How Strong Is The Power Of Your Mind?

One of the most renowned experiments on the close connection between the body and the mind is the placebo effect. Simply put, the placebo effect holds that when a sick person is given a counterfeit pill or one that resembles an actual pill but has zero effect, the patient will be cured, not because the medicine has any effect, but because of the patient’s unreserved belief in the efficacy of that pill.

The Starting Point

That will form the starting point as we seek to understand the powerful effect the mind has on other faculties of the body. Dr Lissa Rankin, a physician and researcher established in a study that the prevalence of diseases and concomitant expenditure was almost as high in poor neighbourhoods as they were in posh California areas.

The Poor And The Rich, Alike, Get Sick

While everybody would expect poor folks to have higher risks of falling sick due to poor dietary practices, lack of exercise, smoking and drug abuse among other practices, people in wealthier areas were also at risk, to the surprise of many. This study brought to the fore the fact that contrary to the teachings of conventional medicine, it was important to unleash a holistic approach to treatment of illnesses, especially to embrace the marvels of the mind.

The Law of Attraction

Another important issue to consider when pondering how strong the power of the mind is lies within the law of attraction. Over the years, philosophers, theologians, quantum physicists and other professionals have come to the conclusion that when the mind consistently holds on to a thought pattern, whatever is being thought about comes to pass.

There have been many reports of people who have transformed their financial fortunes as well as other spheres of life by using the law of attraction. Some terminally ill patients, who had been informed by physicians that they would not live for long, have been known to walk out of their hospital beds into flourishing wellbeing.

image1

I never really knew how powerful the mind actually is!

Now, To The Immense Powers Of The Mind

These and other developments in the study of the mind illustrate just how powerful this organ is. However, in order to understand, to a greater depth, the powers of the mind, let us delve into the specifics.

1. Healing Of Diseases: For many years, faith healing has been practiced but is always dismissed by most medical practitioners. The field of medicine or conventional healing has been aided to an extent by the discovery of the power of the mind. According to experimental studies carried out at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, located in Massachusetts, patients who underwent a number of mindfulness techniques (e.g. meditation, and mantra) demonstrated significant gene changes, which helped to decelerate ageing, improve metabolism and relaxation, and regulate insulin in their bodies.

The practice of mindfulness created changes in the DNA that led to remarkable health improvements for participating patients. In essence, the power of the mind was called into action to aid conventional medicine and what resulted was more than could have been accomplished through common therapeutic means. With more experiments, we could witness a decrease in global expenditure on medicine and healthcare. The irony is that this power has always been with us yet medical practitioners did not find it prudent to try it on human beings.

2. Assuaging Of Physical Pain: The study of the mind has also led to interesting findings that have impacted the way we understand and deal with pain. To begin with, the placebo effect indicates that the mind actually has control over the body. While pain is real and cannot be wished away, it is evident that the human body has its own healing mechanisms which are domiciled in the mind. It is possible now to understand how faith-healers work, whether they (faith-healers) understand the rationale or not. The moment one believes that they are going to be healed, the mind starts to work towards the healing of that person.

The connection between the mind and the body, though unseen, is very powerful to the point of bringing relief from pain. This discovery has led many to believe that what we call ‘miracles’ of healing are merely the manifestations of the healing power of the mind on body maladies. Again, if such a discovery is actualized people will spend less on medicine and healthcare systems will not be as strained as they are today.

image1-2

Do we really need all of these pills and tablets?! Or can our mind heal us?!

3. Emotional Healing: Did you know that emotional pain is as excruciating as physical hurt? The fact that people who hurt emotionally may not exhibit physical injuries does not mean that they are hurting less. Studies have established that the same mechanisms that work in emotional throbbing are the ones involved in physical pain. The brain is created in such a way that it does not differentiate between sources of pain. When people lose a loved one or go through a breakup, the aching they feel has the same potency as if they had been hurt physically.

But there is something that should worry you more. While physical pain lasts for certain duration and disappears, emotional pain stays for a longer time. Every time a person is reminded of the hurtful event that stung their feelings, chances are that the wound will become fresh again and pain even more. It takes time and deliberate acceptance of circumstances for the mind to bring about healing. Need we be careful about the emotional pain we inflict on other people? We should.

4. Managing Stress: Another important area of medical research that has benefited a lot from understanding the power of the brain is stress management. One fact about the brain is that it cannot differentiate between real threats and those that don’t exist. We all know the reality of stress even when it emanates from genuine issues that put the lives and comfort of those we love and ourselves at risk. And life has so many of these, many of which emanate from the people we interact with daily.

 However, we need to understand that even imagined stress can have a devastating effect on our lives because the brain considers it stress. Whatever we imagine that can bring pain into our lives eventually hurts us. The solution, thankfully, lies in the same mind. We can visualize ourselves doing away with both real and imagined stress and it will be gone as simply as it came. The moment we realize that we can change our thinking and change our circumstances, we rid ourselves of negative stress that can easily destroy us.

5. Learning Through Visualisation: The mind is so powerful that we can use it to learn without actually being in a learning environment. The brain has a capability called neuroplasticity, which implies that it devices new pathways on a continuous basis. By repeating a routine when learning a skill, we strengthen the pathways which carry the respective action. That happens when you are in a classroom trying to learn a skill. However, the brain does not differentiate between what you actually perform and what you visualise. 

According to the great Albert Einstein, you are better off with imagination than with knowledge, if you were to choose between the two. In essence, if you imagine carrying out some action using your brain, the mind will react as if you are in actual practice. Visualization is, therefore, a very important aspect of learning. This should be of great interest to educationists.

6.Goal Achievement: Now, this may shock many because it is unprecedented. Did you know that when you speak about your goals, your brain believes you have achieved them? Wow! Your mouth may be your downfall, after all. Experts have established that the moment you start telling others of the goals you intend to achieve, the brain confuses your talking for action, thus depriving you of the motivation to achieve an ‘already attained’ goal.

Talking about your goals gives you satisfaction and sends the signal to the brain that you don’t need any more inspiration and inner strength to reach out. Methinks we should keep quiet about our dreams and wait until we have accomplished them. Once again, a goal in mind tells the brain to give you the resources you need to achieve it. What a discovery!

Conceptual illustration of dreams inside the shape of a person's head

7. Boosting Your Mood: Put a smile on your face now because there is good news. Did you know that your facial expression affects your emotions? The brain (how “confused” this organ is) cannot differentiate between a fake and a genuine smile. This means that the moment stress engulfs you, you can laugh your way out of it. A fake smile has the same effect on your brain and relieves stress the same way a real smile does. When you facial muscles move to form a smile, the brain interprets it as a positive emotion and stress takes a flight.

Something is the matter and you are stressed? Laugh at your problems. Hide from people and smile your way out. Someone is stressing you out, pretend not to be upset and smile instead. Don’t frown because this will strengthen bad moods. Make it your reaction to always meet stress with a smile because you have a brain that is so powerful that it does not realize you are pretending you are happy!

iStock_000000576082_Small

The Parting Shot

This space is not enough to elaborate exhaustively just how powerful the mind is. However, with this knowledge, you can live a better life because you can handle physical and emotional hurt as well as ubiquitous stress.

Hopefully, scientists and other interested parties will continue to discover other marvellous capabilities of the brain that would help us live happier and longer lives. Until then, let us toast to the most powerful computer ever created – your brain!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

Follow:

10 Simple Things to be Happier Now!

Happiness is something that all of us crave and search for all the time. It comes and goes, sometimes very quick and sometimes it stays a bit longer! Ask any person you meet what they want from life and chances are they will mention happiness are very high. We spend a lot of money trying to attain all that bliss, we go to great lengths – to the end of the world – just to feel that serenity and gladness that we crave so much.

So why is it that we don’t remain happy for long?

Here are 10 simple things you need to do to become happier or to inculcate an attitude of happiness:

1. Live a simple life: Most of us forget that life is meant to be enjoyed and the best way to do it is to live as simply as possible. Often, it is not the money and material things that bring happiness into life. Rather, it is the simple things that matter. Appreciate the very fact that you are alive and healthy; that you can talk to people and listen to the beautiful sound of nature. Much of these can be enjoyed away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Think about it this way: how would you live if you were taken to a world without modern technology?

2. Imbibe the fresh air from outdoors: There are few things that are as refreshing and invigorating as the outdoor. You level of happiness is likely to spike when your brain imbibes fresh air. After hours of interacting with many people and machines, some of them irritating, you need an injection of freshness and happiness from nature. Create time over the weekend or after work to visit that park or lake where nature teems. The blood in your brain needs that freshness to bring back happiness.

3. Exercise gratitude: It has been proved that people who accept themselves as they are often experience high levels of happiness compared to those who are always complaining. Learn to give thanks for the people around you like family and friends. Be happy when things go right and learn to appreciate when you don’t get your way. Instead of basing your daily disposition on the weather, train your body to appreciate all kinds of weather. Grateful people often find more reasons to become happier.

