Reflexology Eases Cancer Symptoms

Foot massage. (Credit: © Vladimir Sazonov / Fotolia)

Just in from Science Daily:

Reflexology: Ancient Foot Massage Technique May Ease Cancer Symptoms

ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2012) — A study led by a Michigan State University researcher offers the strongest evidence yet that reflexology -- a type of specialized foot massage practiced since the age of pharaohs -- can help cancer patients manage their symptoms and perform daily tasks...

"It's always been assumed that it's a nice comfort measure, but to this point we really have not, in a rigorous way, documented the benefits," Wyatt said. "This is the first step toward moving a complementary therapy from fringe care to mainstream care." 

...They found that those in the reflexology group experienced significantly less shortness of breath, a common symptom in breast cancer patients. Perhaps as a result of their improved breathing, they also were better able to perform daily tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs, getting dressed or going grocery shopping.

Mindful Breathing

Here is a great Pilates breathing exercise. Watch the video below to see how:

From Pilates: Breathing:

Learning how to breathe properly in Pilates is one of the keys to easier and more fluid exercise. It increases the flow of oxygen to the blood and also aids in focus and concentration.

Mindful Eating and Weight Loss

Here is a great excerpt from a thoughtful and brilliant article by Dr. Mark Hyman

.... The next time you eat, ask yourself if you are about to eat under stress.  Note how you feel by checking in with your breath- is it shallow or deep? Get in touch with your heart rate and see if you can find a way to use your breath to slow it down and relax your pulse.
Is your mind racing and do you have stressful thoughts running it?  Are you excited about your food or are you feeling guilty or concerned about what is in front of you? Do you feel calm or restless?
All of these questions are the beginning of embarking on an understanding of how you relate to food.  The funny thing is, how we each relate to food tells us a lot about how we approach life and what we want out of it.  The next time you catch yourself eating under stress, follow these guidelines:
  1. Start each meal with 3 deep belly breaths.  For a thorough explanation on how to calm your mind and relax your body please check out my article on meditation.
  2. Observe your thoughts about yourself and the food you are about to eat.  Remember, judging your food as good or bad essentially begs the idea that you too are either good or bad.  While a diet based on whole, fresh, real, organic, local and seasonal foods is best, there will be times when you will want a treat, a “recreational food” or you will be offered a food you may think of as “bad.”  Imagine the difference in digestion you would experience if the next time you ate your favorite foodor any food under a relaxed state where you savored each bite and didn’t have to rush through it out of guilt, worry, or self doubt about willpower! I’d rather see you eat all food under the optimal state of digestion and absorption so that you best metabolize and utilize your nutrients.
  3. When you eat, do so with willing attention toward your food.  In fact, do as my friend Marc David suggests and eatsoulfully, not just mindfully. Marc runs the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.  Learn more about this unique style of nutrition. Soulful eating allows you a whole-body experience that celebrates your innate desire to seek pleasure from foodand not stop until you receive the right amount.  Mentally and soulfully reap nourishment from your food before, during and even after your meal by doing this:
    .  Savor the flavor: Notice the texture and aroma of each bite to get the most flavor. Is it sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy, sour, bitter, or smooth?
    .  Observe: Notice your body – is your belly gurgling with hunger?  Or are you completely
    stuffed?  Are you stressed or calm and what could you do in that moment to increase relaxation?
    .  Be Present: Sit down while you eat, turn off all media or keep it in another room and simply eat while you are eating-nothing else!
    .  Resist Judgment: Let go of the urge to engage in negative self-talk and eat with compassion, respect, and gratitude toward your body. Notice when “should” or rigid rules pop into your mind and be aware of any guilt that comes up for you around certain foods.  Now is not the time to criticize-now is the time to calm your mind, slow the chatter and be present in your body.
    .  Awareness: Notice the difference the next time you drift off during a meal.  Bring yourself back to the moment and tasteeach bite. Maximize your pleasure!

