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9 Effective Tips to Manage Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain is basically any pain that has a duration of 3-6 months and could extend much further. A popular alternative definition for chronic pain states: involving no arbitrarily fixed duration. It is “pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing”.

Epidemiological studies have found that 10.1% to 55.2% of people in various countries live their lives trying to manage their chronic pain.

I’ve recently dealt with a 2 year battle of sciatic nerve pain stemming from a pinched nerve caused by my L5/S1 disc herniating out onto my sciatic nerve, sending shooting, searing hot, cripplingly demoralizing pain from my lower back all the way down my right leg, leaving me all but bedridden.

Obviously, there are different levels, degrees, and types of pain. Out of all the different types that I’ve experienced in my life, including birthing labor pains, this was the worst!

Unfortunately, western medicine usually treats the symptoms of the issue but rarely delves into dealing with the root of the issue.

There is a common practice in western medicine to treat pain with opiates, which has caused an opiate epidemic. Opiates are highly addictive, causing internal damage to otherwise healthy organs and they don’t actually fix the root issue. In my experience, I have found one medical professional after the next that wanted to prescribe pain meds but did not have a lot to offer in the way of getting to the root of my issue. While you’re experiencing chronic pain, it can be a daunting and painful challenge just getting to and from doctors offices, having imaging done and getting little to no answers, only to leave with yet another prescription that can only barely alleviate the pain.

This journey took me on an in-depth discovery of myself, the medical community, and ways to effectively manage chronic pain. I’m going to share with you a recipe of practices that I created for myself to manage my pain.

1. Stay Away from Opiates

I myself chose not to take opiates to relieve my pain. I did not want to add insult to injury and create yet even more illness from taking addictive pain meds.

Opiates include a variety of drugs ranging from legal drugs such as fentanyl, codeine, and morphine, to illegal drugs such as heroin. The one thing they all have in common is the ability to depress or slow down the body’s central nervous system.

There are three classifications of opiates:

The first group contains naturally occurring opium derivatives including morphine.

The second group contains partially synthetic derivatives of morphine, called opioid drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.

The third group contains synthetic compounds like Fentanyl, alfentanil, levorphanol, Meperidine, methadone, codeine, and Propoxyphene.

These drugs only mask the root of the issue, they have harmful side effects, and will NOT cure the root cause.

Pain is your bodies way of communicating with you and where you need to focus your attention. It’s an alarm to get you to the root of the problem.

Opiate usage can dull and numb the senses, keep you unaware of your true pain levels and how to manage it.

If you do have to take them, moderate and minimize: use only when the pain is unbearable.

Instead, I chose pharmaceutical grade THC and CBD oils and tinctures that do not have addictive qualities. Thankfully there has been a surge of new information surrounding medical cannabis, CBD oils, and tinctures along with passionate individuals and companies that are creating effective and safe ratios to treat and relieve chronic pain and inflammation.

2. Meditation and Affirmations

Meditation is one of the most important practices that you can learn to assist you in bringing the intensity of your pain down, to calm the nervous system, and to center yourself.

A calm mind is a powerful pain reliever.

calm mind Angela Fitts Image

For more in-depth information on how to begin your practice of meditation read Katya’s article “Meditations For Beginners: Best Ways To Start Your Practice”

Learning to breathe into your pain, to let go and surrender, will be one of your best tools.

It takes presence, courage, commitment, and consistency to evolve your practice, but you will notice a big difference in your ability to manage your pain.

Daily affirmations of healing are a must.

Visualize and verbalize your vibrant health. Only speak healing words into yourself, speak as if you are already healed. See yourself doing the things you want to do, and adopt a belief that it’s on the way.

Discouragement will come up a lot when you’re feeling awful and experiencing debilitating pain, so you have to be disciplined in your desire to heal.

Allow yourself to feel discouraged as you should, considering the pain, but don’t wallow in it. Be willing to pick yourself back up and move forward.

A wonderful book on healing is “You can Heal your Life” by Louise Hay.

Louise Hay Book Image

3. Take the Initiative

What exactly does this mean? It means not leaving the responsibility of your healing and health in the hands of medical practitioners. You have to take control of your destiny, of your healing, of your well being. No one is going to come and wave a magic wand and end the misery. You have to dig yourself out.

You are alone with your pain, people can love and be supportive in your journey but it’s you who has to endure and manage your pain. You have to will yourself healthy, you have to do the “work” if that means physical therapy, show up EVERY single time, even when you don’t feel like it. Even if that means minimizing your activity and resting, do it. If that means eating healthy foods to assist your body in healing, give up the junk. And if that means asking and allowing others to care for you, be vulnerable and ask. It’s about balancing your inner will to heal and your outer practical steps towards that healing.

One thing about being in long extended periods of pain with limited mobility, you will have to become comfortable being vulnerable.

Don’t expect anyone to make it better for you, make it better for yourself!

4. Diet, Mobility, and Exercise

Our bodies are divinely created to endure immense levels of trauma and injury. With that being said, it’s vital to feed yourself the proper nutrition to aid in your healing. Hydration is number one, and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the cause for the majority of health issues today. Drink at least an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. Make sure you are choosy about your water quality and the container that holds your water. Glass being the ideal receptacle and make sure you are praying into your water. Water has consciousness and responds to your positive intentions. Positive intentions spoken into your food and water changes the molecular makeup.