4. Engage in regular workouts: Regular exercise relieves the body from stress. It stretches out your muscles and brings relaxation. Your brain becomes invigorated because fresh air is mixed in the blood. Your mood is boosted and you begin to feel happier. Rarely will you go into the gym with a foul mood and low spirit and return with the same disposition. People who exercise regularly are among the happiest on earth.

The only bad workout, is the one that never happened!

5. Focus on the good, not the bad: To become happier, you need to identify issues that make you happy and those that sadden you. Your focus should be on maximizing on the positive issues and minimizing or eradicating the negative. In life, there will always be some things and people that exasperate you. Remember you cannot control what comes your way but you can decide how to react to all stimuli. Choose to be happy. Choose to see what is good inside you instead of focussing on the bad that some people associate with you.

IMG_5151

Small and simple things make us very happy!

6. Spend adequate time on sleep: The human body is designed with its own mechanism for happiness, and part of this is getting enough sleep. There is no way you will be happy when you deprive your body of sleep. Most of the time when you are irritable and likely to pick a fight with other people, it is because you have not slept adequately. It is important that you sleep for between six and eight hours daily since this will naturally rest your body and give you greater happiness.

7. Extend a helping hand: Human life was never designed to be a lonely and selfish affair. We are what we are because someone helped us along the way, we only become happier when we extend the same kind of assistance to other people who need it. Human nature is such that when we lift the spirits of others our joy is amplified. And there are many people in need of your help. Orphans, widows, the homeless, the sick and so on, can benefit from some of the surplus resources you have.

 

8. Have quality social time: Your friends and relatives play a great role in your life. They know you better than anybody else. Your good and bad moments are all engraved in their minds. Your happiness is connected with theirs. It follows that as their happiness increases, so does yours. Consequently, plan to spend more quality time with those who love you. Attend special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties to show support and enjoy these people’s company, and your happiness will increase.

9. Meditate: One of the most acknowledged strategies of making you happier is to meditate. Meditation helps you to bring your mind, body and spirit into conformity. It eliminates your inner conflicts, giving you peace of mind and contentment. The moment you give your inner nature contentment, you begin to become more positive and pleasurable to live with. Learn to spend time is silent contemplation of your life, listening to your inner voice.

IMG_5928

Meditation – Quiet the mind and your soul will speak

10. Treat yourself well: Your happiness depends on how well you value yourself and how you treat yourself. You cannot make others happy if you are not happy with yourself. The battle must begin within you. Money may not buy happiness but you can use money to increase your happiness. Treat yourself to that special meal in the restaurant you like. Make that special trip to a place where you have always craved to visit. Buy that special smartphone or latest kind of clothing or car if you can afford it. You deserve it as this will make you happier.

FullSizeRender

Treat yourself well and spoil yourself, you deserve It!

When all is said and done, happiness begins with you appreciating yourself. Becoming happier is possible when you extend this love to others, appreciate what life brings your way, and find little ways to make life more bearable for all human beings.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

Follow:

Have You Met Rumi!

Rumi was a poet of Persian origin who lived in the 13th Century. His birth can be traced to modern Afghanistan in a city called Balkh. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī on September 30, 1207. He would later migrate to a little town called Konya; in the country we call Turkey today. Don’t be shocked, therefore, if you come across Iranians, Turks and Afghans, who claim Rumi was one of their own.

According to Frank Lewis, a scholar who has written the biography of Rumi, the name Rumi actually means Rome, a reference to the areas under Roman rule that were later conquered by Turks, and where Muslims like Rumi settled. Rumi’s other name, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, cements his connection with his city of birth in Afghanistan.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 13.06.07

It is this multiple identity that makes this jurist, poet, theologian and Islamic scholar a popular figure not only in Asia but also across the world. No singular religion or culture can claim to own Rumi exclusively. His works are revered among Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews. You will hear recitations of his poetry in mosques, cathedrals, Zen monasteries and synagogues alike.


My favourite books for you to buy!

He is arguably the greatest composer of mystical poetry to have graced the earth. The world is more than 7o,000 poetry verses richer thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and profound philosophical knowledge of this great man. It is no wonder that his teachings have been translated into the major languages of the world.

While many in the West have come to know Rumi in the last two decades, thinkers and scholars in Asia and the Middle East have always held Rumi in high regard. His poetry covers a range of topics – some mystical – some philosophical. In his works, you will come across passion, desire, love and spirituality. Like many of the philosophers whose knowledge was revered in the past, Rumi’s counsel was timeless and is still relevant today.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 13.19.07

It is important to note that Rumi was born in a wealthy and noble family, and though his life had the usual drama all of us ago, it was not until he met wandering holy man than life changed drastically. One wonders why the philosophy and mysticism bug had not bitten the young man before, considering his father was a mystic, jurist and theologian.

Enter Shams, the potent spiritual wanderer who was way below the social class of Rumi, and who belonged to the upper class, and the Rumi’s life took a dramatic turn. Although the two would come together as teacher and student when Rumi was around 37 years of age, Shams had noticed the younger man at 21 years of age and decided to wait until a later date to covert him into spirituality.

The bond between the wandering teacher, otherwise known as the Bird, and Rumi took time to heal. The fact that Shams was a lonely antisocial figure and below the nobility associated with Rumi, was so much of a hindrance that the older man had to leave town following death threats from the upper class.

To solve the class problem, Rumi married the daughter of his teacher thus setting off their long friendship. It is no wonder then that the first epic written by Rumi was titled, “The Collective Poems of Shams of Tabriz.” It is evident that Rumi ascribed his knowledge and philosophy to his master and teacher –Shams. His search for love and the truth under the tutelage of Shams transformed Rumi into a thinker and philosopher.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 13.21.31

The death of Shams at the hand of the youngest son of Rumi resulted in profound grief for the latter. This, coupled with their two years of interaction, led to two collections of epics: Massnavi (Mathnawi) and Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi.

The following quotes illustrate just how deep Rumi’s philosophy of life was and how he conceptualized human existence and the experience of living:


My favourite books for you to buy!

Rumi celebrated love:

The garden of love is green without limit
and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy.
Love is beyond either condition:
without spring,
without autumn, it is always fresh.

On love and the possibility of a disagreement between lovers, he said:

“Every day my heart falls deeper in the pain of your sorrow.
Your cruel heart is weary of me already.
You have left me alone, yet your sorrow remains.
Truly your sorrow is more faithful than you are.”

Rumi also understood what most of us have had to experience when being left by a lover and said:

You left and I cried tears of blood.
My sorrow grows.
It’s not just that You left.
But when You left my eyes went with You.
Now, how will I cry?

But he also understood the need for one to endure the pain of being rejected:

Love is best when mixed with anguish.
In our town,
we won’t call you a Lover
if you escape the pain.

Rumi also had something to say about drunkenness, the inherent dangers and the need to say ‘no’:

“I am so drunk
I have lost the way in
and the way out.
I have lost the earth, the moon, and the sky.
Don’t put another cup of wine in my hand,
pour it in my mouth,
for I have lost the way to my mouth.”

The importance of more silence and less speech was also a great concern of this philosopher:

Listen!
Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell,
for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.
When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.

Rumi’s philosophy was also based on the Supreme Being:

I have seen the king with a face of Glory,
He who is the eye and the sun of heaven,
He who is the companion and healer of all beings,
He who is the soul and the universe that births souls.

On the need to seek happiness from the source and not reflectors of love, Rumi had this to say:

Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendor.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?
Seek out the source which shines forever.

Finally, do you know the value of your soul? Rumi has this challenge for you:

You know the value of every article of merchandise,
but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru!

XXX
 

Follow:

Goats Milk Benefits!

Milk is one of the most loved and healthy drinks in the world. Billions of litres are consumed globally every day. Cow’s milk is the most popular and renowned type of milk. However, there is another version of milk that has many more benefits than cow milk.

Though from a much smaller animal, goat milk is packed with powerful and healthier nutrients than cow’s milk. The 2% global consumption of goat milk may seem negligible statistically, but that does not in any way diminish its true value.

Beware of Cow’s Milk!

Before delving into the amazing advantages of goat milk, it is important to ponder the serious disadvantages of cow milk. Did you know that part of the reason many of us have bloated tummies and chronic indigestion is because of our constant consumption of cow’s milk?

This is hardly surprising to those who understand the modern process of milk production. Unlike conventional practices where cows are fed on grass, the modern animal consumes a concoction of antibiotics, vaccines, growth hormones and GMO feed. This is what you get for taking pasteurized milk, which ostensibly, is supposed to be safer.

So, Why is Goat Milk More Beneficial?

Our interest is particularly on the raw, fresh, unpasteurized and organic version of cow’s milk.

