The Path We Walk

“Diseases can be our spiritual flat tires – disruptions in our lives that seem to be disasters at the time but end by redirecting our lives in a meaningful way.”
~ Bernie S. Siegel


How many therapies do you see?

  1. Yoga – ‘legs up the wall’
  2. Full spectrum light therapy
  3. Pet therapy
  4. Meditation
  5. Positive Ion air purification
  6. Pranayama – deep breathing, breath awareness

The perfect way to start the day!

Mind-Body Connection?

Researchers and yoga practitioners alike speak about the mind-body connection.  I often bring it up and spent time contemplating it’s meaning and existence.  What if it doesn’t literally exist, because there is not a separation that requires connection?  The separation itself is an illusion.  It is this illusion that we tackle through the practice of yoga.  “Candace Pert,  former chief brain biochemist for the National Institute of Mental Health, said, ‘In the end I find I can’t separate brain from body. Consciousness isn’t just in the head.  Nor is it a question of mind over body. If one takes into account the DNA directing the dance of peptides, [the] body is the outward manifestation of the mind.'”

When you contemplate the question of a mind-body connection what do you think?  How do you believe those thoughts might effect the body?  What are the origins of the messages we receive from our bodies once we become conscious of them? Isn’t the subconscious still a form of conscientiousness and therefore are thoughts able to evolve around mechanical actions of the body?  What does this all mean in regards to how we practice yoga asana, meditation, pranayama?  How does the mind-body effect our choices and actions?

Mechanism Behind Mind-Body Connection Discovered

Mind/Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

A Shift of Mind: Rethinking the way we live by Mel Schwartz, L.C.S.W.

Tummy Resources

Thank you everyone for your great recommendations for information.


But You Don’t Look Sick


Gastroparesis and Gastronomy

My Crazy Colon

My Sleepy Stomach

Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tree City Juice Cleanse

I recently decided to try Tree City’s juice cleanse.  Tree City is Boise’s locally owned juice and smoothie bar.  I had heard about their juice cleanse from a friend who is also ‘gastrointestinally challenged’.  The juice regime is designed to “remove toxins, assist in weight loss and help with aches and allergies.”  The main reason I decided to try it is that my doctors had recommend that I remove as much fiber from my diet as possible.  What no fiber? Yes that is correct.  Fiber is great once it is in the colon, but really slows things down in the stomach. So if you have gasteroperesis, when the stomach muscles are already sluggish, then fiber just bogs down the whole system.

I decided to start with a three day regime.  Each morning I picked-up six fresh beverages for the day. There were four juices, one coconut water and an almond milk.  All the products are raw (unpasteurized).  Without exposure to heat the beverages retain the maximum level of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.  In total there were 1100 calories per day, so I knew it was going to also be somewhat of a fast for me.

To be honest, on the first day I felt miserable. I felt distended and nauseous most of the day. The juices didn’t taste very palatable, the flavors were very overpowering. Surprisingly hunger was not an issue, in fact I could finish all of the beverages.   I wasn’t sure I could stick to it for three days, but by the second day my stomach settled.  I slept better than I had slept in years, but continued to feel sleepy throughout the second day.  On day three I felt great!  The juices tasted wonderful and I actually found my body craving the next jar of nourishing liquid.

The experience has given me a new sense of control over my health.  I am working to integrate fresh juices into my daily diet.  When making your own juices, make sure to use the best produce you can and only make as much as you can drink that day.  Freshness and quality really count.  If doing it yourself is too labor intensive, I would recommend trying out Tree City.

Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 12:58 am  Comments (2)  
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Are you still afraid of the Neti Pot?

Many of my students have been commenting on allergies and colds.  Not only is weather likely to be effecting your quality of breath, but we are all turning on our heaters again.  Particularly if you have forced air heat, you may want to spend some time cleaning your vents, duct-work and replacing your furnace filters.  This will help cut back on the particulate matter blown into the air within your home.

This is also the time to be making regular use of your neti pot.  If you still feel hesitant to try it out, I highly recommend giving it another try.  To make the experience as comfortable as possible make sure you use plenty of salt and use warm water. It can feel a bit strange the first couple of times you use it, but after that you will wonder how you lived without a neti pot.

“The practice of nasal cleansing – known as Neti – has been used by practitioners of Ayurveda and Yoga in India for thousands of years. Neti is one of the 6 purification techniques performed prior to practicing yoga as a way of preparing the body for the yoga practice.”

The practice of nasal irrigation originated in India, but now many people around the world use it on a regular basis. It can be used daily or as needed. Using a neti pot one can use warm salt water  to gently cleanse the nasal passages. As the water flows through your nose it washes away pollens, mucus, viruses and bacteria. The nasal passage, with its fine hairs and mucus membranes, is one of the ways nature protects us from illness. The neti pot can have an amazingly positive effect on your body’s ability to stay healthy and fight off sickness.

Here in Boise there are a number of places to purchase a neti pot. I bought a very pretty ceramic one at the Boise CO-OP for about $12. They all come with clear instructions and the salt can be purchased right off the same shelf. Below are some basic instructions and a short video to give you an idea of how it is done.

Neti pot instructions:

1. Fill the neti pot with warm water and the recommended amount of salt. Hot water is dangerous and cool water is not soothing. You may also play around with the amount of salt you use, to find out just the right amount for your greatest level of comfort.