For more education on this see Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work. Here’s a snippet of an experiment where he proves this.

Eat live, fresh, organically sourced food. Lots of green foods, which are filled with chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is a green pigment present in plants which facilitates the absorbtion of light from the sun. Consuming chlorophyll from vegetal sources can help with blood detoxification, boosts energy naturally, fights fatigue and assists in the prevention of cancer.

Eat foods that will support your vital life force energy: veggies, fruits, live, whole organic foods.

flower salad image

Try to avoid dairy products, which increase inflammation in the body.

Avoid caffeine. Caffeine exhausts the nervous system and can decrease your pain threshold, making the nervous system more alert to pain.

Take supplements!

Do the research, expand your knowledge, seek alternative methods and be consistent.

A few really good ones to mention are Curamin: a combination of curcumin (It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, a member of the ginger family) and boswellia (also known as Indian Frankincense. Resin made from boswellia extract has been used for centuries in Asian and African folk medicine. It’s believed to treat chronic inflammatory illnesses, as well as a number of other health conditions). When curcumin and boswellia are combined, the boswellia increases the absorption rate of the anti-inflammatory compounds in the curcumin.

Most illness and pain is derived from inflammation in the body.

Magnesium is vital even if you are not suffering from chronic pain, but especially when you are experiencing high levels of inflammation. Magnesium is a powerful pain-relieving mineral. In fact, some researchers believe this mineral holds the key to resolving many types of chronic pain and most people are deficient in magnesium.

In the body, magnesium converts vitamin D, which the body needs to take advantage of bone-strengthening calcium – into a form that it can use efficiently.

Be as active as you can be, without adding extra pain to yourself. Movement will be your friend. Even if it’s difficult and painful, movement is a huge step forward from staying stagnant and sedentary.

Even small attempts towards keeping active will be beneficial.

5. Salt Bath’s

Angela Fitts Salt Bath Image

I can’t say enough about this wonderful, easy practice. During my intense period of chronic pain, I literally took 2-3 hot, Epsom salt baths a day! First off it takes the weight of gravity off and allows you to relax your muscles. The salt pulls out toxins and the heat aides in pure relaxation and lightens muscle tension. My baths meant everything to me. They help soothe tremendously.

6. Use Alternative, Holistic Pain Therapies

We are so fortunate to have access to alternative health practitioners: massage, essential oils, acupuncture, reiki, sound healing, network spinal analysis (Gentle precise touch to the spine cues the brain to create new wellness promoting strategies).

Create a cocktail of alternative and conventional care that is personalized and geared toward your health condition. Be open to researching and seeking out qualified practitioners that can assist in your journey to healing.

Conventional medicine is a wonderful and life-saving resource, not to be discounted by any means. Using discernment when to move forward in exploring alternative options is key. Or vice versa knowing when to seek conventional medicine when alternative options you’ve sought aren’t providing long-term relief.

We’ve created so much resistance around the word “alternative” because somehow that translates to negating traditional medical practices. I found that it’s vital to be open, educated and willing to explore and experiment with newer therapies available. When you are suffering debilitating chronic pain and illness you have to be willing to try. When you’ve exhausted traditional western medicine and it isn’t helping, you have to be willing to expand your own practice, remove resistances and actively seek those who are truly informed about “alternative” therapy and healing modalities.

There is most certainly a need to use discernment, same thing in the case of exhausting alternative therapies you need to know when it’s time to seek conventional medicine.

I tried to heal myself naturally first through noninvasive practices, but as time went on I sought out a neurosurgeon and turns out I did indeed need surgery to fix my injury. I don’t regret the path I took at all, the organic, alternative therapies I did in the interim were not in vain. It kept me physically strong and prepared me for surgery and allowed me a speedy recovery. I believe surgery should always be a last resort.

7. Be your own Cheerleader

Be your own Cheerleader Image

When experiencing day in and day out extreme pain you have to become your own best friend, your own cheerleader and your own voice of encouragement.

It’s wonderful to have family and friends encouraging you and sending beautiful blessings and intentions, but unfortunately, when you’re dealing with chronic pain specifically, you will find that most of your time is spent alone. You’re going to have to find that inner voice that speaks loudly to your healing and well being.

You will cry, you will ache, you will feel like giving up, you will be confused, you will be exhausted, you will be discouraged, you will be in agony and you will be enraged and every single expression is worthy of being felt and heard.

You mustn’t suppress any of it. When you’re done feeling it, let it pass and move into being proactive about healing.

Look at others powerful testimonies of healing to encourage you. Surround yourself with pleasant things, stay as active as you can, fill your time with positive reading, and reflections. Get to know yourself, enjoy your own company. Find healthy outlets to keep your mind occupied: writing, reading, researching, crafts, arts, music, whatever your personal interests are.

8. Practice Gratitude and Compassion towards yourself

Gratitude Compassion Practice Image

Practicing daily gratitude is essential. When you are experiencing intense pain, it’s not going be easy to practice. Even on your worst days it’s more important than ever to stay mindful, and saturate yourself in gratitude, this is going to lift your mood, remind you of all the blessings you still have and that you will eventually heal and it keeps your heart open and content.

Taking a huge dose of gratitude the moment you wake up every morning will affirm your vibration and transmute victim mentality. Be gentle, loving, soft, nurturing and compassionate with yourself, don’t wait for others to give you this, do it for yourself.