  • Goat milk is easy to digest, compared to cow milk: This is because the fat molecules in cow milk are much larger than those in goat milk. When food is easily digestible you get most of the nutrients from it. We are so much used to cow’s milk that we don’t realize there is a better alternative.
  • It averts accumulation of mucus: Most people who experience more-than-normal mucus and various allergies do so because of taking cow milk. The high content of fat in milk is responsible for the secretion of excess mucus. In addition, goat milk does not cause gut irritation like cow milk.
  • It keeps diseases at bay: There several foods and nutrients that boost the immune system and goat milk and inherent selenium, fall into this category. People who take goat experience better disease-fighting abilities and have strong bodies, performing optimally.
  • Goat milk has anti-inflammatory abilities: While this is the subject of on-going research, there is a close link between reduction of inflammation in the body and consuming goat milk. Bowel inflammation is one condition that would be significantly reversed if people took goat milk.
  • It is more similar to human milk than cow milk: You may be too old to remember how your mother’s milk tasted but you know the amazing and essential benefits of this substance especially in the first six months after birth. Goat milk is not only easy to digest; it is also assimilated more efficiently than cow milk; just like human milk. This also means that you absorb most of the nutrients in goat milk.

  • Goat milk boosts metabolism: Goat milk is important especially for people with low metabolism because it helps to absorb nutrients such as iron, phosphorus, copper, calcium, potassium and vitamin B. This implies that for equal amounts of goat and cow milk, you benefit much more from the former than from the latter, and this means better body metabolism.

  • It is essential for general body growth and development: If you need protein in large amounts, goat milk fits the bill. The implication is that your body will have healthier muscle, cells, tissues and bones. Moreover, as your metabolism improves, you will enjoy improved well-being and normal body growth.
  • Goat milk boosts bone-health: It is a documented fact that cow milk contains calcium, an important mineral for strengthening of bones in our bodies. But the amount of calcium in goat milk is far higher than that which you get from cow milk. What more? You will also get tryptophan, a crucial amino acid for body functioning, when you take goat milk.
  • Your heart is healthier with goat milk intake: The amount of fatty acids in goat milk is two-fold what you find in cow milk. This means that goat milk can significantly lower the amount of cholesterol in your body. These fatty acids together with potassium ensure that when you take goat milk you are at a much more reduced risk from heart attacks, coronary diseases, strokes, blood pressure and many other complications of the cardiovascular system.
  • Goat milk is likely to be less toxic than cow milk: Contemporary methods of rearing cows entail the use of hormones that boost milk production in an abnormal manner, and these hormones can easily harm you. In contrast, goat milk is produced naturally and all its nutrients are intact by the time you drink it.

Now you know it! Goat milk may not be as tasty as cow milk and may not be as widely accepted, but the former contains much more benefits. Tyr it today and you will be glad you did.

Try it!

With love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

Follow:

How to Balance Your Hormones!

Obsession with Veggies!

Hello gorgeous ladies, I have written this article just for you!

It is not possible to talk about the human body without mentioning the word hormones!  Many people do not understand about these chemical secretions and reactions, but all of us have to deal with hormonal issues every now and then. Hormonal imbalance is a serious health complication for many people, especially to women in all stages of life.

Owing to the complex lifestyles and dietary choices we make today, we have compromised the composition of hormones in our bodies. Incidentally most of the illnesses wreaking we have in our lives emanate from hormonal disproportion. It is important that you understand exactly what it means to have hormonal imbalance.

Vitamin D in Riviera Maya
Vitamin D in Riviera Maya

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, then your body is having problems balancing your hormones.

1. Lethargy: If you are the type that feels weary most of the time and needs to have some snack to make your body active, it is likely your hormones are not well-balanced. Is it becoming common for you to feel exhausted, befuddled and lazy? Have yourself checked for hormonal inequality.

2.  Bloating and other digestive complications: Many a times when you experience problems of the digestive track, you tend to associate them with poor dietary habits. However, it is also possible that your digestive hormones are not being secreted normally.

3.  Uncontrolled weight gain: One of the main problems facing women today is excess weight. It is true that most of this is caused by excess consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods. However, if your hormones are not working optimally, this problem will persist.

4.  Depression: A dip in mood and emotions is often a sign of hormonal imbalance. It happens when we don’t get enough rest, are stressed, or when the body has a large number of toxins.

5. Poor sleep patterns: Hormonal imbalance may also manifest itself through erratic sleeping patterns. Insomnia tends to affect every faculty of the human body. Unless you align your body to the natural sleeping order, you are going to experience interruptions in your daily routines.

6. Low libido: Sex is controlled by hormones. The moment your hormones don’t work exactly as they should, you will experience lack of or low sexual drive.

7. Hot flushes and night sweats: If you are starting to experience increased temperatures and unusual sweating at night, it is time you were checked for hormonal disproportion. Don’t just dismiss it as any other complication.

The best way to deal with such health complications, then, is to balance your hormones. There are a number of ways you can do this. The most popular (but unfortunately not the best) is hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Considering hormonal imbalance is a problem for many people, especially women, HRT practitioners are making a kill. The actual problem with HRT is that it does not treat the cause of the problem but deals with the symptoms only.

Despite this, we should not be fast to condemn HRT. Many perimenopausal women will tell you that when they begin to experience hot flashes and night sweats, the fastest method to relieve the pain and discomfort is to take respective pills. What we are saying though is that it is better to use more long lasting methods, most of which are natural and less expensive compared to HRT.

Natural Strategies of Balancing Hormones

1. Ensure that you have healthy weight: The level of oestrogen in your body increases with increases in adipose tissue, the latter being as a result of excess fat. This is because the adipose tissue performs a similar role as the endocrine glad at this point. To avoid unnecessary secretion of surplus hormones, therefore, you need to have healthy weight. Know your BMI and always live by it. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Remember having the right weight is also good for your general outlook and health.

2. Include cruciferous veggies in your diet: Indole-3-carbinol is the element in cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and related plants that generates diindolylmethane (DIM) after metabolism. With these two elements, the secretion of oestrogen in your body is regulated thus preventing hormonal imbalance. In addition, it has been proved that eating cruciferous veggies helps to prevent cancer, especially the type that affects the breasts. Stock up on these vegetables and find ways of including them in as many as your foods as possible.

3. Introduce phytoestrogens in your food: This is one of the best approaches to dealing with hormonal imbalance since it happens naturally. Instead of buying expensive HRT medication, simply eat food rich in soy and also consume generous amounts of seeds such as sunflower and flax as well as beans sprouts. Other foods rich is phytoestrogens include peas and garbanzo beans. By simply eating such food, you will regulate hormones in your body without experiencing negative side effects. And you don’t have to worry because these seeds are found in abundance in areas close to you like grocery stores.

Healthy Food Choices Inspiration
Healthy Food Choices Inspiration

4. Consume avocados and coconut oil: Another relatively inexpensive way to curb unusual fluctuations in body hormones is to consume foods that contain fatty acid chains of varying lengths. The best examples of these are avocados and coconut oil. This category also includes salmon derived from natural habitats and butter from grass-fed animals. Apart from having your hormonal levels restored to normal you will experience improved metabolism and increased loss of weight. Instead of using expensive drugs, look for these food products and eat them as often as possible.

5. Reduce your intake of caffeine: Coffee and tea are favourite beverages for many, but herein lies a problem for those with hormonal imbalance. When you take caffeine, especially before you sleep, you tend to lose sleep, but more significantly, the hormonal level in your thyroid is interfered with. This is the moment you experience all sorts of chaos in your body since hormonal activity is significantly altered. We are not intimating that you avoid these beverages altogether (although this is advisable for those with critical hormonal imbalance problems) but reducing intake, especially before going to sleep is important.

6. Sleep adequately: Your hormonal imbalance problem is likely to be as a result of not getting enough sleep. If you are not getting between seven and eight hours of quality sleep every day, your hormonal activity will be affected negatively. Your body is designed to have reduced activity at night and this is when sleep sets in. The moment you disturb this order, you also interfere with your hormonal activity. Make sure you sleep by around 10 pm as this will ensure you get quality sleep. Make sure you have lie on a comfortable bed and that your room is dark enough. Avoid watching television or gazing at smartphone screens before you sleep.

7. Practise deep breathing: To deal with night sweats and hot flashes, you don’t have to resort to HRT all the time. The simple routine of breathing from the belly two times every day with each session lasting fifteen minutes will bring you natural relief from hormonal discrepancy. Deep breathing helps your lungs to imbibe enough energy to be fed to the blood, which ensures the blood that reaches your cells is clean. When your blood is clean, you will have not only stronger immunity from illnesses, but your hormonal activity will also be balanced correctly.

8. Herbal remedies can help: There are herbal medicines that have been proven to deal effectively with hormonal imbalance. Shatavarim, an Ayurvedic herb, is known for its ability to reduce mood swings and irritability that comes with menopause. There are even herbs that are known to deal with the physical pain and psychological distress associated with hormonal imbalance. However, it is important to talk to an expert before you begin using herbal remedies for this problem.

9. Avoid conventional birth control: While this may not be a popular kind of advice when dealing with hormonal problems, it is important to consider the rationale behind it. Did you know that birth control pills are essentially hormonal therapies that alter how your body works? More importantly, these pills make you more vulnerable to breast cancer, migraines, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, high blood pressure and breast tenderness, among other issue that should worry you. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look for more natural and harmless ways of controlling child bearing than to interfere with hormonal activity and expose you to some much pain?

