New Blog Series: Yoga & Cancer

I’m devoting some of my blog posts to bringing mindful awareness to cancer. How we think about cancer is a lot more important than most of us probably realize, and it’s time we started talking about it. Here’s why.

I have found that most people don’t really want to talk about cancer at all unless [or until] they have to. But at the same time, when people are diagnosed with cancer, they often wonder how it happened, why it happened to them, if it was just a genetic predisposition, or if they could have done more to prevent it. Given the option between burying our heads in the sand or being proactive, we stand to gain a lot more by being educated, intentional, and mindful in our fight. So let’s talk.

I’ll go ahead and remind you that I am not a doctor or a nurse. I don’t pretend to be. I cannot tell you anything diagnostic, and I won’t be recommending anything like courses of treatment. But I hope that as we become more comfortable talking about cancer, it will take away some of the taboo that frightens us from seeking important health care screenings that could save our life. I also hope it helps us tell others about cancer support that they may not know exists, like my oncology yoga classes.

Here’s what I will be covering:

  • Data on Yoga & Cancer Prevention
  • Integrative Health Care for Cancer Patients
  • Yoga for Those in Remission from Cancer
  • How Cancer Affects Caregivers & Communities

I hope you’ll join me!

Free Yoga Class for NC State Day of Giving

Whether it’s by making a gift or spreading the word, we can all help support the Wolfpack on the NC State Day of Giving. In lieu of paying for your Crosswork yoga class on March 24th, please consider giving to NC State University 

Our Crosswork Yoga Class for the Pack will be loads of fun and feature:

  • an invigorating, 30-minute yoga asana to start your day
  • access to the spring issue of Crosswork magazine
  • a desk reference .pdf of seated yoga that you can do at your desk
  • 20% off of your next Crosswork yoga class

Wear RED and join us in giving back on the NC State Day of Giving so the Pack can continue to prepare future leaders to tackle the world’s biggest problems.

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5 Reasons Why Your Health is a Certain Investment

I continue to read the word “uncertain” in headlines– whether the articles relate to the economy, politics, employment, travel, conferences, our culture, or the future of humanity. Highly emotive words, especially in repetition, have an impact on our perception of the world around us, our health, and our well-being.

Take a moment to reflect on the things for which you can be certain. Here are just a few:

  • You are important.
  • There is only one you, and you matter to more people than you will ever know.
  • You may feel exhausted, but you’re still here. That makes you resilient.
  • Paying attention to your health mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually is time well spent.
  • Considering others, listening to them, and humbly asking encouraging people to help you grow are noble and worthy pursuits. Seek out encouraging friendships, and invest in being an encouraging friend to others.

The bottom line: you can be CERTAIN that investing in taking care of yourself and those around you is a good investment– today and in the future.

Invest in yourself today!
Email me to learn more about Crosswork.

You are tired. Yoga and mindfulness can help.

I just can’t seem to think straight today.
I have too many irons in the fire.
I’m sorry I forgot; I was burning the midnight oil.
Her name is on the tip of my tongue; it’s there. Give me a second.
I can’t handle that right now; I have too many tabs opened in my brain.

Sound familiar? Your body runs involuntary processes all day long. These include memory, digestion, respiration, hormone regulation, and other processes that you don’t really see or think about unless something seems out of balance. But your body can also fall into “auto-pilot” with processes that you do see, such as waking up and walking straight to the sink to brush your teeth, walking in the front door and tossing your keys in the basket, or petting your dog when she brushes against your leg.

When our body experiences stress, it is designed to fight, flee, or freeze. The sympathetic nervous system takes the reigns. Our heartbeat might increase, our breathing might be come more rapid. Suddenly our mouth is dry, we may experience stomach discomfort or tense muscles in our jaw, neck, and shoulders. Practicing yoga can help us take notice of how our body feels, what it senses, what it needs, or what it is not welcoming. Through journaling, we can begin to see patterns between stimuli, what we think, and how we feel. We can recognize the things that trigger stress and equip ourselves to appropriately respond to them rather than give in and react.

When we develop a habit of consistently functioning in the sympathetic nervous system, our bodies recalibrate to keep us alive. Signs that a person might be operating from the sympathetic nervous system can include:

  • abundance of cortisol production, adrenal fatigue, and weight gain
  • inability to down-regulate and fall asleep or stay asleep (insomnia)
  • fatigue, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, or decreased ability to recall facts

Fortunately, our bodies are remarkable! They are often able to respond rapidly, within a matter of days, weeks, months or just a few years. A few years may not seem rapid, but to think on the fact that some people have been able to rebuild liver tissue or lung tissue that was damaged by decades of smoking or alcohol abuse in just a few years is remarkable.

Practicing yoga methods for just 8 weeks can help you achieve better sleep.  Better sleep can help your body achieve the restoration it needs to move closer toward functioning from the parasympathetic nervous system.

The focus of this class is three-fold:

  • To begin the practice of journaling and mindfulness meditation
  • To commit to going to bed at the same time every night, hydration, and meal planning
  • To practice yoga asanas and breathing to promote relaxation

This transformative 9-week class features:

  • Weekly 45 minute yoga class
  • Guided mindfulness meditation instruction
  • Daily encouragement and downloadable journaling prompts

Let’s Get Started!

The ideas expressed on this website are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult with your primary care providers before beginning any new health practices.

Stretch Yourself

Yoga is about flexibility of the body, but it’s also about flexibility of your mind, spirit, and strength. Flexibility is something that is achieved incrementally. Stretching just a little every day makes impossible yoga poses possible! Through Crosswork, you can apply yogic habits to other areas of your life, like your finances or writing goals. The incremental habit of saving $25 a week or writing 250 words a day will help you reach your goals of paying off a debt, taking a vacation, or writing a book.

Flexibility of the Mind Yoga helps to change your thought patterns and perceptions. Instead of ruminating over the past or getting lost in daydreams about the future, yoga helps you learn how to rest and be present in the moment.

Flexibility of the Spirit Yoga helps you learn to practice non-violence (or ahimsa) toward others and toward yourself. Self-compassion and empathy for others help you lean into thoughts like believing that good is coming your way. It helps you overcome self-limiting beliefs that keep you from reaching your goals.

Flexibility of Strength Yoga helps you build strength and flexibility in large and small muscle groups. For instance, inversions and handstands help build the hands, forearms, and shoulders. But they also help build your core and glutes. Even mild inversions, like wide-leg forward fold, increase your strength.

But there’s a difference between stretching yourself and stretching yourself too thin. Stretching yourself may be uncomfortable, but it leads to self-improvement and self-awareness. If you’re caught up in a hustle-bustle that leaves you feeling perpetually drained, chances are you’ve overextended yourself. The good news is, even if you find that you are currently stretched to-the-max, yoga also teaches us how to realign and begin again.