9. Get as much quality sleep as possible

Sleeping is essential to healing. When you’re in extreme pain, it’s very difficult to sleep. Drink chamomile tea before bed, take a hot bath with lavender oil, take melatonin, make sure your bedding is always clean and that you have proper pillows and body alignment for sleeping.

Wear comfortable sleepwear or sleep nude for optimal sleep. Do breathing exercises before bed to calm the nervous system. Make sure your room is dark, light can be disruptive. Turn off all gadgets ie: tv, phones, computers, and tablets. Hope for a better tomorrow and be grateful you got through your day.

The Bottom Line

Healing is not linear, some days will be better than others. Try not to get discouraged on the tougher days, know that better days are ahead of you.

You can heal, you can manage your pain without becoming addicted to harmful drugs and you can be your own advocate, it’s all about not giving over your power solely to the medical community. Your healing is your responsibility and that should empower you.

Happy healing, I hope these tips encourage you to start an optimistic approach to overcoming your chronic pain. Remember that information is just information, concepts floating around until you actually put things into practice. No one can do it for you but you!

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this article are for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Angela is an Empowerment Ambassador, Health and Wellness Advocate. She is a student and an example of holistic, spiritually enhanced and youthful living. Angela empowers people to live the heart's path and to believe that life doesn't require one to age quickly and live a life of illness. Writing articles for SOLANCHA Magazine is one of the ways she expresses her passion for inspiring people to become a happier and healthier version of themselves.

Healing

Crown Chakra Blockage Symptoms And Ways To Heal It

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Crown chakra is the seventh primary chakra. It’s also called “Sahasrara” which means “thousand-petaled”. It is the highest point that determines the spiritual life of a person. Knowledge about this “thousand-petalled Lotus” is very important for those who seek to find their spiritual path. Therefore if you’re involved in any spiritual practice it’s necessary to know what symptoms indicate Crown Chakra blockage and how to heal it.

In this article, I’ll share with you my research on how to recognize Crown Chakra blockage and powerful ways to heal it. But first, let’s talk about the the importance of Crown chakra in our energy system and its structure. You see, without this information, it would be hard to understand the condition of your Sahasrara.

The Importance of Sahasrara

Sahasrara is the point through which a soul comes out of the body after death.

Thanks to the crown chakra, we are able to learn, to realize, to accept, and to connect our consciousness to universal love and infinite knowledge.

With the full disclosure of Sahasrara, people find a state of calm and balance. They change their consciousness and let go of their past and torment. They reach the awareness of the integrity of the individual and the perception of yourself as an important element of the Universe.

The Crown chakra disclosure leads to the rapid development of the other six chakras.

Location of Sahasrara Chakra

Crown chakra is located at the top of the head. If we consider more exactly where the crown chakra, is the area of the Fontanelle.

Crown Chakra Structure

Crown chakra opening symptoms

Each chakra looks like a rotating cone, the diameter of which is from 2 to 4 inches. As it enters the human body, the shape of the chakra narrows, “connecting” further to the spine.

Crown chakra consists of 1000 petals, forming 20 layers, 50 pieces each. This number is very symbolic. After all, it represents a variety of spiritual paths that are open to human achievement.

In the center of Crown chakra is a circle depicting the mandalas of the Moon and the Sun. The circle, which symbolizes the full moon, is the crown of the spiritual development of the soul in the physical body. Its combination with the Sun allows to connect various energy channels, directing them to the Central Nadi – Sushumna.

Sahasrara symbol represents the dual nature of the Earth and the need to return to integrity. There is a miniature dot in the center of the circle which represents emptiness. Approaching this point is possible only with a very long and conscious spiritual development.

Crown Chakra Color

Sahasrara Chakra Test Image

If we look at the scheme of energy centers, the purple dot on the human body will tell us where Crown chakra is.

This color is unusual and very complex. It is a combination of two tones – blue and red. These colors, which are opposite in meaning, combine together to form purple. Purple is considered a magical and mysterious color.

In addition, purple is associated with the divine. It is a symbol of spiritual development and represents the connection with the Cosmos.

In addition to the purple Sahasrara Lotus petals also contain white color and radiate all the rainbow tones that eventually merge together. The harmonious combination of all these colors represents the ability of a person to comprehend the superconsciousness.

What Is Sahasrara Responsible For?

Physically its work affects the pineal gland and the brain. If we consider the spiritual aspect, Sahasrara chakra has the ability to absorb and produce the highest frequency of Kundalini energy.

If a person doesn’t have a Crown chakra blockage, he is an altruist, he has boundless energy and the ability to sympathize. In addition, he/she does even the most routine work with great inspiration and creativity. These people are attractive. They like to wear bright clothes, enjoy life and inspire others with their example.

Signs Of Opened Crown Chakra

People with opened Sahasrara live outside of duality.

If Crown Chakra works to the maximum, it has a direct impact on the brain. At the same time, Sahasrara produces higher vibrations that change the perception of both the person and the people around him/her.

Signs Of Opened Sahasrara are:

  • understanding the possibility of living without conflict;
  • getting answers to your questions from the Universe;
  • a strong connection to God and the Universe;
  • understanding and accepting your own uniqueness;
  • perception of yourself as a formed personality;
  • no feeling of annoyance, anger, and fear;
  • the ability to analyze and manage your own emotions, as well as to understand the causes of their occurrence;
  • a sense of oneness with the world;
  • harmony of body and soul.