10. Get vitamin D and lots of It: This vitamin is known for its ability to boost mode and general wellbeing. To this end, vitamin D helps to control hormonal activity. This implies that you need to get enough time in the sun, though you should take care not to be harmed by the sun’s rays. Bask in the early morning and late evening hours. If you do not have this privilege, look for vitamin D supplements. This is especially true if you live in an area where you don’t have adequate exposure to the sun.

Outdoor portrait of beautiful young women having fun.

So now you have it! HRT may work over some time but it is not sustainable for hormonal imbalance problems in the long term. Go the natural way and you will never suffer from painful side effects or have to worry about the possibility of contracting dreadful illnesses again!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

Follow:

Dangerous GMO’s!

The quest for global food security has over the years witnessed aggressive efforts to create plants that can withstand changing climatic conditions and plant diseases. The most prominent of these attempts is the creation of genetically modified organisms, popularly known by the acronym ‘GMO’. Fortunately or unfortunately, while this development is worthy celebrating, it is surrounded by serious controversy and inherent danger.

From the onset, it is important to state that GMOs are far from being safe as many would have us believe. But before we delve into the dangers of GMO, let us first understand what GMO is all about.

Understanding GMO

Let us begin from the known and proceed to the unknown. By nature, every organism has its unique composition, the DNA that differentiates it from others. A natural plant is one that has all its genes intact as it was created or as it has evolved over the years. In essence, natural corn, for example, should have all the qualities of corn as we have known it over the years.

Scientists, however, argue that as plants and animals continue to evolve, they undergo changes that may alter their chemical and nutritional composition. This is especially because soils continue to lose their fertility and plants cannot get all the nutrients they used to earlier. Animals feed on the deprived soil. Moreover, the use of fertilizers and chemicals means that the genetic makeup of the plant can be altered. The consequence is that the plants we know today are of lower nutritional value than before.

It is also argued by experts that plant diseases and pests have over the years lowered the quality of plants and other organisms thus the need for mechanisms to prevent the harmful effects of these diseases. Unless these diseases are prevented from affecting and destroying organisms, some plant and animal species will disappear soon. These and other reasons are used to front GMOs.

A GMO is an organism that has had its genetic composition interfered with through artificial means especially in a laboratory. Through a process called genetic engineering, scientists extract the DNA of one type of plant or animal and replace the removed material with others from sources that have no relationship with the original organism.

The sources of new genes are often other animals, plants, insects, viruses, bacteria or even animal tissue. It is important to remember that this is contrary to the natural way in which crossbreeding among species occurs. Next time you come across the term ‘transgenic’ organisms, you need to realize it has the same meaning as GMO since it denotes the transfer of genes between different organisms.

A Chinese Asian female medical doctor or scientific researcher or doctor looking at a flask of blue liquid in a laboratory.

When this is done, the plant has to change in terms of its nutritional and chemical composition and in some cases the physical appearance. Moreover, and more importantly, genetic engineering not only alters the genetic infrastructure of an organism, but is also unpredictable and extremely mutative. Moreover, allergic reactions and toxins often follow genetic engineering.

We also need to realize that in the past there have been other attempts to improve the quality of species. These include tissue culture, selective breeding and hybridization. The difference between these traditional genetic methods of gene improvement and genetic engineering is that the former actually aids nature instead of circumventing it.

The other complication is that genetic engineering may actually act contrary to the ideals of improving the genetic quality of organisms. For example, some crops return lower yields after genetic engineering. The same happens with nutritional value. Allergic reactions and toxicity are attendant problems, but even more worrying is environmental degradation stemming from GMOs.

GMO research was at first perceived to be for research purposes only, but with time, it became clear that there were commercial interests. Today, many food crops have been genetically modified to some extent. We are talking of papaya, soybeans, corn and other plants such as cotton. Despite this, most of the food we eat remains natural and this includes rice, oats, where, tomatoes, beans, grapes and barley.

In relation to animals, there are no GMO creatures at this time. Well, there was an unsuccessful attempt to create GMO pigs, but it was shelved after a short trial. However, the fact that animals feed on GMO corn and soy means that the negative impacts of GMO will affect people who feed on such animals. The fact that GMO foods are not clearly labelled puts everybody at risk.

heart shape by various vegetables and fruits

Why, should you be concerned?

It would be unfair not to underline that research on the harmful effects of GMOs is on-going. However, it is important to note that there are regions that have adopted a wait-and-see attitude instead of rushing to adopt GMOs. For example, in the EU, GMOs crops are rarely grown and any GMO products must be clearly labelled to help a buyer to make a personal decision on whether to consume such products or not.

Woman's hand holding the sun over wheat field.

Secondly, some scientists have expressed reservations to GMOs on the basis that the allergies witnessed during genetic engineering might affect consumers. This is a genuine concern considering the prevalence of diseases such as cancer, which primarily involve irregular multiplication of body cells. One wonders, then, whether it is necessary to eat GMO food when there are natural alternatives.

Another concern related to GMOs is that the entire process eventually harms the environment. This is especially true in relation to GMO farming. Pesticides are the main issue here. Companies that manufacture GE seeds are also the main producers of pesticides. While GE seeds are made to withstand herbicides, farmers must purchase chemicals to kill weeds. The problem is that farms develop weeds that resist chemicals in the long run thus requiring even more harmful insecticides.

It is obvious that when the environment is harmed by chemicals, human beings will suffer. Polluted air, soil and water in turn contribute to death of marine life, global warming, toxicity in water sources, death of plant and animal life and the plethora of illnesses that we are battling today. In essence, we can suffer direct and indirect consequences of developing, nurturing and consuming GMOs.

What should we do?

As intimated earlier, it is imperative that we ask ourselves whether we really need GMOs. Nature is resilient and altering its cause can only results in disaster in the long run. Global warming and its consequences are clear evidences of that fact. Before you introduce GMOs in your diet, ask yourself whether you have exhausted all existing natural alternatives.

We must start reading labels on the food materials we buy and ensure we don’t form a habit of constant consumption of GMOs. It is important to be careful when we buy canola, alfalfa, papaya, corn, soy, and sugar beets. These are foods that have undergone extensive genetic engineering. Some, like, soy, are totally transformed from what we were used to.

We need also to ask ourselves whether GMOs are manufactured for the benefit of humanity or the firms than create them. Why is it that the largest manufacturers of GE foods are also the leading makers of chemicals to fight weeds? Are we helping businesspeople to make more money at our expense or we really need GMOs for survival of the human race?

With love,

Grace Guru 

XXX

 

Follow:

What is Candida?

Most of us often suffer from symptoms; strange symptoms and we don’t even know what the reason behind it is! Do you have symptoms such as mood swings, sinus infections, intestinal distress, brain fog, hormonal imbalance, yeast infections, headaches, chronic fatigues, and itching? However diverse these symptoms may sound the cause is often a fungus, known as Candida Albicans. This disease is often misdiagnosed, but in this article, I will explain what Candida actually is, its symptoms and how it can be treated.

What is Candida?

Candida is a type of fungus that affects the intestines. Any imbalance in your digestive or immune systems can have adverse consequences to your gut often leading to a leaky gut. Stress and certain antibiotics lead to an imbalance of this particular fungus. Often when you are stressed, lots of Candida Albicans are rapidly produced and released into your intestines. Large amounts of this fungus are toxic because it produces a range of by-products that include uric acid and a neurotoxin called acetaldehyde.

Acetaldehyde is a harmful by-product, it is known to cause brain fogs and chronic headaches. This has also recently been listed as a possible carcinogen. It’s a pathogen that can have a dangerous effect on the human body. Uric acid on the other hand, when in large amounts, can lead to gout or joint pains. Any change in the balance of your intestines can result in oral thrush, yeast infections, and various duodenal problems.

Here are some things you may do that can lead to Candida overgrowth within our bodies:

High sugar diets

The amount of sugar you consume can lead to Candida imbalance in your system. Unhealthy sugary foods taken over a long period causes Candida overgrowth.

Take a walk in your local restaurant, convenient store or mall. All these stores sell foods with added sugars. It is almost virtually impossible to ignore these sugars. Whether, its pasta sauce, meats, bread, cereals, margarine they all contain added sugars in them. These sugars are the exact kind of foods that Candida needs to proliferate. – In other words processed food!

It’s important to note that eating healthy foods and having a bar of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream once a week will not lead to increase in Candida amounts. Sugary diets consumed over longer periods of time will lead to Candida imbalance.

iStock_000060971704_Small

Stress

I know you have probably suffered from stress in the past. It’s a tough world we live in. The bills are increasing and your pay might not necessarily balance out right with your daily needs. Some of these issues sometimes lead to stress. Always worrying about what lies ahead of you can result in changes to your body. Stress sometimes leads to depression and it is often seen as one of the leading causes of ailments today.

There are different ways in which stress can lead to a Candida burst in your body.

