopath and BodyTalk practioner Merran Lusher two years ago, on recommendation from a trusted friend. I credit her diet and lifestyle advice/treatment to the vast improvement in quality of life and general vitality and well-being that I have experienced over the past couple of years.

In addition to being an excellent naturopath, Merran uses BodyTalk in her treatments (she explains more about this below), which is a relatively new and incredible holistic therapy. Although I’m generally open to energy talk/treatments and alternative therapies, the first time she used BodyTalk in our session, I thought it was totally crazy – she asked my wrist some questions and tapped my chest and head while I took deep breaths. A couple of sessions in, I was totally converted. I noticed (and so did people around me), how much my energy levels had improved and how vibrant and alive I seemed compared to my time “pre-Merran”. In addition to improvement on a physical level, I have experienced the profound impact of BodyTalk on mindset and the changing of limiting beliefs; this has been the most incredible part of my time with Merran. I have an increased sense of grounding, confidence and self-assurance that comes directly from my sessions with her. She’s also a beautiful person to spend time with, so appointments are a joy and I feel great afterwards; I liken her to a psychiatrist, but the experience is much less emotionally painful, and definitely much more fun!

I asked Merran all about her naturopathic work and if she could shed some light on this crazy incredible thing called BodyTalk.

Merran Lusher

 

1) What is naturopathy and how does it work?

Naturopathy is an age-old complementary health care system first established as a distinct profession at the turn of the 21st century. Used across the world today, it involves assessing, preventing and treating conditions of the body and mind though the use of natural medicines.

A Naturopath is often trained in a range of modalities including nutritional medicine, western herbal medicine, homeopathy, dietary and lifestyle coaching, counselling, iridology, flower essences, colonic hydrotherapy and massage. Those naturopaths with more advanced qualifications are trained in symptomatology and diagnosis, pathology, pharmacology and toxicology, laboratory tests, medical reports and more.  Various diagnostic techniques are used in consultation and the root underlying cause of the problem is always addressed Рnot simply the superficial symptoms. The individual is viewed as a whole, composed of a complex interaction of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual factors.

Every patient is treated uniquely, whereby a detailed case history is taken and the client is provided with a tailored wellness¬†plan, specific to them. Using the above methods and strategies, a¬†naturopath works with the client’s own inbuilt intelligence system,¬†helping the body to heal itself and return to balance.¬†¬†A naturopath aims to educate, employ and motivate the patient to assume more personal responsibility for his or her health by adopting a positive attitude and balanced diet and lifestyle.

 

2) I get confused about homeopathy and naturopathy – could you explain the difference?

Naturopathy is an umbrella term for a practitioner who has trained in various modalities as explained above. Some naturopaths like myself are also trained in homeopathy.

Akin to¬†naturopathy, homeopathy also treats each person uniquely, using remedies to activate the individual’s innate healing ability, or vital force, so the body can heal itself and return to balance. The system is over two hundred years old and despite what the skeptics say, has been used with great success all over the world.¬†The approach however is different and is based on various¬†homeopathic laws and principals.

A homeopath uses specifically prepared remedies made of plant, animal or mineral substances (in tablet, pillule or drop form), selecting the most appropriate remedy based on the individual’s presenting health complaints of the body and/or mind. These medicines are made by repeatedly diluting and succussing (shaking) a preparation of the original substance, (usually plant or mineral) in water and alcohol. Contrary to modern medicine, the more stages of dilution and succussion the homeopathic preparation has gone through, the more potent the medicine is.

The prescription is a very select homeopathic remedy that matches not only the exact characterisation of the person‚Äôs symptoms, e.g. red, hot, burning eczema that stings ‘like a bee’, between the¬†hours of 6-10pm, but commonly, other¬†characteristics of the client’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of health. So the symptoms are not isolated but rather observed in connection with the whole. There are¬†thousands¬†of¬†homeopathic remedies and so prescribing the right remedy for a particular health complaint is an¬†art form and takes a high level of skill and expertise.

 

3) Who benefits most from naturopathy?

Certainly those who have been struggling with ongoing chronic health complaints with little or no resolution could benefit from naturopathy. Also those diagnosed with a condition and told to ‘take this medication for the rest of your life’ type scenario, could absolutely benefit from seeing a naturopath….or indeed a BodyTalk practitioner. ūüôā

 

4) I’m glad you brought up BodyTalk, as I love how you use it in your treatments – can you explain what it is and how it works?

Quoted by the man¬†himself, “BodyTalk is a revolutionary, scientifically proven, whole healthcare system that combines the western medical expertise of epigenetics, neuroscience and psychoneuroimmunology with a blend of ancient and modern healing methods. Some of which include the clinical findings of applied kinesiology, the insight of modern physics and mathematics, the energy dynamics of acupuncture, osteopathic and chiropractic philosophy, consciousness studies, Ayurvedic principals, yogic wisdom and energy psychology.” -Dr John Veltheim, founder of BodyTalk

When all the systems, cells and atoms of a person’s body communicate with each other Рhealing occurs naturally. Every minute of every day the body is repairing and fixing damaged cells. However, due to toxins, stress, genetics, poor diet, smoking, drugs, and emotional traumas, as well as radiation through cell phone towers, mobile phones, microwaves, and x-rays etc., our communication systems can break down. The result is a deterioration of health.