To learn more about symptoms and signs of the Crown chakra opening read my article “Crown Chakra Opening Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of“.

Crown Chakra Blockage

Good news is that complete Crown Chakra blockage never occurs!

However, if a person is not engaged in any spiritual practices, his/her Sahasrara is open at its initial stage. This state of the seventh chakra leads to a feeling of own independence (Note: independence and freedom are not the same. While freedom has a positive meaning, independence is based on duality and has destructive power). Such a person doesn’t feel any connection with the Universe. This condition often causes a feeling of uncertainty and fear, blocking all other chakras, which prevents the energy flow from free circulation through the body.

Poorly opened Sahasrara leads to the fact that a person can’t find his/her true life purpose. He/she has a lot of questions, the answers to which he/she can’t find.

Other signs of Crown chakra blockage are:

  • the inability to think clearly in a stressful situation;
  • seeking to “taste” all the “fruits” of spiritual achievements without learning to “plant”, “water” and “cultivate” them;
  • dissatisfaction with life;
  • depression;
  • loneliness;
  • unwillingness to communicate with other people;
  • loss of zest for life;
  • fear of death.

Crown Chakra Balancing

There is a number of ways you can use for your Crown Chakra opening and healing. In this article, I’ll share with you some of them.

1. The Sun And The Moon Exercise

  1. Sit in the Lotus position. Your face should be turned to the North. Put your fingers together and close your eyes.
  2. Visualize the Moon to your left side and imagine that it is cold.
  3. Visualize the Sun to your right and imagine that it’s warming you up.
  4. Now visualize the world as continuous energy of the Universe.
  5. Inhale cold energy with your left nostril, and raise the Moon energy up. After that, mentally, the energy should be lowered down to the coccyx.
  6. Inhale hot energy of the Sun with your right nostril and pass it from top to bottom.
  7. Thus, at the coccyx, there are two energy flows meet. They should mentally envelop your spine.
  8. After that, the energy flows should be raised up and held at a point located at the level of the nape.
  9. Now switch the energy flows. Let the cold flow of energy pass into the right hemisphere, and the warm – to the left. Connect these flows at the level of the seventh chakra.

This exercise should be repeated at least twenty times. The energy should rise on the inhale and fall down on the exhale. If all your lower chakras are opened and balanced then you will see the results already in the 2-3 months since the beginning of this practice.

2. Mantra Therapy

At the very beginning, you need to calm down internally, establish control over your own consciousness and relax your body as much as possible.

You should start with the mantra OM. It is necessary to relax the entire body and evenly distribute vibrations throughout the body – from head to toe.

Then you can start chanting bija mantra for Sahasrara chakra.

Bija mantra for Sahasrara is “AH”.

When chanting this mantra your concentration should be on the top of your head.

3. Affirmations

It’s also good to use special affirmations for activating and balancing your Crown chakra. Here are some effective Sahasrara chakra affirmations that you can use.

  • I’m free from depression and fatigue.
  • I trust the Universe and boldly go forward.
  • I’m free from fear.
  • There is the presence of God everywhere.
  • I feel unity with other people and the world.
  • I realize my own uniqueness and recognize my own Divinity.

4. Ritual Baths

Ritual baths are not only very effective but probably one of the most pleasant ways to heal your Crown chakra. All the details of this magical procedure and all the instructions you can find in my article “Ritual Baths For Chakra Balancing”.

5. Clothing

Sometimes it’s good to wear purple clothes, and the one with the print of Crown chakra. It helps to balance your energy field and activate your Sahasrara.

6. Interior Design

The interior can be replenished with items that harmonize the energy of the house and your own energy. When you look at the paintings of Sahasrara chakra or mandalas your energy potential is greatly enhanced.

7. Crystals

Some of the most powerful Crown chakra crystals are:

  • Ametrine;
  • Amethyst;
  • Quartz Crystal;
  • Moonstone;
  • Selenite.

8. Food

Sahasrara corresponds to the food of purple color. For your Crown chakra activation and healing, you can use any purple fruits and vegetables such as eggplant, plum, etc.

Fasting and detoxifying are beneficial for the development of Crown chakra as it awakens to the highest form of spiritual communication.

9. Aromatherapy

This procedure creates a pleasant atmosphere and improves the functioning of your Crown chakra. Lotus and Lavander are the best essential oils for Crown chakra healing.

10. Yoga For Crown Chakra

Conclusion

If you are ready to accept the will of God, ready to merge with the energies of the Universe your Crown chakra will start opening. Crown chakra is the gate behind which a completely different world begins. This is an entrance to the infinity of consciousness, the unification with the entire Universe.

Our goal on Earth is to build up our energy so that we would be able to break through these gates and free ourselves from the invisible shackles that restrain us from our freedom to live our full potential.

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Healing

Palo Santo: 7 Amazing Benefits And Powerful Ways To Use It

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Palo Santo has been used for centuries in various spiritual, religious and medicinal ways. In this article, I will share with you some amazing benefits and different ways to use it for healing and spiritual purposes.

What Is Palo Santo?

Palo Santo is mystical tree that grows mainly in South America (Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc.). In Ecuador, for several months from January to June, the air is filled with a sweet and mysterious note of Palo Santo mixed with the sea breeze. For many generations, its wood was used by Indian peoples for the preparation of medicinal decoctions, tinctures and, of course, for purification by smoke.