The first thing that stress does is raise sugar level in your body. In biology, the increase in sugar levels is commonly referred to as the fight or flight effect. A state of constant worry will make your body build up lots of energy in preparation for any sudden occurrence. To boost energy levels and be ready for anything, the sugar levels in your body will have to be high all the time because it’s this sugar that broken down to form energy. And as we already know, high sugar levels will then lead to high Candida levels in the body.

The second thing is that your immune system will deteriorate once your body is under stress. Once it’s weakened, your body won’t be able to form defenses against any Candida growth in your body.

Antibiotics

They are the most common cause of increased Candida levels. The importance of antibiotics shouldn’t be ignored, but unfortunately, they have adverse side effects. Yes, I know there are times that your body would need antibiotics to heal properly but sadly, most doctors often give antibiotics even for the commonest body diseases such as flu or the common cold. They don’t give much thought to them.

One particular type of antibiotics known as broad spectrum antibiotics can have serious effects on your immune and digestive systems. All that broad spectrum antibiotics does is to kill all bacteria in your body. However, as its common knowledge, not all bacteria is harmful to the body. We actually can’t live without certain types of bacteria.

A fully grown human has more than 400 different types of bacteria and more than 90 trillion single bacteria. That’s a lot. It means it’s almost impossible for us to eliminate all bacteria from our bodies.

Broad spectrum antibiotics and other various types of antibiotics kill most of these beneficial bacteria in our bodies. This eventually leads to digestive and immune systems complications. Once these bacteria are eliminated, one particular bacteria takes advantage of this. And yeah, you guessed it right, it’s the Candida Albicans. This bacteria won’t feel the pressure of fighting for space and food in your intestines. There won’t be any competition for the resources, and this would, therefore, mean that Candida will flourish and expand their colonies. There will be a surge of this bacteria leading to an imbalance in your gut.

Mercury in the tooth fillings

Some tooth fillings such as silver amalgam contain up to 40%-50% mercury which can have adverse effects on the Candida levels in the body. When you grind or brush your teeth, the fillings may dissipate in your mouth and consequently in your gut.

Once the mercury is absorbed into the bloodstream, your immune system will be weakened, and it can lead to serious health complications. One of these health problems can be Candida. After the mercury reaches your gut, it kills the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system allowing Candida to flourish.

There are no acceptable levels of mercury permitted in the body. If you have tooth fillings that contain even the smallest amounts of mercury, make an appointment with your dentist and have them replaced.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 14.46.04

Fluoride and Chloride.

Chlorine is a common chemical almost like added sugars that I have named above. It’s commonly found in drinking water. This means the water you cook with, drink, bath and wash your clothes with has this chemical. It is a powerful disinfectant that ensures the water you drink is free from all pathogens.

However, sometimes chlorine kills the useful body bacteria which might eventually lead to high Candida levels in the body. Fortunately, there are ways of reducing the amount of chlorine intake in the body. You could switch to natural friendly products for your laundry needs. Another thing you can do is install filters in the water system your household uses to ensure your body takes in fewer amounts of this chemical.

Fluoride is another chemical commonly used by toothpaste manufacturers. It’s preferred because of its disinfecting nature. It kills germs found in the mouth and sometimes some of this fluoride may kill the good bacteria leaving the Candida bacteria to flourish.

Diabetes

Diabetic people are more susceptible to Candida because diabetes leads to fluctuating blood sugar levels. When the sugar levels are high, especially for the women, the Candida bacteria will surge in the body. High Candida yeast levels can lead to body imbalance which can eventually cause health problems.

The Pill

Recent scientific research has it that Candida outbreak can be attributed to the use of the contraceptive pill. The human body is made up sensitive parts especially the stomach. To digest foods in the stomach, we need to have just the right amounts of yeasts, microorganisms, and bacteria. The right balance of these digestive chemicals is critical, but this delicate and important chemical equilibrium can be thrown off by improper hormonal balances triggered by the contraceptive pill.

Such imbalances give room for the Candida to flourish and outnumber its competitors in the digestive tract. Estrogen, commonly found in the pill leads to yeast infections.

Copper IUD is another contraceptive that leads to yeast growth in a similar manner that estrogen found in the pill. Be wary of such problems when choosing your contraceptive method.

Other common causes of Candida outgrowth include

  • Drinking lots of alcohol
  • Consuming fermented food products such as pickles and kombucha.
  • Eating diets with lots of refined carbs

Intimate scene of couple in love

Symptoms

As mentioned above, candidiasis can sometimes be misdiagnosed due to the similarity of its symptoms to other diseases. It’s also quite difficult to diagnose due to the different effects it has on people. The way it can affect me may not be necessarily the same way it will affect you.

Sometimes patients diagnose themselves because of the confusing symptoms. Due to such unclear effects, it’s a common consensus that the number of people suffering from candidiasis is way more than those who are correctly diagnosed.

Common symptoms include:

You may feel the following

Poor coordination, panic attacks, poor memory, low libido levels, insomnia, sweets and alcohol cravings, dizziness, irritability, hyperactivity, anger and bitterness, and brain fog.

The gastrointestinal tract

Itching anus, constipation, bloating, constantly burping after meals, gassiness, nausea, mucus in the stool, acid reflux, diarrhea, stomach upsets, stomach cramps, and hemorrhoids.

The skin

Hives, body odor, dermatitis, acne, eczema, athlete’s foot, fungal infections on the nails, psoriasis, and cysts.

The mouth

Tongue with cracks and thrushes, metallic mouth taste, canker sores, enlarged lower lip, bleeding gums, halitosis, and bad breath.

The respiratory system

Asthma attacks, persistent cough and sore throat, mucus in the throat, sinusitis, flu and hay fever-like symptoms, and the congestion of the sinus.

The eyes

Itchy eyes, bags under the eyes, blurred eyesight and light sensitivity.

The ears

Ear infection and ringing ears.

The urinary tract

Persistent urinary and yeast infections. Others include fungal rash, bladder inflammation and menstrual abnormalities.

The immune system

Allergies and sensitivity to particular diets or chemicals. The common cold being a little bit more frequent, and the flu.

Weight

The body retains lots of water and weight loss.

Other common symptoms include the following:

Muscle aches chronic joint pains, heartaches, and joint stiffness.

Misdiagnosis

Doctors are human, just like me, and you and they can misdiagnose Candida for some other disease due to its varying symptoms. The reason being, candidiasis can manifest itself using a combination of any of the named symptoms often leading to misdiagnosis.

Listed below are some common misdiagnoses that doctors do depending on the symptoms your body is exhibiting.

Gastroenteritis, IBS, and Crohn’s disease – Symptoms include indigestion, abdominal pains diarrhea, gas and bloating

Athlete’s foot – Fungal infection on the toenails

Arthritis – Recurring joints pains

A misdiagnosis of Candida can have adverse repercussions on your body health. To avoid such, ensure you tell your physicians all the symptoms you are feeling. Don’t leave anything behind because he may prescribe medication that may lead to Candida overgrowth.

iStock_000065759279_Small

The Healing Process

Healing from candidiasis isn’t such a long and painful process as some would imagine. There are some things listed below that you have to keep in mind as you begin the treatment plan.

First try some Detox supplements:

Diet

What should be avoided…

This is the first thing you should switch as you begin your treatment plan. There are some foods you will have to reduce so that the amounts of Candida in your body can be lowered to tolerable levels

The first being, reducing the sugar diets you consume. As I mentioned earlier in this article, sugar supports the expansion of Candida colonies so a reduction of sugars will support your healing process as the Candida will be deprived of the nutrients they require to expand. Avoid consuming candy, lots of chocolate, flours and drinking alcohol.

Consider beginning your treatment process with the cleansing of your body off Candida toxins.

Also, avoid eating fermented diets. These foods support the growth of yeast in the body leading to increased Candida. A complete elimination of such products is recommended for you to heal completely.

Reduce the amount of fresh, canned and dried fruits you consume. Fresh juice should also be reduced as it contains high amounts of natural sugars which feed Candida. However, fresh fruits have their advantages to the body, and should, therefore, be introduced in small portions when the Candida amounts in the body are in control.

Nuts such as peanuts and cashews should be reduced as they contain high amounts of mold.

Selection of dried fruits in jars

Dairy products except ghee, probiotic yogurt, kefir and butter should be avoided when healing from a Candida overgrowth. Yogurt and kefir are preferred to milk because the lactose that promotes yeast growth is eliminated during the fermentation process.

Most fish contain high levels of toxins and metallic products. These toxins and metallic products suppress the immune system which may lead to an expansion of Candida. However, fish such as sardines and wild salmons can be consumed.

Meat products especially pork should be avoided as it contains retroviruses that survive the cooking process which can be harmful to you if you have a weak digestive system. Processed meats, on the other hand, contain added sugars and sulfates which aren’t good for your body

What should be consumed…

In place of sugar, use sweeteners such xylitol and stevia. They have a lesser effect as compared to ordinary sugars, but only if necessary. I am not a big fan of sweeteners at all!