Ashtanga Yoga Postures – are they really yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga Postures – are they really yoga?
By: Yogacharya

I did a Google Search for “ashtanga yoga postures” today, just to see what will come up. All ten first-page results gave me exactly what I didn’t want … It gave me websites about the wrong ashtanga yoga.

There’s more than one Ashtanga yoga?

No, not really … but in recent times the word “ashtanga” has been attached to a dynamic system of yoga-based exercises … and it’s become so popular that it has literally taken over the word ashtanga yoga as its own, leaving many practitioners of the traditional system of ashtanga yoga baffled and dismayed.

To them, yoga is a sacred, disciplined, eight-limbed science for personal development and inner transformation … a system that includes much more than what is utilized in the newer, fitness centered pop-ashtanga version.

To learn more about the 8 parts of yoga, Click Here ...

How Strong Are Your 8 Limbs?

You may have heard about the first 2 limbs of yoga, the yamas and niyamas … those pesky morals and ethics that the yogis always seem to keep harping on. Really though, we all know how to be a good person, so what’s the big deal?

Unless you’re from Mars, then you know about the third limb … asana. That’s the cream of yoga for us body obsessed Westerners … and of course, who wouldn’t want to look as young as Madonna in their 50s?

The fourth limb you probably know too. It’s that monotonous breathing they call pranayama (like that exotic word is supposed to make it more interesting?). I already ready know how to breathe, don’t you?

But after that, things start to get vague for most of us.

Can you even name limbs five through eight? Don’t feel bad if you can’t, even most yoga teachers today don’t have much to say about them, let alone teach about them. Which is why modern yoga really is more like “yoga preschool” than “yoga college.”

It’s in the last four stages is where yoga really begins. That’s what all the classic literature on yoga says and any real Guru (not the kind with a fake beard and moustache) would agree.
What’s the point of the first four limbs then?

We all know the saying, “you need to crawl before you can walk.” The first four limbs are “yoga crawling” so to speak … preparation for the higher stages. But one of the biggest yoga delusions people have is thinking that, because they can contort their body into all sorts of extreme positions, they are “advanced” in yoga.

The ashtanga yoga postures are indeed great tools for improving and maintaining our physical health. They even help ground us a lot on the mental and emotional levels too. But transforming from someone who is deeply attached to their possessions, emotional dramas and relationships in this world, into someone who is able to detach from all these things and experience the real joy of being part of this miracle of life, requires a journey to the higher yoga mountain peak.

If we don’t want to go there, then perhaps our yoga teachers haven’t done a good enough job to inspire us … to let us know what we’re missing, and why we need to set our sites a little higher. If we don’t outgrow our attachment to the Ashtanga yoga poses, then we’ll be stuck in that land of preparation forever. The question is, what exactly are we preparing for?

For online lessons in Traditional Ashtanga Yoga, Click Here ...

Yogacharya is the Director of International Yogalayam, Editor of The Yoga News, and creator of The Yoga Tutor, a step-by-step online yoga training website.

For your FREE TRIAL of The Yoga Tutor, visit

© Copyright – Yogacharya. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. You may freely republish this article, provided the text, author credit, the active links and this copyright notice remain intact.

TAGS: Ashtanga Yoga Postures, Astanga Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga Poses, 8 Limbs of Yoga

Guided & Easy Self Hypnosis

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Load it on your iPod and increase the joy in your life!

Number 13 and Spiraling Ascension

I've always liked the number 13. Even more so since my daughter was born on the 13th.

I've come to learn that the number 13 signifies a spiral. Twelve (12) signifies the "vicious" circle that begins where it ends, repeating upon itself (like the "clock"). 

But thirteen is the next step up, that creates the spiral. I read this years ago in Wise Woman traditions... it was in these wise women (witch hunt days) tradition where 13 was regarded as the spiraling ascension of seemingly magic, and hence the number 13 was cursed, like these wise women witches, as an unlucky number. 

It seems that 2012, with all the data, myths, science, and speculation signifies something very important... the end of a vicious circle, hence 12. And 2013 will dawn the ascension of that the spiral to its next step. 