Palo Santo literally means “Holy Wood”. A distinctive feature of this tree is the ability to accumulate in its wood aromatic resins and essential oils, and accordingly, to allocate them during processing.

The Mystery Of Palo Santo

The quality and quantity of oil that is extracted from Palo Santo wood varies according to the lunar cycle. In particular, the new moon gives less oil and a lighter flavor. The full moon is more oil and a deeper flavor. The special Moon power at the equator affects the gravitational fields that affect distillation. Thus, we can say that the Moon itself supports the extraction of the oil from wood.

Shamanic Wisdom

Shamanic ritual image

For centuries, before Palo Santo was introduced to North America, it was used by shamans to cleanse themselves from negative energy, attract positive energy, restore peace and balance, improve concentration and meditation, and heal people on the physical and spiritual levels.

The ancient practice of shamanism believes that Palo Santo contains a Spirit. This Spirit is the manifestation of Palo Santo’s healing power. The shaman turns to the Spirit of this Holy Wood and allows the spirit to heal. The spirit of the tree carries wisdom that allows the smoke of the Palo Santo stick to heal people physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Shamans warn that the spirit of Palo Santo must be treated with respect and to never abuse it. By the way, this is one of the reasons why it is forbidden to cut down Palo Santo trees. It has to fall itself in order for us to be allowed to enjoy its gifts.

Male and Female Trees

Interestingly there are male and female Palo Santo trees that grow in groups of one male tree and eight female trees. At the same time, the life expectancy of male trees is 200 years, while female trees tend to live about 40-50 years.

Their wood also has distinctive characteristics. The wood of the female trees is yellow, hard and heavy, while the wood of the male is white, hollow, fragile, and light. Shamans teach that these trees have a special Spirit that lives in the forest long after the tree’s life is over. It is not surprising that shamans believe these trees are living beings!

Palo Santo Benefits

1. Cleansing of negative energy

One of the most amazing qualities of the Palo Santo tree is its ability to cleanse everything it comes into contact with. The smoke coming from the stick produces a deep cleansing effect on the energy.

Shamans say that the attraction to Palo Santo fragrance is a sign of emotional and spiritual purity. However, there are people who feel discomfort from inhaling the aroma of Palo Santo. This phenomenon is part of the cleansing effect. Constant use of Palo Santo helps a person to be cleansed of negative energies.

2. Maintaining an atmosphere of peace and harmony

palo santo cleansing image

It helps to cleanse the room from negative energy. Thus, peace and harmony come to the house.

3. Relaxation

It helps to enter into deep meditation and immersion in a feeling of peace and protection.

4. Expansion of consciousness

It helps to reach the feeling of unity with the Universe.

5. Therapeutic effect

It has a rich set of medicinal properties, including:

  • antibacterial;
  • antiseptic;
  • antiviral;
  • immunostimulating;
  • spasms relief;
  • decongestant;
  • expectorant;
  • sedative;
  • antineoplastic.

6. Attracting positive energy

It is able not only to cleanse negative energy but also to attract positive energy. During the burning of the stick, the Spirit of Palo Santo releases the oils of the Sacred Wood, which purify the space and the people that inhale the smoke. Thus, the Spirit attracts positive energy and even heals people on both the physical and subtle levels.

7. Structuring of thoughts and concentration

When a person is healed on a subtle spiritual level, his ability to concentrate increases and makes meditation deeper and stronger.

Different Ways to Use Palo Santo

palo santo sticks image

1.The use of Palo Santo Wood without burning it

One of the most popular uses of this Holy Wood is as a talisman or amulet.

You can also place small pieces of the wood to aromatize the space – cabinets, car, rooms. However, make sure you treat Palo Santo with respect! For example, do not place it in the toilet or next to the trash can! Remember that the Spirit lives in these pieces of wood. Therefore, you need to treat them appropriately!

You can place sticks on your altar. Thus, you will bless the altar itself and increase the magnetism of all the power objects that are on it.

Another way to use it is to place a piece of the wood in the car. First of all, it will be a great alternative to using air fresheners. And secondly, it will protect you while driving and the car itself.

2. Burning Palo Santo Sticks

You can burn the sticks to purify your aura and to cleanse the energy of your house.

When you burn the sticks, you not only purify the energy from the negativity but also attract positive energy into your space.

How to Burn Palo Santo Sticks?

Holding the stick by one edge, you set fire to its tip on the other side. Wait until a small part of it evenly lights up. Then carefully put it out, blowing or waving it in the air. Let the smoke rise freely in the air.

If you want to cleanse the energy of any objects – bring the stick close enough to them and make a few circular movements around to make smoke gently envelop them. Or just put the smoldering Palo Santo next to you for a few minutes.

The same can be done for cleansing the space. Just walk around the room, bringing a smoking stick to each corner. If the smoke begins to fade gently blow on the stick.

To conduct self-cleansing, move a burning stick in a circular motion from head to toe.

When you have done all the necessary actions, you can put a burning stick on a ceramic saucer, shell or any other refractory stand. The stick will extinguish itself after some time.

3. Essential Oil

Palo Santo is a natural cleanser. Use it in a diffuser to stay healthy. This healing oil has antitumor, anti-infective, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulating, and sciatic effects on the body.

In addition, this oil is an ideal additive to massage oils.