I know the foods I mentioned above are the kinds of dishes and diets you enjoy cooking at home or having at the local restaurant you like visiting with your family. So you probably think there is nothing left for you to eat. However, don’t despair as there so many other delicious foods that you can consume to ensure you live a healthy life.

Consume non-starchy vegetables and reduce complex carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, yams and pasta. Only steam, grill or eat your vegetables raw

Kefir and probiotic yogurt contain nutrients that will repopulate the good bacteria in your body and hence restore balance in your body

You can consume eggs, turkey, chicken, lamb, and beef. They should, however, be organic and fresh. Processed meats should be avoided.

For the beverages, drink licorice tea, peppermint tea, cinnamon and ginger tea as they contain useful antifungal properties.

Season your foods using sea salt, black pepper, organic raw vinegar, and apple cider.

Spices and herbs such as dill, ginger, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon contain antifungal and antioxidant properties that are great if you are suffering from a Candida overgrowth.

image1

What should be reintroduced…

Beans such as black beans and azuki beans, grains, e.g., lentils, chickpeas, split peas, navy beans, can be slowly reintroduced into the diet because they contain some antifungal advantages and fiber which are useful for those suffering from candidiasis.

Have small portions of fruits as you recover from a Candida overgrowth. Consume fruits e.g. blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries a maximum of four times a week.

Probiotics

It’s recommended that a fully grown human being should have at least a pound of bacteria in their body. Anything more would be detrimental to your system and would cause a system imbalance.

Candida is a fast growing yeast, and the main purpose of antibiotics is to kill bacteria. Certain types of antibiotics can kill useful bacteria giving room to Candida to flourish leading to an overgrowth.

Probiotics are beneficial to the body as they will help reintroduce the useful and supportive bacteria to your system. They will also crowd out the Candida colonies and ensure you have the right amount of acidity in your stomach.

Start taking your probiotics as soon as you begin your strict anti- Candida diet mentioned above. You should avoid taking them and antifungals at the same time.

They come in either powder or a capsule form. However, tablets are recommended as they will ensure the introduction of bacteria into your digestive system without too many getting destroyed in the process.

It’s also suggested you take the soil based probiotics instead of the conventional regular lactic based solutions because these organisms colonize the digestive system more efficiently and are more likely to reach the small intestine tract.

My favorite ones that I use are from: ParaGone

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.51.19
 Buy yours here today!

Anti-fungals

Anti-fungals are the last essential element of a Candida healing process. There is a variety of antifungal products you can add to your diet. Antifungals will destroy the walls of the Candida yeast and reduce the colonies in your system.

The most popular antifungal treatments include grapefruit extract and caprylic acid. Others include nystatin and eraxis.

Natural anti-fungal remedies include the following

  • Turmeric
  • Oregano Oil
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit Seeds
  • Black Walnut
  • Aloe Vera
  • Golden Seal

Cook using coconut flour instead of the standard baking flour. Coconut bread is a great substitute for the wheat bread you consume every morning as wheat bread supports the growth of yeast in the digestive system.

Coconut oil, which can be added to your cooking, is an inexpensive type of anti-fungal remedy. Take a maximum of two tablespoons of coconut oil. Consuming too much of it might lead to diarrhea and stomach cramps. Apart from inhibiting Candida growth, coconut oil is also great for your skin and hair and will enhance your immune system. Another Coconut oil benefit is that it doesn’t break down into fats when cooked at high temperatures

Coconuts And Organic Coconut Oil

Use coconut vinegar and aminos to make some delicious dressings instead of using the standard soy sauce. You can also use coconut vinegar to make marinades, as it is packed with nutrients and is also great in reducing the growth of Candida in the digestive tract.

This is it about the bad, bad, bad Candida disease! I hope this article is useful to you and you can start applying changes to your everyday diet and make a life changing progress. We all suffer from some light Candida effects and to make a detox and cleansing ones or twice a year is recommended for everyone.

With Love Your,

Grace Guru

XXX

 

Follow:

Pranayama

I would like to write about a special breathing practice, which is called Paranayama. We all know that breathing is something that we do every day, 24/7, but don’t really pay any attention to it most of the time. If I tell you what life changing benefits you can get out of Pranayama, I am sure it will make you so much interested that you will start practicing it on a daily basis.

Pranayama is made up of two words i.e. “prana” meaning breath and “yana” meaning to control or restrain. Pranayama, therefore, means to control the breath. Without breathing, we obviously can’t live. Prana is a vital element of our existence on this earth. The only thing we ought to do is take good care of this precious gift God has given us. Utilization of this energy source gifted to us is crucial to ensuring we stay a healthy and disease free lifestyle.

The benefits of pranayama can’t be underscored. There are intangible (that can’t be touched) and tangible (that can be perceived by the sense of touch) advantages.

IMG_5308-1024x768

Controlled breathing rate!

I am sure you know it already or at least heard it from your friends – Yoga is great for the mind, soul and it will also help you to control your breathing a lot. So another way to practice Paranayama is trough Yoga, it will enable you reduce your breathing rate and breathe more deeply and slowly.

But can you imagine?! With Pranayama, you can reduce your rate of breathing from 13-16 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths!

A decreased respiratory rate leads to the following

  • More oxygen will be pumped into the lungs due to the slower and deeper breaths
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relaxation of the body muscles and joints
  • Eased nerves
  • Internal organs will be relaxed leading to less wear and tear hence a healthier lifestyle

Backlight profile of a woman breathing deep fresh air in the morning sunrise isolated in white above

Increase in life

According to yoga, breathing increases longevity. The deeper and slower you respire, the longer you will live. For instance, tortoises breathe 4-5 times a minute, and they end up living more than 200 years.

Improved blood circulation

When we breathe, fresh oxygen enters our bodies, and we exhale carbon dioxide. Oxygen travels from our nostrils to our lungs and later on to the heart. Once it reaches the heart, it is pumped into the veins and arteries throughout the body. Therefore, deeper breaths lead to better blood circulation and a revitalized life.

A healthy heart

It’s common knowledge that the heart is the most conscientious organ in the body. Once it stops beating, that’s the end of life. It beats close to 101, 000 times a day. There is not a single minute it has stopped, whether you are resting or sleeping. Your life expectancy will mainly be determined by how healthy your heart is. The more oxygen you breathe, the more oxygen and blood is passed through the heart leading to the more youthful heart. The lesser oxygen you breathe, the lesser blood will be pumped through your veins and arteries leading to a weakened immune system and lower energy levels. You will feel weak, and your muscles and joints will be frail.

iStock_000065759279_Small

Benefits to the body

Pranayama will have a positive effect on various body organs such as the kidneys, abdomen, heart, pancreas, intestines, diaphragm, and the lungs.

An improved digestive. Digestive system related problems will be cured with better breathing techniques.

Reduced lethargy and improved energy levels.

With more oxygen in the blood, toxins will be removed from the body leading to a better well-being and an improved immune system. Removal of toxins and a better immune system means the onset of illnesses is easily prevented.

Improved mental health

Pranayama frees us from all forms of stress and depression related issues such as anger and lasciviousness. You will be freed from all mental conditions bad characters traits such as arrogance, egotism, and greed for the earthly possessions such as money.

Yoga is great for the mind and soul. Pranayama practice will help you feel relieved, calm, a sense of body lightness, inner peace, and better concentration. You will experience better memory, improved sleep patterns, and enhanced skills.

iStock_000039816438_Small

Enhances life quality in old age.

The world is changing, and unfortunately, we are engaging in more sedentary lifestyles. We are exercising less, walking less (because we think having a car is the most important thing to own), and spending more time on our smartphones and computers. We are becoming zombies. Living such a lifestyle will lead to your lung capacity decreasing as the lung tissues grow less elastic.

Such a lifestyle means we will have a poor quality of life in our old age. Pranayama will help improve this quality and help us live a better life when we are retired.

Old age problems that yoga will reduce include:

  • Hardened arteries which may lead to lower circulation of blood in the body
  • Rheumatism, headaches and backaches.
  • Muscle pains, stiff joints and weakened bones.
  • Pranayama will also lower the buildup of uric acid in the body which can have adverse effects such as discomfort and chronic joint pains.

iStock_000000576082_Small

Reduced stress

Once you feel stressed, your body will experience bursts of energy to counter any form of danger that may come your way. Scientifically this is known as the fight or flight effect. You will experience faster and shallow breaths which mean less oxygen will be inhaled and consequently pumped into your bloodstream.

Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline will be produced which increases the blood pressure and heart rate. However, with breathing you can be able to control all these. Deep breathing will give you a sense of calm. Your heart, mind, body, and soul will be peaceful. Deep slow breaths reverse the effects of adrenaline by stimulating the vagus nerve in the parasympathetic nerve system which lowers the heart rates and blood pressure which eventually leads to a calm mind and body.

Your emotional state will be improved with deep controlled breathing techniques. You will be less reactive to your emotions due to a relaxed spirit.

