Sizzling summer temperatures, while exotic for those of us based in the United Kingdom, can be a bit enervating and leave one lacking in energy. How best to adapt your yoga practice so that the practices chosen help cool and soothe rather than exacerbate the heat? According to Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, in summer the pitta dosha (one of the three ‘doshas’ or constitutions) can be aggravated, leaving us feeling extra hot and potentially short-tempered. Adapting your practice for summer according to Ayurvedic principles involves choosing cooling and calming postures and practices that will help soothe and balance rather than aggravate excess pitta.
If you’re not able to get away to the beach just yet, here are a few yoga tips for keeping cool this summer:
On 22-4-22 I had the honour of being interviewed by Kerry Gabrielson who runs a Podcast series called, ‘Hypermobility Happy Hour‘. The interview assumes some knowledge on the topic of hypermobility, heritable connective tissue disorders especially the ‘hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome’ – the one and most common subtype of a total of 13 different (much rarer) types of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). The other condition much referred to is Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD), which is the resultant diagnosis if one has symptomatic hypermobility and doesn’t meet the (2017) criterion of hEDS. So what do these terms mean in lay-terms?
As we approach the final countdown to the release of my book exploring the fascinating cross-over between the microbiome, gut health and Oriental Medicine, and the opportunity this affords us as practitioners and patients of Eastern or Western medicine, and as human beings, I noticed the coincidental timing of the ‘Healthy Eating Week’ run by the British Nutrition Foundation. I pondered upon seeing this on the meaning of ‘healthy eating’. I also found myself thinking about how we often underplay the significance of food as medicine and the role of inadequate diets in the initiation of disease. For there is a real paradox in many advanced societies that despite the abundance of food available, dietary deficits remain significant, and health problems linked to our diet and digestion are all too common. Many will rightly question what lies at the root of today’s struggle to define and implement healthy eating to achieve sustained good health.
Rewind to March 2020 and it’s fair to say we all thought teaching yoga online was a temporary thing. It was passable to have a thrown together space with the sofa as the backdrop, sit your laptop on a pile of blocks on a chair, not have a microphone, get interrupted by your cat during class… here in Summer 2022 that really isn’t the case anymore.
Online yoga has had a heck of a glow up over the past two years and is constantly evolving. The landscape for yoga teachers has changed forever, with this sector of the industry predicted to boom even further by 2027. Yet again, it is time for us to step up our game so we can keep developing top-tier online offerings that are slick, student-friendly and deliver expert transformation to our students and we’re ready to capitalise on that growth.
I suspect by now many of us have heard that kegels may exacerbate symptoms for some people, and can have limited benefit for others. Pelvic health, like any health or fitness pursuit, requires a dynamic, whole body and whole person approach to creating a lifestyle that both minimizes symptoms and supports healing and thriving. No ‘correct posture’, ‘best’ exercise, or one cookie cutter approach can possibly meet the varied demands of daily life, our psychoemotional fluctuations, and the ever-evolving needs at different seasons in a woman’s cycle and lifespan. Yoga therapy represents a customized, integrative, and collaborative approach to healthcare and wellbeing that respects the complexity of the individual.
Pelvic yoga therapy, put simply, utilizes this comprehensive, therapeutic approach to yoga to improve someone’s pelvic embodiment and function.
The Eight Extraordinary Vessels theory has been in existence for thousands of years, and many practitioners of Eastern medicine find themselves intrigued by these “mysterious vessels.” Over the years, many practitioners have indicated it is too dangerous to deeply explore the eight extraordinary vessels, while others believe quite differently. Li Shi Zhen of the 16th century had the viewpoint that not employing the eight extraordinary vessel theory with patients is a disservice to them. Following this guidance, I was profoundly inspired to deepen my study of these vessels and the works of Li Shi Zhen. During the course of my study and employment of the theory in my clinical practice, I discovered there is limited information on how best to proceed as a beginner practitioner regarding the eight extraordinary vessels. This discovery motivated me to write a book for the practitioner interested in knowing more about the eight extraordinary vessels and putting that knowledge into practice for the benefit of their patients.
“Early practitioners and philosophers were not afraid to use these vessels. Li encouraged all of his students as herbalists and acupuncturists to honor and practice the highest level of medicine by incorporating these vessels into their treatments. In this way, he believed practitioners could serve the highest purpose.” (pg.13)
Practical and useful advice for the clinical management of patients with acne
Some of you may already know my first book Treating Psoriasis with Chinese Herbal Medicine. I am very excited to introduce my new book, which has been just released, which is called Treating Acne and Rosacea with Chinese Herbal Medicine. It is the second book in my series on dermatological diseases and zooms in on another of the most common skin conditions of today: Acne. The book covers prescriptions and treatment options with Chinese herbs for all types of acne and TCM syndromes. In addition to this, and for better understanding and assisting in your practice, a separate chapter on acne rosacea is included.
As crucial as Chinese herbal medicine is in the treatment of acne is, I always say – never let a patient go home without giving suitable dietary advice. As well as a good diet can improve the skin, an improper diet can worsen the skin. You and I know this from our daily practice. With the following information, I would like to give you an insight into how general diet rules work best and which ones you can give to your patients with acne.
I recently spoke on a podcast and the subject of “processed food” came up frequently during the interview. After we had concluded I realized that I could have elaborated on the different levels and methods that are utilized in the processing of food. Not all processed food is unhealthy and in our often-busy lives, it’s helpful to make a distinction so we can choose efficiently and wisely for our health. Nowadays our grocery store aisles contain food products that have been hugely altered from their original states in ways that would have been unimaginable 100 years ago. Many staples such as bread, yoghurt, cereal, and baked goods have gone from being just simple processed food items to becoming ultra-processed food (UPF). Awareness and education of what we think we are eating and what we are actually eating is crucial not only to our own health but for the health of our children and grandchildren born into this world of quick, easy and addictive food products.
In an old and favorite verse from thousands of years ago, the author of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.4.5, considers this:
You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.
And yet, as we all wonder about the future now, shall we ask each other this next question, “What is OUR collective desire and what shall OUR collective deeds create now?”
In my experience over decades as a systems change catalyst and leadership coach, I’ve had the privilege of helping many individuals and teams develop new strategies for high level impact. Whether in business, healthcare or communities, one of my initial questions is, “Who are we really, and what is our work?”
“Stories are how we remember; We tend to forget lists and bullet points.” Robert McKee
The power of story is that it makes the information personal. Story allows us to travel with the content and to transform it into something more than just facts: Story brings information to life.
This book is meant to facilitate information on Chinese Medicine becoming alive. Chinese Medicine has fallen into the pedantic, where theories and concepts are told and not discussed. In Sun’s Season of Channels, I aim to bring back the story and hark back to the lively interactions of the classics. The stories, metaphors and analogies that I include in this book come from my experiences over the last 10 years of teaching the basics of Chinese medicine (Yin Yang theory, five element theory, and channel theory).