This essential oil will help you ground and release emotions such as anger and fear. Use the oil during your meditation to stay concentrated and connected with the spirit. It calms, relaxes, grounds, gives emotional balance, helps spiritual development, activates inspiration, and helps your concentration.

Conclusion

Do you want to take your spiritual practice to the next level? Then Palo Santo is the tool to use! You can use it in any form you like and see its amazing benefits. Cleansing, protection, healing and so many more positive properties you can get just out of one stick! If you’ve never tried using it, you don’t know what you’ve been missing!

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Yoga

Bikram Yoga: Benefits And Harm Of Hot Yoga Classes

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Have you heard about Bikram yoga? This yoga style is becoming more and more popular. Many practitioners find it very effective for creating balance between the body and mind. In this article, we will share with you what Bikram yoga is, and what its advantages and disadvantages are. We hope that after reading this article, you’ll be able to personally determine for yourself whether hot yoga classes suit you or not.

What Is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga is a complex of certain asanas that are performed in a hot room. This type of yoga got its name from its founder Bikram Choudhury.

Initially, this kind of yoga was used by Bikram as a recovery after an injury. He was performing yoga asanas in a heated room. After a full recovery, he has perfected asanas and suggested to practice them in the room with hot temperature.

The initial class of Bikram yoga includes:

  • 2 breathing exercises;
  • 26 consecutive Hatha yoga asanas.

Bikram yoga classes are practiced in a room heated to 105 °F with a humidity of 40%. The duration of the lesson is 1.5 hours.

Due to the complexity of such “hot” exercises the whole body strengthens. Each posture of the asana flows smoothly into the next asana, thus increasing the flow of oxygen, through which toxins are removed from the body.

Bikram yoga is known for its martial style of teaching, the concentration of energy and impeccable posture. It is one of the most popular styles of hot yoga that is practiced all over the world. It should draw the attention of those people who prefer strict, disciplined practice, which controls everything – starting with breathing and ending with the opportunity to drink water.

History

Bikram Choudhury image

Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta in 1944. At age four he already began practicing yoga.  When he was 13 years old, Bikram received the title of national champion of India in yoga. At the age of 17, Bikram Choudhury severely injured his knee. Doctors said that he will never be able to walk independently.

But the young champion did not despair and under the guidance of his mentor, he began to perform asanas in a certain sequence, aimed at full recovery of the injured part of his body. A distinctive feature of this complex of asanas was that the room (where yoga was practiced) was very hot. This was essential in order to effectively work on the injured knee, and in order not to further damage. The result of hard training was a fully restored knee.

Bikram Choudhury reasonably believes that Hatha yoga brings the most positive results in conjunction with the hot climate of India. Naturally, not everyone has the opportunity to practice Bikram yoga in a hot climate. Therefore he suggested creating appropriate temperature regime artificially. In this case, we can practice hot yoga in any country, even in the North.

As a result of refinement and improvement of the sequence of asanas, Bikram Choudhury created his own unique style of Hatha yoga, which is now known as Bikram yoga.

Bikram Yoga Vs. Hot Yoga: What’s The Difference?

yoga class image

Many people think that Bikram and hot yoga are the same thing but these two styles still have differences.

So what’s the difference between Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga?

1. Temperature

Bikram yoga studios must be heated to 105°F with 40% humidity.

Hot yoga rooms can vary in humidity and are generally heated to anywhere from 80 to 100°F.

2. Duration of the Class

The duration of the Bikram yoga class is always 90 mins.

Hot yoga classes can last anywhere from 60 to 90 mins.

3. Music

Music or clapping are not allowed during Bikram yoga classes.

Hot yoga classes often have music playing during the class and even can be followed by a round of applause.

4. Asanas Variations

Camel pose image

Bikram yoga includes the same 26 asanas and two breathing exercises. All the asanas and breathing exercises are performed in the same order every class.

Hot yoga can include many different asanas that may vary by class or/and studio.

5. Floors

The floors of Bikram yoga studios must be carpeted.

In Hot yoga studios, the floors are usually made of any type of artificial wood or any other material.

6. Lighting

There must be bright lighting in the Bikram yoga studios.

Hot yoga classes are often performed with dim lights or even by candlelight.

7. Talking During the Class

yoga studio image

It is not allowed to talk during a Bikram yoga class.

During a Hot yoga class, the students can interact with each other and with the yoga instructor.

It is difficult to say which one of these two styles is better. Everything is absolutely individual. Someone may be uncomfortable to practice yoga in a room heated to 105°F, and someone, on the contrary, will appreciate this temperature and find it easier to relax. There are such studios that conduct Bikram yoga classes in a very warm room, but only 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes and in a more relaxed mode.

Or, for example, you may not like to practice yoga on a carpeted floor and will appreciate the wooden floors more that regular hot yoga studios hold classes on.

So it’s completely up to you! Ask yourself which type of yoga will suit you better!

Bikram Yoga Postures And Their Benefits

During Bikram yoga class, a complex of 26 postures is performed in a strictly defined sequence. It is very important to perform these postures to the end and repeat each of them twice. As a result of each such practice, the vital energy (prana) circulates in your body harmoniously, and the organs are exposed to beneficial effects.

Bikram Yoga complex includes the following postures:

1. Pranayama (breathing practice)

This posture is aimed at relieving fatigue, relaxation and at the same time concentration on the upcoming yoga practice.