The stages of the breathing process include

Puraka known as inhalation- Here you breathe in deep and slow, and you fill your lungs with air.

Kumbhaka i.e. retention. This is the second stage where body temperatures are raised, and oxygen is absorbed into the blood stream.

Rechaka i.e. exhalation. You release the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the lungs and diaphragm return to its normal position.

Young woman enjoying coffee while lying in the bath with foam and candles

Types of Pranayama

Bhastrika

This means to bellow, i.e. produce a blast of air. Just as a bellow is used to generate lots of air, you ought to breathe in and out rapidly. To practice the Bhastrika Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position and inhale in and out while closing your mouth, expanding and contracting your chest.

Start with 10-15 breaths then increase them to 25-30 breaths. Remember inhaling deeply is the whole point of Pranayama. Retain the air in your chest for as long as you can, then slowly release the carbon dioxide.

Bhastrika Pranayama leads to

  • Reduced throat inflammation
  • Eradicates asthma
  • Destroys phlegm
  • Eliminates all diseases related to the lungs, throat and bile.

Suryabheda

Ensure you are in a comfortable position such as siddhasana. Keep your eyes shut when practicing this Pranayama. Close the left nostril and slowly inhale air through the right nostril. Once you have inhaled enough air (you should be comfortable), close the right nostril with your thumb and retain the air by pressing your jaw against your chest. Increase the rates of retention until sweat is slowly excreted from the hair roots.

Exhale slowly without producing any form of a sound through the left nostril with the right nostril is still closed using your thumb.

Benefits of Suryabheda Pranayama

  • It eliminates any decay in the body
  • It also destroys any worms in the digestive system
  • It cures illnesses such as sinusitis, rhinitis, and rheumatism
  • Suryabheda Pranayama also clears the brain and purifies it.

Ujjayi

Before beginning this Pranayama sit in the siddhasana position and keep your mouth closed at all times. Inspire slowly through both nostrils in a smooth, comfortable pace. Close your mouth once the inhaled air fills up your lungs until the end of your throat. Enlarge your chest when breathing in.

When you are inhaling, there is a weird but uniform sound that will be produced due to the partial closing of the throat. Ensure you are in a comfortable position when breathing and retaining the air in your lungs and throat. Then slowly respire through the nostrils. The best thing about Ujjayi Pranayama is that it can be performed even when during your normal day activities e.g. when at work, or even when walking.

Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama include

  • Reduces the amounts of heat in the head.
  • Removes phlegm and increases the gastric fire in the body
  • Curing of pulmonary illnesses such as asthma
  • Reduces occurrence of heart-related illnesses

Bhramari

Ensure you are in a padmasana sitting position before starting the Bhramari Pranayama. Breathe in through both nostrils and expire while making the sound of a bee. Repeat the inspiring and expiring severally until the body is soaked in perspiration.

Once you feel like you have perspired enough, inhale deeply through both nostrils and retain the air as long as you are comfortable then let out the carbon dioxide slowly through the two nostrils. You will feel calm and joyful once you are done with this procedure.

Benefits

  • When you start the process, there will be increased body temperature and consequently improved blood circulation throughout the body
  • When you conclude the process, body heat will be reduced through sweating.

Sheetkari

This Pranayama is a little different from others as it involves folding the tongue till it touches the upper part of the mouth. Once you do that, inhale through your mouth while making a hissing sound. Ensure you are comfortable while inhaling, then respire slowly through the two nostrils.

You can choose to keep the upper and lower jaws in contact when breathing in and repeat that process severally.

Benefits include

  • It boosts robustness and beauty. You will be full of strength and life
  • Eliminating problems such as insomnia, hunger, sluggishness, and dehydration.

Sheetali

Sit in a comfortable position. Stick out your tongue straight and fold it like a tube. Then inhale air through the mouth while making a weird but uniform hissing sound. Expand your lungs and retain the air as much as you can. Relax a little bit, then respire the carbon dioxide slowly through the right and left nostrils.

Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama include

    • Blood purity. Your blood and circulatory system will be pure and toxic waste will be exhaled.
    • Quenching of thirst. You will feel better and rehydrated
    • This practice also reduces the hunger pangs and cools the body.

Plavini

The Plavini Pranayama is unique as it involves drinking air from the mouth to the stomach like water. ‘Drink’ the air until the stomach is ballooned a bit. You have to hear some hollow sound when you tap your stomach.

Practice the said procedure slowly. Once you have practiced enough, allow air out. Belch out the air repeatedly.

Benefits

  • Those who have perfected this Pranayama can float for lots of hours on water
  • Persons with this skill can stay without food for several days

Anulom-Vilom

Sit in a comfortable position. Use your right thumb to seal the right nostril and inspire using the left nostril. Breathe in the air to the lungs and not the stomach. Seal the left nostril and expire using the right nostril. Do the said procedure repeatedly.

Then close the left nostril and inspire through the right nostril. Seal the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat those steps severally.

Anulom-Vilom Pranayama leads to

    • Stable body temperatures
    • Lengthens life
    • Reduces stress
    • Removal of toxins from the body
    • Better blood circulation

Chandrabhedan

Sit in a comfortable position on the floor. Your shoulders should be straight and relaxed, and the back should be upright. Seal your right nostril with the right thumb and inspire through the left nostril. Ensure you are comfortable when inhaling to the lungs. Seal the left nostril using your right-hand index finger and exhale through the right nostril.

Repeat the procedure above for 15-20 times.

Benefits include

  • Curing heartburns
  • Stabilizes the body’s temperatures
  • Cooling the body

It’s important to note that this Pranayama shouldn’t be practiced by people who suffer from low blood pressure. It should also be done only during the summer and not any other season.

Pranayama for Children

So now that you have learned the most popular Pranayama techniques, how do you go about teaching your kids such methods of cleansing the body and living a healthy lifestyle?

Pranayama helps children find inner peace and harmony. Pranayama will uplift their moods and spirit; they will learn how to deal better with nerve-wracking or anxious situations. Practicing such yoga techniques is fun.

Steam Train Method

This is particularly popular with baby class or prekindergarten kids. The first step is to sit in a comfortable position such as a crossed- legged position. Instruct them to seal their nostrils using the upper lip. Then, breathe in through the nose forcing the inhalation to sound like a steaming train.

Gradually speed up the breathing in and out. This particular Pranayama method is critical as it calms the minds of the kids and betters blood circulation in the body.

Dragon Breath Technique

This is another popular Pranayama method for children. It’s slightly different from the steam train method because it involves letting out the toxic carbon dioxide to the universe. The mouth should be kept wide open, and exhaled gas let out to the universe.

The first step is to be in a kneeling position. Instruct them to should raise their hands in the air and outstretch their fingers. Inhale through the nose slowly until the lungs are filled with air. When exhaling, the kids should stretch their arms in front and exhale through the mouth. It’s an entertaining process, and I’m also pretty sure the kids would have fun pretending they are a dragon.

With the hand and fingers movements, the kids are stretching and relaxing their upper body.

 

The Mantra

Using a mantra in the form of a poem, encourage the children to breathe in and out. A mantra will help them improve their concentration, cleanse their bodies and enhance awareness. A chosen mantra should be something that will uplift, calm or empower the kids.

Reciting loudly or quietly, the kids can recite the mantra below.

There (inhale) is (exhale)

Nothing (inhale) that (exhale)

Can (inhale) stop (exhale)

Me (inhale) from (exhale)

Accomplishing (inhale)

My dreams (exhale)

The three named Pranayama for kids can be practiced by kids who are up to the age of 18. They can be used as a good base for teaching the more complex Pranayama techniques such as Chandrabhedan, Anulom-Vilom, Plavini, Sheetali, and Sheetkari et al. They are great for the mind, body and soul. They can be particularly useful for the children who suffer from anxiety issues, and stress related problems such as depression.

They can be performed during any season the year or whichever time of the day or night. Encourage your kids or younger siblings to practice Pranayama for kids as there is no other perfect gift – blissful moment – you can give your child or younger sibling(s).

 

With love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

Follow:

Keys To Lasting Happiness In Life!

According to Vedanta philosophy, there are two categories of happiness. The first type of happiness is the one that is a result of things turning out the way we want them to be. For example, we can say we are happy because of our friends, family or even children. We are happy because of certain resources that are affecting us, resources that can be taken any time e.g. they aren’t permanent by nature – You could lose your job or wife, so reasons for this type of happiness can be lost any time.

The second category of happiness isn’t as a result of something we achieve or something we do but  it’s a state of being. It doesn’t depend on the outer circumstances or our moods. As a result of this state our inner self tends to become calm and exuberant. Pure joy, in this case, is a result of a connection in our deepest state of unbound awareness.

iStock_000073401961_Small

Listed below are keys that will ensure lasting happiness in your life.

  1. Listen to your body’s behaviour and needs…

What are you comfortable doing and what are you not comfortable doing? When you are undertaking a task, ask yourself, “Do I like doing this?” If your body displays signs of distress and agony or anguish don’t proceed with the work. However, if you feel comfortable and eager to do the chore, please continue. Know what you love doing and what you detest doing then follow what your body says.