Every experience and choice you have made in your life, has attributed to your current state of health and wellbeing. Every laugh line, injury and scar has it’s own unique story and¬†history. BodyTalk takes into account your¬†whole life story and offers a unique and tailored healthcare system with lasting¬†changes.

Through using various BodyTalk¬†protocol charts that map the entire body/mind complex, a BodyTalk practitioner can identify and balance priority issues in a great amount of detail across a person‚Äôs physical, emotional, mental, energetic levels of health. BodyTalk works on every level – from the organ systems and their associated anatomical structures, all the way down to the tissues, cells, atom and even quantum levels. Balancing environmental factors such as intolerances, allergies, as well as microbial¬†imbalances such as parasites, Candida, viral infections, heavy metals and SO much more – can all very¬†easily be addressed through a BodyTalk session.¬†BodyTalk is also excellent for lowering stress, supporting detoxification pathways, enhancing energy, clarity, and one’s general optimism for life.

Epigenetics is another really¬†fascinating area of science that has been woven into the fabric of the BodyTalk System by Dr John Veltheim and Dr Laura Stuve, Ph.D molecular biologist with 26 years in the research of human molecular genetics. A hot topic, scientists are now claiming that the¬†underlying cause of 90% of all health conditions are held at the epigenetic level.¬†The epigenetic code is a newly discovered genetic code that sits on top of our DNA code and is instrumental in switching genes on and off and turning gene expression up and down. Poor diet, lifestyle, toxin exposure (there are over ten thousand in our modern day world) and emotional¬†traumas and upsets dating as far back as far conception, can create ‘locks’ on our epigenetic code affecting the health of our cells and tissues.

Even our thoughts have been shown to affect our genes. Happy thoughts produce endorphins that turn on the good genes, resulting in healing, growth and repair and negative thoughts‚Ķwell negative thoughts have the opposite affect. Thus impacting gene expression and¬†the¬†ultimate health, structure and function of our cells, tissues and organs. Think cancer, obesity, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular¬†disease, acne, fertility issues and many other¬†health conditions.¬†AGEING is epigenetic in nature…and¬†through BodyTalk we can see the reversal of it!!¬† For more info on how your thoughts control your genes, read ‚ÄúThe Biology of Belief‚ÄĚ by Dr Bruce Lipton.

Oh and if that’s not enough – we can also inherit epigenetic markers arguably up to five to seven generations back. And as and when it’s a priority – these can be addressed and cleared in a BodyTalk session. So it’s all a very¬†exciting area of medicine to be working with.

So HOW does BodyTalk work? It’s complicated…but in short, through simply using a technique called¬†neuromuscular biofeedback, we can establish a yes/no communication response, using the client’s hand as a tool. There is a strong¬†intuitive focus as well and much of the information that comes up in a session is through the practitioner‚Äôs intuition. Most BodyTalk practitioners are certified in a technique called mindscape – a¬†scientifically proven, structured way of¬†accessing the intuition. Anyone can be trained to do it! Once we have found the specific areas¬†of the body/mind complex that require balancing, we then use a variety of gentle and non-invasive techniques to refocus the body’s natural healing response to¬†establish better¬†communication with the body.

I love BodyTalk for its ability to work on self-limiting, outdated belief systems. Helping to liberate the old, outmoded programming, giving rise to a more optimistic, enthusiastic and inspired YOU. BodyTalk can help you to unleash your true potential! What can I say – it’s amazing. The findings and results I see in practice both impress and surprise me daily.

 

5) How do you win over skeptics (the people that would say that asking the body questions is crazy hippie woo-woo)?

Honestly – I am not even interested in attempting to win over skeptics, including my mother – but I think she’s coming round. ūüôā BodyTalk is founded in quantum physics and is scientifically proven. It’s been published in the peer reviewed Journal of Alternative Medicine Research, Volume 3. Issue 3. BodyTalk: healthcare redefined. It’s also been rolled out into hospitals in Germany,¬†the United States and in Brazil.¬† I have a really busy practice and am totally about working with clients who have an open mind and are ready to experience a new level of health and wellbeing.

 

6) What’s the most amazing thing that you’ve witnessed as a result of treatment?

I’ve seen many amazing results in practice. You name it. Women’s health is my special interest and so its always heart¬†warming to see mothers who have been struggling to¬†conceive, having tried many unsuccessful options, actually¬†do so and sustain a healthy pregnancy through to full term.¬†Facilitating in the process of new life coming into the world is both humbling and most rewarding.

Above and beyond the resolution of specific health complaints, people tell me they generally just feel much happier, brighter and clearer after a BodyTalk session. Energy increases, sleep improves, aches and pains subside and memory gets sharper to name just a few of the many additional positive effects. I love that I get to witness these results through the work that I do.

 

About Merran

An expert in holistic healthcare, Merran is a London based natural health consultant specialising in women‚Äôs health and reproduction including preconception, fertility, miscarriage, pregnancy and postnatal care.¬†Offering private health consultations, Merran blends functional medicine with¬†‚ÄėBodyTalk‚Äô¬†‚Äď a revolutionary, quantum physics based, whole healthcare system.¬†With ten years of industry experience, Merran is a leading naturopath, medical nutritionist, medical herbalist, homeopath and BodyTalk practitioner.¬† For enquires or to book an appointment please visit www.merranlusher.com