2. Half Moon Pose (ARDHA-CHANDRASANA)

This asana relaxes and gradually stretches the muscles of the whole body, preparing you to perform basic postures.

3. Awkward Pose (UTKATASANA)

This pose helps to tone and shape your legs, heals chronically cold feet, helps relieve rheumatism and arthritis in the legs, helps to cure slipped discs and other lower spine problems.

4. Eagle Pose (GARURASANA)

This pose is aimed at the development of coordination. This is due to the fact that some muscles of the body tense up, while others relax. As a result of performing this asana, pain in the back and joints goes away, the muscles of the legs come to tone, the blood flow improves.

5. Standing Head To Knee (DANDAYAMANA-JANUSHIRASANA)

Stretches the leg muscles and gluteal muscles, blood circulation in the brain becomes noticeably better, and the blood pressure returns to normal.

6. Standing Bow (DANDAYAMANA-DHANURASANA)

This asana is aimed at developing a sense of stability, discipline and emotional inner harmony and balance. In physical terms, there is a relaxation of the back and strengthening the muscles of the legs.

7. Balancing Stick (TULADANDASANA)

This asana has a moderate load on the heart, stimulates its intensive work and the release of blood. Thereby this posture helps clear the vessels and increases the activity of the brain. This asana is an excellent prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

This asana is aimed at stretching the muscles of the back and strengthening the blood flow to the joints. It also massages the internal abdominal organs, the small and large intestines.

9. Triangle Pose (TRIKANASANA)

This asana is aimed at the simultaneous study of all the muscles of the body and enhances metabolism. This pose is extremely beneficial for women with a broken menstrual cycle. It also benefits the heart and lungs.

10. Standing Separate Head to Knee Pose (DANDAYAMANA-BIBHAKTAPADA-JANUSHIRASANA)

This pose stimulates the work of all the glands of our body, especially the thyroid gland. It also helps to heal reproductive system disorders and frequent chronic migraines.

11. Tree Pose (TADASANA)

This asana aimed at stretching the spine and strengthening the muscles of the back. It improves your posture and reduces tension in the abdomen.

12. Toe Stand (PADANGUSTASANA)

This pose aimed at developing balance and strengthening willpower, as well as stretching the muscles of the legs.

13. Dead Body (SAVASANA)

This asana relaxes every single muscle of your body. As a result, the movement of blood and lymph comes back to normal. Moreover, the internal cleansing happens and we learn to relax.

14. Wind-Removing Pose (PAVANAMUKTASANA)

This pose massages the organs inside the body in a natural way which is especially beneficial for the digestive system.

15. Sit Up (PADA-HASTHASANA)

This asana clears the lungs of the air that has stagnated there. Also, it stretches the spine and increases flexibility.

16. Cobra (BHUJANGASANA)

During the performing of this asana, your arms are strengthened and your back muscles become more flexible. Thus there is a prevention of diseases in the lumbar region, such as, for example, arthritis. This asana increases the performance of the liver and spleen, and blood pressure returns to normal.

17. Locust Pose (SALABHASANA)

Great pose for those who have a pinched sciatic nerve or displaced vertebrae. Practicing Locust Pose is an excellent prevention of varicose veins.

18. Full Locust Pose (POORNA-SALABHASANA)

This pose increases strength in the middle spine and the rib cage elasticity. Also, it firms the abdominal muscles, upper arms, and hips.

19. Bow Pose (DHANURASANA)

This asana increases spine flexibility. It aids digestion, fights constipation, combats bronchitis and diabetes. This pose improves the functioning of the large and small intestines, the liver, kidneys, and spleen.

20. Fixed Firm Pose (SUPTA-VAJRASANA)

While performing this asana you are stretching your spinal muscles and the muscles of your ankles, resulting in visibly tightened thighs and belly. In addition, this asana is the prevention of diseases such as gout and varicose veins.

21. Half Tortoise (ARDHA-KURMASANA)

This asana improves sleep, helps to get rid of frequent migraines, improve memory and normalize blood circulation of the brain, as well as prolong your life.

22. Camel Pose (USTRASANA)

This pose helps to stretch the back muscles. It also improves the flexibility of your neck and spine and helps degenerative spinal problems. This asana helps constipation, stretches the throat, thyroid and parathyroid glands.

23. Rabbit Pose (USTRASANA)

This pose helps to reduce tension in the shoulders and neck. Is also helps alleviate colds, sinus problems, and chronic tonsillitis.

24. Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose (JANUSHIRASANA AND PASCHIMOTTHANASANA)

This asana is very beneficial for immune and lymphatic systems, allergies and arthritis. It increases circulation to the liver, pancreas, thyroid, thymus, and intestines. Also, performing this pose improves digestion.

25. Spine-Twisting Pose (ARDHA-MATSYENDRASANA)

Performing this twisting asana increases circulation to all the spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves the elasticity of the spine. It relieves lower back pain and helps prevent slipped discs, kyphosis, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis, and arthritis.

26. Blowing In Firm Pose (KAPALBHATI IN VAJRASANA)

This pose improves digestion and circulation and increases the elasticity of the lungs.

Bikram Yoga Benefits

The successful outcome of Bikram yoga practice entirely depends on you. Regular classes and your devotion to the practice will soon bring positive effects.