2. Tilt your head to the side. One ear pointing down toward the sink and your forehead is lower than your chin in relation to the counter.

3. Insert spout of neti pot gently into the raised/top nostril creating a seal between the neti pot and the nostril. Try to relax. If you are too tense the solution just won’t flow. Breathe gently through your mouth throughout the process.

4. Raise the neti pot slowly to develop a steady flow of saline solution through the upper nostril and out the lower nostril.

5. When you’re done, exhale firmly several times to clear the nasal passages.

6. Reverse the tilt of your head and repeat the process on the other side.

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Symphony of Breath

“Our breath is constantly rising and falling, ebbing and flowing, entering and leaving our bodies. Full body breathing is an extraordinary symphony of both powerful and subtle movements that massage our internal organs, oscillate our joints, and alternately tone and release all the muscles in the body.  It is a full participation in life.” Donna Farhi

  1. The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama by Richard Rosen
  2. Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing by B. K. S. Iyengar and Yehudi Menuhin
  3. Anatomy of Breathing by Blandine Calais-Germain
  4. The Little Book of Yoga Breathing: Pranayama Made Easy. . . by Scott Shaw
  5. Free Your Breath, Free Your Life: How Conscious Breathing Can Relieve Stress, Increase Vitality, and Help You Live More Fully by Dennis Lewis
  6. Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing by Andrew Weil
  7. The Breathing Book: Vitality & Good Health Through Essential Breath Work by Donna Farhi
Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Food and Depression

My friend and fellow yogi, Lori Tindall, is a wealth of knowledge.  With her Masters in Holistic Nutrition, I know she has the information I need to help me figure out what to eat.  OK, some of you may think duh, what do you mean “figure out what to eat”, but I must admit that I find this one of the biggest challenges in my life.

Having a mental illness means having to pay special attention to all aspects of self-care.  Of particular importance is nutrition, for what is more personal than what me take into our bodies.  I thought some of you may also find Lori a useful resource. Below you will find an excerpt from her monthly newsletter (including a tasty recipe) and her contact information.

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”~Edward Stanley

Please feel free to email Lori with any of your questions at:

Holistic Nutrition
Did you know…….
Several nutritional related causes of depression:

  • suboptimal nutrition
  • disturbed blood sugar balance
  • lack of omega 3 fats
  • low serotonin
  • over production of histamine
  • adrenal exhaustion
  • food allergies/sensitivities
  • hypothyroidism
  • hormone imbalances

95% of serotonin is manufactured in the gut. Heal the digestive tract & improve liver function! The liver is the most overworked organ some of what is does: breaks down many hormones (including testosterone, estrogen etc.), regulates blood sugar levels, processes all food, nutrients, alcohol, caffeine, drugs/medications, etc. A liver can lose as much as 70% of its capability and not show diagnosable liver disease. If the liver functions are not working ideally, or it’s toxic load is too high, free radicals can build up in the body and cause additional oxidative stress–thereby increasing the nutritional requirements substantially. To learn more & schedule a consultation, email me at:

Lori’s Curried Cauliflower Recipe

This was a hit at a “foody’s” house party….

Steam or roast 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of cauliflower heads, tender but still a little firm, set aside. Mash & chop fresh garlic (1-2 tablespoons) and set aside to “rest”.
Saute 2-4 tablespoons of canola oil or olive oil, 1 red onion, dash of sea salt to help to sweat the onion, then add 1 1/2 (+) tablespoons curry, red pepper flakes to taste, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander. Then add garlic, 1/4-1/3 c. of apricot or peach preserves, juice of 1 lime, fresh herbs (1-2++ tablespoons) chives or cilantro, add cauliflower and toss. Garnish with cashews or sunflower seeds, and gomashio. YUM!
Please feel free to email with any of your questions etc. at:

Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Department of Health & Welfare sponsors Wellness Fair

A multi-pronged approach to wellness will keep us resilient and better equipped to handle challenges and stresses. If one coping skill or treatment fails us we will have others pick-up the slack.  This is what this wellness fair is all about.  What can we do as individuals to become resilient, strong and independent.  With wellness the whole world opens up to us.

Come Celebrate the First National Wellness Week — September 19-25, 2011
Wellness Fair
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
1720 Westgate Drive, Building A Room 131
Boise, Idaho

Weekend of Recovery

Earlier this year I had the privilege to take a weekend yoga workshop with Jo Tastula. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was excited to attend another workshop with Jo this weekend. The time came to pack and leave for McCall, but I had no “juice”. No matter what, I could not seem to switch my power button to on. I agonized over the fact that I had made plans with people, that I really wanted to learn more from this teacher and I had already paid for the workshop. All these things had me trying to ignore what I really needed, which was rest.

I can’t tell you how many times this struggle has arisen in my life. There are so many things to do and so little time. A sense of urgency becomes a way of life. This is the power of yoga. It asks us to become aware, slow down and breath. Through this process we regain our ability to self regulate and listen to the wisdom of our bodies. When we do this depth and meaning returns to our everyday and joy can re-enter our lives.

Did this happen for me? Yes! My breath feels deeper and my mind sharper. I may have spent the weekend sleeping, reading and watching movies, but I didn’t waste a moment.

Inspiring movie lines from my weekend of recovery:

“It’s not what you do on a good day that matters most, it is what you do on a bad day.” ~ The Matador’s Mistress

“Anyone can see the ugliness in the world, true skill is in seeing the beautiful.” ~Local Color

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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