Category Archives: Yogapuncture

Preparing for Spring

My daughter scampered into our bedroom this morning early as the sun was just thinking of rising. As she burrowed under the covers she said, “Mama I hear the birds chirping.” Half asleep I replied, “Uh-huh” and snuggled her close and fell back asleep. An hour or so later as I opened my eyes for the day the first thing I saw looking up and out the window was clear blue sky.

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At drop off for school this morning it was undeniable that the “sugar snow” we had last week has awoken the grass and everyday it gets greener. It feels like spring is awakening around here.

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I feel it inside of myself as well, a certain kind of renaissance is happening. I feel inspired and motivated.

In Chinese Medicine the natural state of the Liver energy is to flourish. The liver has a hand in helping all systems function most optimally so it is especially ideal to let the liver flourish. The spring is when the liver and gall baldder are most active.

If you missed Yogapuncture for Spring in Crystal Lake last week you have two more chances to come to class. Next Saturday March 18th at Ohm Mother Yoga in West Dundee and Saturday March 25th at Blu Rain Yoga in Antioch.

Join me for gentle, mindful movement to improve circulation and cleanse the internal organs. Learn gentle ways to cleanse the liver energy. Leave class feeling a little lighter ready to flourish this Spring. I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Illness as Meditation 

My little bear is quite sick, it seems he’s saved a whole winter’s worth of sickies for right now. Being a little one’s everything can give someone quite a lot of time to think.

It’s hard being still. I’m not good at it. I don’t think most Americans are.


Last week we spied our tulips peeking out. Oh no! I thought, it’s quite possible we will get a frost or snow. So I gathered stray leaves and made blankets for all the sproutlings confused about this mild winter. Why don’t I extend that same level of compassion to myself? Nothing in nature is always blooming and yet we skimp on restoration for ourselves and then wonder why we are always so tired. 

Spring is a becoming. Hardy plants grow deep, strong roots. Illness is not comfortable but it happens. Perhaps running from pain and unpleasantries makes us weaker and more frail. Like the hardy plants, leaning into it makes us stronger. 

Join me Friday in Crystal Lake for Yogapuncture for Spring. We will be working on keeping strong roots in the spring, working with the emotion of anger and talking about what it means to cleanse. There a few spots left just for you :) 

Preparing for Spring, Yogapuncture Sneak Peak

We do yogapuncture with the seasons but there is always something happening in the body and our environment. If you’ve been curious about what yogapuncture is (a self care class!) read on and get a tiny peak in. If you’ve been coming to yogapuncture here is a tiny peak in what is going on as we look forward to spring. :)

February is the time of preparation for Spring! Even if it doesn’t feel like it. The energy that has been deep in the Kidneys all winter is starting to make its way back. The kidneys store our congenital qi or energy. This the energy given to us by our parents and could be considered the genetics of your body.

The Spleen/Stomach system which is active in periods of transition is continuously supplying the Kidney qi with new energy. Recall the old equation da qi + gu qi = zhen qi What this means is that the air we breathe and the food we eat gives us available energy to use. Any surplus is given to the kidneys for storage in times of need. Now is the time to fill the savings account so to speak so the body is prepared for the transition to spring. It is very common to get sick, worn down, allergies etc in spring because of depletion.

Ways to nourish the spleen: eating yellow foods, especially root veggies. Start to incorporate more veggies and meatless meals to give the spleen/stomach a break from the rich, heavy foods of winter.

Here is an almost perfect meal for the transition from winter to spring. Don’t worry it tastes pretty good too! Mung Bean Stew with Eggplant and Mushrooms

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Chinese Medicine believes that colds and other sickness can “attack” the body from wind, especially blowing on the back of the neck. It’s especially important to keep your neck protected while you sleep, so avoid fans blowing directly on you or sleeping with a window open when its windy out. Its tempting when the weather breaks (and it will!) to change from winter to spring clothes quickly. Make sure that if you do go out in an open shirt to wear a scarf to protect your neck.

Here is a fun way to wear a scarf. 

One way to strengthen your neck to keep the wind out is to practice this exercise throughout the day especially if you sit in front of a computer for an extended period of time or while driving. You can do it at each stop light as you get good at remembering.

In Chinese Medicine the kidneys control the bones and the spleen controls the muscles. A misconception is that muscles should do all the work. The foundation of proper health, movement etc is stacking the bones of the body first. Healthy muscles contract when working and relax at rest. When the bones are properly aligned the muscles simply hug the bones in support without effort.

To avoid injury don’t lengthen or strengthen muscles if the bones are not properly lined up.

Stay healthy friends and I’ll see you at the Spring Yogapuncture(s) in March!

Crystal Lake Bonnie Ricica March 3rd,

West Dundee OhmMother Yoga March 18th

Antioch Blu Rain Yoga March 25th!

 

 

Winter is NOT the time to lose weight

My husband was all set to invest in some reset program. Its that time of year, a few holidays of rich foods and a tighter waist band and we find this need to look for something outside of ourselves to look or feel a certain way. Maybe the problem isn’t us, maybe the problem is marketing.

We started talking about a better plan, instead of investing $200 into powders and bars that sounded a lot like torture (to me) into whole food, real food, the kind of food  that doesn’t last very long because its alive. I started thinking about Laura Ingalls. What would they be eating right now in the dead of winter? Vegetables that could be stored, squashes, potatoes, beans, apples and wild game that could be hunted. Winter is comfort food season. Quite honestly this is not the time to lose weight, its the time to hold on for warmth! The best we can do right now is to stay away from sugar and eat warm, slow cooked, from scratch foods. We decided to add the kind of foods into our lives that we wanted to be eating and allow the ones we want to avoid like christmas cookies to naturally fall away from our palate. There’s only so much you can eat in a day and by focusing on more plant based foods like vegetables our bodies are nourished and will be less likely to be searching for sugar fixes. I looked all over for smoothie recipes that felt balanced enough for the cold weather and everything I looked at felt too much like summer. So my plan is to make up some sipping vegetable stock and chicken stock when I’m craving a cup of tea in the afternoon to drink instead. I’ll share the recipe once I’ve gotten it down.

If you want to understand how acupuncture helps with weight loss I wrote a series awhile back if you want to take a look, just wait to use the principles until the spring when its what your body is looking to do. 😉

Acupuncture for Weight Loss Part 1

Acupuncture for Weight Loss Part 2

Acupuncture for Weight Loss Part 3

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Check back for winter recipes and join me for the next Yogapuncture for Winter if you want to learn more about connecting to the seasons. Our lunch today was inspired by this complete nourishing winter bowl, I added some green curry it was warm and delicious devoid of deprivation of any kind.

 

The Shortest Day of the Year

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the shortest day of the year and to me that feels like really good news. It means that everyday will become just a little bit lighter.

Like we talked about in the winter yogapuncture winter is the time of going inward, when our energy is deep and we should be resting. This can be tricky to balance with the holiday season.

Today take some time ideally somewhere between 3-7 (its when the kidney/urinary bladder the organ system of the season is most active in the body) and come into constructive rest pose. Its deeply restorative for your body and if held for 10 minutes is the equivalent of 2 hours sleep.

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For more info and how to do constructive rest pose head over here to the archives! Breathe deep and enjoy!

Want to know more about thriving in the winter season? Join me Saturday Jan 14th at OhmMother Yoga for the next Seasonal Harmony: Yogapuncture for Winter. For more information and to register visit here.