Bikram yoga benefits image

The benefits of Bikram yoga are:

  • provokes active burning of calories;
  • helps to lose weight quickly, get rid of cellulite and bring your body into good shape;
  • cleanses your body of toxins;
  • your body gains great flexibility;
  • strengthens the cardiovascular and respiratory system;
  • helps to quickly recover from injuries of varying severity;
  • improves metabolism;
  • helps to relax after a hard day and put in order your nervous system;
  • improves sleep quality;
  • helps relieve stress (regular practice helps reduce cortisol levels);
  • improves skin quality (helps get rid of acne and enlarged pores);
  • all muscles come in tone;
  • reduces depression;
  • makes you more disciplined;
  • helps to find inner balance and harmony with the outside world;
  • increases immunity and it becomes easier for your body to fight infections and viruses;
  • relieves mental stress and relaxes you.

Can Bikram Yoga Harm You?

Before choosing to attend Bikram or Hot yoga class you should be aware of the harm that this kind of yoga can cause.

There is a number of disadvantages that you may face during your hot yoga class.

1. A danger of excessive stretching

It may be hard to believe but if you have already good flexibility, then Bikram yoga can provoke muscle tension. The thing is the heat weakens the muscles and you may be in danger of excessive stretching.

2. A danger of dehydration

Practicing yoga in a hot room can naturally lower internal body temperature and provoke dehydration. Moreover, there is a significantly increased risk of heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Symptoms of exhaustion include weakness, dizziness, and quite severe nausea, so if you encounter them, it is important to stop your yoga practice immediately and leave the class.

man drinking water during yoga class image

3. A danger of the kidney load increase

When we’re hot and stuffy, we’re thirsty. It’s a natural process. In the conditions of Bikram yoga, there is heavy sweating and, of course, we want to drink twice as much. This means that the load on the kidneys increases.

Сontraindications of Bikram Yoga Practice

Since Bikram yoga is being practiced in a hot room there are some contraindications that can be temporary and permanent.

Permanent contraindications include:

  • vascular problems;
  • varicose veins;
  • heart disease;
  • hypertension;
  • tachycardia;
  • weak mitral and aortic valve function;
  • lung diseases;
  • kidneys diseases;
  • prostatitis;
  • arthrosis;
  • gallstone disease;
  • gynecological diseases;
  • diabetes;
  • asthma;
  • brain diseases.

Temporary contraindications include:

  • pregnancy;
  • period of gynecological inflammation and menstruation;
  • catarrhal diseases;
  • fever;
  • sinusitis.

What to Expect from Bikram Yoga Class?

Yoga Classes Image

If you decided to attend Bikram yoga class then you may have a reasonable question – what to expect? It is natural to feel nervous if you come to Bikram yoga studio for the first time. It’s okay if you are not as successful in your yoga practice as others during the first few classes. Everyone’s been through this.

Let us share with you some tips for those of you who are going to attend your first Bikram yoga class:

  • Come to the studio 15 minutes before your class starts.
  • Be sure to warn the instructor about the presence of any chronic diseases and medical restrictions.
  • Be sure to have an empty stomach. Start training about 2 hours after you have eaten.
  • Do not drink too much water before and during yoga class. It is allowed to moisten the throat and take a few sips. A full stomach is contraindicated when performing asanas!
  • Visit the restroom before the class, as it is not recommended to interrupt the practice.
  • Most studios categorically prohibit the use of a cell phone, so we advise you to completely turn it off and take the time to enjoy yoga.
  • Try to breathe slowly and deeply, it will help to relax all the muscles and get used to the room temperature.
  • Breathe only through the nose, because breathing through the mouth dries the mucosa and excites the nervous system.
  • Be prepared for the fact that during classes you will sweat a lot. Most hot yoga studios artificially increase humidity, so you’ll sweat even in places where you had no idea you had sweat glands (hello, a sweaty inner side of the elbow).
  • Try not to wipe the sweat flowing from you in streams, so you give the body a signal to release even more liquid to cool the hot body.
  • Your heart may start to beat faster, but if you don’t have a problem with that, that’s fine. You need to stay calm and focus on your reflection in the mirror. If, however, you are alerted, and you start to panic, lie down on the mat and take a short break.
  • If you have any unpleasant feelings during your yoga practice, focus on your reflection in the mirror, it will return you to the comfort zone.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel bad (dizzy, nauseous, etc.) during yoga class, the only right decision is to get up and leave. Do not try to break through the weakness, so as not to harm yourself.
  • Improve the result gradually. If you have just started practicing hot yoga, it is not necessary to do the exercises in full force. As in the case of any other workout, your body should get used to the peculiarities of the load. Therefore, start small and boldly move forward.
  • After yoga class, you will have a feeling that you are ready to conquer the whole world (of course, after a long shower). This is the pleasant aftertaste of yoga.

Conclusion

We want to note once again that not everyone can practice this kind of yoga. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor for contraindications. In addition, it must be remembered that the hot conditions of the hot yoga classes may initially seem unbearably difficult to handle. Therefore, you should determine your level of endurance, so not to pass out during the practice.

Summing up, once again we note that Bikram yoga, despite its ambiguity, is an effective tool that allows you to cleanse your body, tighten sagging skin, develop flexibility, form a posture, delve into your feelings and fully master the management of your body.

We hope that after reading this article, you are now able to decide whether this type of yoga is suitable for you or not. Remember that yoga is not a competition, and the approach to choosing a yoga style for practice should be based on individual feelings, needs and indications.

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