Check out these amazing videos of our solar system and galactic spiraling. It sure puts a new spin on our perception of things.

Reflexology for Insomnia and Better Sleep

I've had a lot of requests on how reflexology (and other things) can help insomnia and other irregular sleep patterns.  I've put together a foot and ear reflexology map for you to explore.

First let's explore the foot map. This map is pretty general as it covers a lot of different points. Before going to bed each night sit upright with your foot in your lap (if you can do this). With your thumb, deeply press in and walk your thumb on the large plantar pad of your big toe. Work deeply for at least 1 - 3 minutes on each of the big toes. Also work on the 2nd toe for a minute. The toe points will work your head, brain, pituitary, and pineal gland reflexes... all important to balance for a good night's sleep.

If you can't reach the bottom of your toe, have someone else help you. If that isn't an option, find a firm, (not to sharp) solid corner of a wooden coffee table and press the plantar pad of your large toe on it for a few minutes.

Next walk your thumb along the inner (medial) edge of each foot (one at a time). This is your spinal reflexes, which will help balance your body systems.

Now you can either continue to walk your thumb in the rest of the purple areas marked in the picture (along the ball and arch of each foot), or you can now take a high-bounce rubber ball and stand up and very slowly step on the ball. Once the ball is deep in the muscle of the sole of your foot, slowly roll your foot backward and forward to deeply work these points. Five minutes on each foot will be great. This works your heart, adrenals, solar plexus, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, stomach, intestines, and all your abdominal organs. It also relaxes the muscles on your plantar foot, which in turn, radiate up the back of your legs, lower and upper back, and neck. Relaxing these muscles also helps aid sleep, especially when muscle tension is part of the culprit.

Next, let's take a look at this ear reflexology map. (This information is from Terry Oleson's Auriculotherapy Manual).

The main points to work are the non-blue areas. If you want extra support, then do the secondary blue points.

How to work the Ear Points: Either before or while you lie down to bed each night, hold these points either between your fingers or pressing on them with your finger tip for a minute or so on each point. Personally, I like to end with the Zero Point for at least 5 minutes. Keep in mind to keep your body, arms and hands as relaxed as you can while holding these points. If you are lying down, make sure your elbows are supported properly with any pillows or support they may need. If you want to work on these points prior to lying down, sit at a table and prop your elbows on the table while resting your head in the palm of your hands while your finger tips reach your ears to press on the points.

Other things that may be able to improve your sleep are:

  1. Be active during the day. Get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day.
  2.  Eliminate caffeine. If you absolutely won't give it up, at least give it up after 12 noon. This includes tea and chocolate.
  3. Avoid alcohol. 
  4. Do yoga before bed. Do some calm, slow yoga with special breathing techniques, in a very dim lit room prior to bed. This relaxes your body AND your mind.
  5. Keep your environment stimulant free at least an hour before bed. This means lower the lights, turn off the computers, tv's, cell phones, and other electronic gadgets.
  6. Eat a diet that is mostly plant-based, especially eating a lot of dark greens like kale, broccoli, and spinach. 
  7. Create a regular bedtime and wake up time.
  8. Do the Hook Up. Donna Eden in her book "Energy Medicine" gives us this great exercise. While in bed, press down your belly button with the middle finger of one hand and with the middle finger of the other hand press and hold above the bridge of your nose between your eyebrows.  Breath in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth for at least 20 seconds. (I like to do this for a few minutes). This creates a connection between your central meridian (which sends energy up the front of your body) and the governing meridian (which sends energy up your spine). 
  9. Keep your body temperature comfortable. Being either too hot or too cold will make going and staying asleep hard to accomplish. If your feet or too cold or too hot, the same thing happens. 
  10. These are some great books to help calm the mind and create a heart-based peace.
    The Genie Within by Harry Carpenter
    and The Heart Math Solution by Doc Lew Childre
I hope this has been helpful!  Wishing you a great night's sleep!!!