  1. Pay the most attention to the present…

Live and enjoy the present and always keep in mind it’s the only time you have. Accept what comes your way, maximize whatever it is and learn from it. Keep attention to what is on the table at the moment. The infinite laws of nature should be left the way they are, and life should be enjoyed to the fullest the way it is. The present is the way it is. The current moment is as it is because the world and universe are at is.

Ignore what others have to say about you. People may say all sorts of things because of how you look, the way you dress but you should ignore all the negative comments. Discover the infinite possibilities that you have on your hands. Look at life positively.

  1. Eat healthy…

Avoid alcohol and other fermented foods. Expose your body to safe and clean environments, nourishing foods, and happy and comforting experiences. Consider your life to be a life support system. It is like a transport system that will take you to where you desire to be. For you to arrive safely at a particular place, you need a road worthy vehicle. The same way, you should keep your body healthy. Avoid contaminating your body with toxins such as cigarettes, or liquor. Desist from alcoholic drinks. The human body is made up of cells that contribute to the state of comfort and well-being. Therefore, keep every single cell in your body in its purest form.

Healthy smoothie - banana-vanilla, pomegranate and orange, spinach and herbs

  1. According to psychology, the natural state of us humans is a state of love. Fear, hate and distress counter the state of love…

You should, therefore, build a “wall” that will shield all the hate and negative statements from your family and friends. Take part in undertakings that will have a positive impact in your life such as team building exercises. Take any fears you have and come up with ways of countering them with compassion and love. Instead of fearing exams, why don’t you study hard and work hard for them so that you won’t have to fear the outcome of the results. Once you read and revise, you will be happy when you receive your results. You can face threats because your inner self is invulnerable and impenetrable to fear.

  1. Create time for meditation and relaxation of the mind…

Meditation can be explained as the gateway to high levels of self-awareness, linking the mind to our inner power and eventually to self-worth. Look for space and release your feelings, breathe in the clean air, and discover your inner happiness and peace. You could start short e.g. with a ten-minute meditation either by listening to calming music or just relaxing over something that works for you. You could eventually lengthen the time you meditate by staying for longer periods every week.

How about you start each meditation session with a short prayer. Don’t ask for stuff, instead, connect your higher self and your source of light. Make it a habit, a daily practice. Pay a lot of attention to your inner life and shun external interpretations that aren’t good for you such as animosity and deception.

handsome couple practicing meditation exercises on the beach at sunset

  1. Find a place in your heart to forgive…

Avoid reacting to opposition or anger with hatred, because through that, you will stressing yourself. You will make things worse because you will end up filling up your heart with disgust, and you will end up being furious. How about, you relinquish your anger as, through that, you will be cooperating with the universe flow of peace and tranquility.

  1. Show me who are your acquaintances and I will describe your character…

Such are wise words that we should always remember so as to remain happy. Your world “out there”, replicates your reality “in here”. Persons who you react with abhorrence and revulsion project your inner world. Be nice to those close to you. Whatever you love and care about most is what you wish for yourself. If you love someone and care about them, it means you would want the same for yourself. The key objective here is self-knowledge.

What Will Affect A Peaceful Mind?

  1. Special attachment is dangerous…

What we all call love is nothing but special attachment to someone or something. Such kind of attachment isn’t recommended.

If there is love, I will be at your service. Whatever you need, I will provide.

If there is attachment, I will look at you and ask myself, “What kind of service do you provide?”

One partner states: I deserve this because I married you.

The other half says: I deserve this because I married you.

This form of special treatment often passes off as love, because both the husband and the wife think that life is all about rights and not duties.

Affection + Egotism = Attachment | Attachment – Egotism = Affection.

Understand the statements written above. I don’t dispute love and its existence. I am just a firm believer that attachment isn’t something that should be approved.

Attachment is all about how many times you will see your partner and, therefore, there is no space for anything to blossom between the two of you. With love, you are open with each other, and there is a chance for discovery of new things between you two. Just like when flowers bloom during the spring season, your relationship will blossom, and you will be happy when there is love.

Intimate scene of couple in love

  1. Control your desires…

Uncontrolled feelings and desires cause mayhem. We are humans, and as humans, we can’t live without desires, needs and wants. However, the tricky part is, can we control our feelings? What happens once we let our emotions rage?

Feelings can be uncomfortable at times. Controlling what you feel doesn’t necessarily mean repressing or ignoring them all together. It means keeping them in check, the same way that thermostat keeps the room temperatures in your house in check. Doing so will help you become emotionally stable as well as bettering your health.

The best way of keeping your emotions in check is to focus more on your physical senses. For instance, is your heart beat rate faster? How are muscles behaving? Are they tense or tightened? Is your breathing shallow or rapid?

Acknowledge your emotions instead of suppressing them. Once you know they are there e.g. sweaty palms, and a faster heartbeat, you will be able to relax and heed what your body is communicating.

If you have heightened muscles, you could try PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). PMR will enable you to identify any muscular tension in your body

Look for a quiet and relaxing environment and calm down. Relax for about 10-20 minutes.

Ensure you are always comfortable. Wear clothes that you like. Try to wear loose fitting clothes. Cleansing and deep breaths will help calm your mind and muscles.

Curl your toes as tight as you can for 5-10 seconds. Relax your muscles for around 20 seconds, and then move to the other foot. Do the same for all the other muscles in your body including those on your stomach, buttocks, lips, eyes, forehead, upper arms, hands, hips, thighs, feet and the forehead.

If you are always working, or if you are always busy, focus on the facial muscles. Engaging in such activities will help you relieve any stress you may have.

You could use visualization methods to relax. Picture yourself in a safe place. That place should be soothing and relaxing. That calm place could be quietest park you know, your bedroom, the spa, your worship place, or the beach. Create as much detail as you can. What do you smell, hear, feel, or touch?

You could imagine yourself as that pebble that’s thrown in the ocean. The pebble will drift away as the waves rise. Picture your problems to be that pebble. Imagine all that negativity, hate and animosity are drifting away just like a pebble. Comforting, isn’t it?

Young woman enjoying coffee while lying in the bath with foam and candles

Visualization often seems weird in the beginning, but once you practice it, you will find it normal and comforting.

  1. What do you operate on? If they are likes or dislikes, be ready for consequences… 

We are all unique in different ways. What I desire, might not be what you desire. For instance, a person might find pleasure in smoking, but another guy might not stand it. Some guy may look forward to selling his condo; another, on the other hand, can’t wait to buy it. Such happens everywhere.

What might be happy for someone may end up being sad and sorrowful for another. Therefore, it’s not a being or thing but how you relate and share with it. It’s not the external world that wrecks your peace but rather how you relate to it.

When you are operating on the mind level, it’s all about what you like and dislike and that is dangerous. For example, if you go to a certain country, and you find whatever food you like isn’t part of the menu, so what next? You will end up furious. And that will dent on the level of happiness you intend to achieve.

You should, therefore, operate on the intellect level instead of likes and dislikes as that will help you choose the correct path.

Double exposure portrait of a woman combined with photograph of nature

  1. The mind has a tendency of wandering…

Sometimes the mind rambles when you are talking to someone. It’s a little bit tough to concentrate 100%, even if you really want to. Lots of things are always running through our minds. The haunting past, anxieties about the future often affects our concentration.

Such worries tire us and tire our minds. Take time off and relax.

Avoid working on the weekends. Relax your mind, take a walk at the beach or spend your Saturday at the park. Children are most of the time happy. You have ever asked yourself why? Because they never worry about the past or future. Their minds are always relaxed and therefore, they are always joyful and happy.

Once You Change, You Will Be Able To Change The World!     

Be the change that you want to see on the planet. Do things that you would want to see happen on the earth. If you decide to change your thoughts, your actions, the world around you will change.

View your environment with new lenses. I know everyone would like to see a clean and airy environment free from all filth and waste from non-biodegradable goods. I know you love it when the air is clean. Since you like it that way, then why would you want to engage in practices that will be detrimental to the environment such as unclean energy sources e.g. coal energy. Isn’t that going against what you would want the world to be? If you want a clean earth, green, use clean energy sources such as solar power. Avoid littering the environment. The main problem of changing the world without changing yourself is that you will still be you even after you change the environment that you dwell in. With all your negativity, hatred and flaws, you will stain the world with your sabotaging tendencies.

With you being in such kind of situation, you will not achieve whatever you intended because your mind is full of all that negativity.

Avoid spending so much time on other people’s mistakes e.g. “I wish he didn’t walk like that”, “I wish he didn’t drink that beer” Sometimes we end up forcing our closest friends or family members to change. The truth of the matter is, it’s a little bit challenging to change a person for who he or she is.

Instead, be an example, a beacon of hope. If you wish your spouse to be more positive, allow your positivism to permeate your relationship.    

beautiful girl enjoying the summer sun outdoors in the park                                                                    

 With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

 

Follow: