The first thing I recommend to my clients and yoga student, when they come to me with their health issues, is to take care of their stress. That´s where you have to start. Your body needs stillness and relaxation to repair and heal. Your hormones also need a stress free enviroment to be in balance. Your digestion needs it to digest the food in an optimal way, so you get the nutrition you need. I have written another blog post about stress, how it affects your body. You can read about it here.
So if you are on a healing journey, you need to relax. To slow down and let your body relax and come to peace and stillness.
In this video you´ll learn three yoga poses you can do to lower your stress. They are also very good to ease anxiety and great to do before going to bed if you have problems falling asleep.
Let me know how they work for you in the comments below!
In this video you´ll learn my three favorit yoga poses to ease menstrual cramps and endometriosis pain.
Let me know how these poses work for you in the comments below!
Feeling the blues. Feeling low. I think we all get there sometimes. We are humans with different emotions. Flowing. But if we get stuck in that low feeling, being depressed for a longer time (or shorter) we need to do something about it. Life should be beautiful and full of wonderful things. This is not always so, I know. Especially if you have a terrible painful illness that comes in the way. This article is for you that need to get up from the darkest of places and beating the blues.
I am fortunate not to get depressed so often. If I do, it mostly has to do with my cycle and then I know it will only last for a couple of days. (Read this blog post about your moon centers and how they affect you) But there was a time in my early twenties when I was very depressed. I was very self destructive, a goth (yes, can you imagine! But I had some really fun times in that period too!), drinking and partying. The opposite of my current life. After seven years I stopped taking my contraceptives that I took for my endometriosis pain. I wanted to see if my headache was caused by the pills. It was not, but wow my depression was! All of a sudden I saw light again! It was a huge difference! Since then my depression is not a big part of my life anymore. Of course it can come and go. I´m like everyone else, having adversities, feeling useless and wondering what on earth is my mission in life some times. These times don´t come often and mostly if they come it is with my cycle…
But I have a strategy when they come up and that is what I want to share with you today.
1. Do things that lift you up
When I feel low I try to do things that are good for me and make me feel good. I take some big self care time. I try to do things that I know I love. For me it is to do creative things. I love images and working on beautiful images with lots of colors. I can take a break and go and see if I can find some beautiful things or clothes in my favorite shops. Cooking, fixing my home. Listening to beautiful music. To sum it up: Finding the beauty in life again.
What are the things you love to do? Do it!
2. Meet people
When you are low it can happen you don´t want to meet any people, I know. But being alone can make you more depressed. Sometimes we need to be alone, just to be still and listen to our heart. Figuring things out. But don´t get stuck there. Schedule a meeting with your best friend, so you have something to look forward to.
I remember once when I was in India. I was totally alone. I didn´t really know anyone. I had just finished a 6 week auyrveda treatment at a retreat center and had just moved to a big house. I felt like the most lonely person on earth. I remember crying and calling my ex boyfriend in Sweden (really expensive call!) crying, flooding in tears. Hanging up, there was a black out, electricity can be really unreliable in India sometimes. It was like someone was telling me that I needed to get out of there. I did. Took a walk to a shop I had been to before. Met some wonderful people there and felt better.
So reach out! Don´t be alone in that darkness. You know deep inside people love you, but they can´t support you or help you if they don´t know you need support.
And speaking of that: if you are depressed, don´t be afraid of reaching out to professionals in the psychiatry field or your doctor. They are there to help!
3. Go outside into the nature
Being at home can be quite depressing. Being in nature has a healing effect. Maybe that is the last thing you want to do. To go outside. You only want to be in bed inside. But it is worth it. Drag yourself out there! The light is good for you! The nature is good for you. Walking barefoot is good for you. And some sun on your skin can be good. Lack of D-vitamines can also be a reason of being low. And lack of light that helps to increase the feel-good-hormone serotonin.
Here in Sweden it can happen we don´t see the sun for weeks! Living here my whole life I never get used to it. The last years I have been travelling to Brazil to visit my partner´s family, so it has been easier. You can also buy some light therapy. I have a lamp that has the same light as the sun, at home. It really helps. I also try to have a routine to go for a walk every day regardless of the weather.
4. Continue with your daily routines
When you are depressed it is easy to slip down and stop doing your daily routines: Eating on regular bases, taking care of yourself with your hygiene, move your body and so one. You just don´t feel like doing anything. Maybe you only want to watch TV. That is not going to help (unless you are only watching comedies :-) ). Watching too much TV makes you a little bit apathetic I find. Go for a walk (again!). It has been shown that exercising three times a week for 30 minutes each time, has an anti-depressive effect. When you move your body, it sends out feel-good hormones. Avoid alcohol and other similar substances. Eat your food regularly. Try to sleep as usual during the night.
If you normally have very high demands or expectations on yourself, lower your demands. Every time you judge yourself with your inner critic, you are breaking you heart. Be kind to yourself!
Eat good and healthy food! Depression can lower your immune system. Eat good omega 3, leafy greens, berries and veggies!
Subscribe to daily uplifting email messages from The Universe! (from a website that sends an email everyday to inspire you)
5. Do yoga!
Yes, yoga can affect your mood in a positive way! There are many yoga sets, poses, breathing exercises and meditations that can help. When it comes to depression I personally feel that my energy is stuck in my body. The flow is not moving as it normally does. So moving your body and doing yoga that helps with that “stagnation” can be good. In my next blog post I´ll share some yoga for depression.
I hope some of these advices can help you. Maybe you have your own strategy when you feel low? What do you do when you are depressed? Please share!
Maybe you also want to read:
I know many of you have days when it is difficult to get out of bed. Maybe you are just tired or you just have too much pain to get up. I know how it feels, I´ve been there myself. What has helped me a lot is to actually do yoga in bed. It can help a lot! You don´t need to get up and do the poses for pain on your yoga mat. Take it easy, stay in bed and do them. Then get up!
So here they are; My three favorite poses in bed.
You can download as pdf here.
1. Cat stretch
Bring your arms out to the sides, lift one bent leg. Place the right foot on the left knee and grab your right knee with the left hand. Pull the leg down to the left and the torso to the right. Long Deep Breathing for a couple of minutes and then roll back on the back again, and switch sides.
This stretches your whole body. Very nice for your back, if you have lower back pain. Do not do this in bed if your mattress is very soft.
2. Goddess Pose
Lying down on your back, place the soles of your feet together as close to the body as possible. Adjust the feet until you feel comfortable, it should not be painful. Tuck in some pillows under your knees and legs if necessary. Modified version: Cross your legs (like in easy pose).
Place your hands on your belly and breathe long and deeply for 1-3 min.
This pose opens up in the pelvis and the blood circulation increases.
3. Gas pose
Lie down on you back on the floor or in the bed. Pull down your knees to your chest with your legs wide apart and wrap your arms around your knees. Breathe long and deeply for 1- 3 minutes.
This pose opens up in the pelvis and is also very good to release wind. A great pose if you have pain.
Let me know how they work for you in the comments below!
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I´ve had problems with headaches most of my life. I started having bad migraine at the age of 18, and since then I´ve suffered from different kind of headaches. For many years I´ve tried to figure out why I have them. They´ve been all from pretty mild to terrible migraine when nothing helps. When I talked to my mother about this she told me I actually suffered from bad headaches from the age of 10. I can´t remember this, for me these headaches have become like a normal state in my life.
Today I don´t suffer from headaches anymore. Sure, they show up sometimes but I have them under control. For me the reason of my pain has been more than one cause and that´s why it has been such a long journey to find the cures. It has been like a huge jigsaw-puzzle, where I´ve tried to find all the missing pieces and put them together. Now, after many years of suffering I have found all of the missing pieces and know what all of my different headaches are all about, and this I want to share with you today, just in case you have the same problem as I had.
1. Drink enough water.
Maybe this sound obvious, but at least I forget to drink the amount of water I need to drink every day. Do you know that you need to drink around 30 ml/kg you weigh (that is almost 2 liter per day). Being dehydrated can give you headache. Drinking water is also good to help to cleanse toxins out of your body (that also can give you headache) so drinking enough water is a good idea.
2. Do yoga and meditation
Many yoga poses, relaxation and meditations have helped me with headaches. Stress is a well known factor to cause tension headaches and migraine. When your sympathetic nervous system is activated (the fight and flight response) the muscles are contracting and headache can show up. When you are stressed you often breathe very shallow and that can also give you headache. When you breathe shallow your blood is not oxygenated enough and if your oxygen levels are low you can get headaches and migraine. So simply by breathing long and deeply you can get rid of your headache.
There are also great yoga poses for headache, you can check out these three yoga poses for headache.
I also want to mention anxiety as a cause for headaches. Having a background of anxiety issue myself, I know that you can be very tense in an anxiety situation. You get a stress response and your muscles are tightening and the breathing becomes shallow. My personal belief is that many people are anxious without knowing and are suffering from different pain issues that they can´t get rid of because they are not aware of their anxiety. One great meditation if you suffer from anxiety is to try this Meditation if you are stressed like crazy.
If you have bad problems with anxiety, like Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety I recommend that you go to a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Acceptance Commitment Therapy. Often you need to work on your negative thought patterns together with a skilled therapist. But you can also do yoga parallel to your therapy.
3. Remove sensitivity food
Over the years I´ve found out that some food give me headaches (and also IBS, maybe there´s a connection between the two?) This can be a little bit tricky to find out, depending on quantity of the food and combinations. Sometimes I can eat some chocolate, but if I eat the day after it doesn´t work, or in combination with other foods. My theory here is that these kind of foods release histamine and that my body can take some histamine release, but when it´s too much, it gives me headache. I see it as I have a certain amount of histamine that is totally ok, but when I exceed that limit I get a headache or IBS. Some foods that are known to be sensitivity food are: Chocolate (sigh, my only addiction…), nuts, soy, gluten, dairy. It can take some time to figure out what you can be sensitive to, so the best way is to try to remove one thing at a time and journal how you feel. I also want to say that adding the good stuff is important too, so you don´t remove all your food only! ☺
If you want to look more into this with histamine and food I recommend the Low Histamine Chef that is a great source. And don´t forget my recipes to get some inspiration!
But before you remove food I would actually go to the next step first!
This was my last peace that was missing in the big jigsaw puzzle to figure out my sources for my headaches. I have written about it in this blog post: Whatever you do detox first! I have detoxed before and it has helped a bit, but not as clearly as last time. What I needed was some supplement to help the detox to go deeper and make the detox smoother, supporting the liver. (It contained pectasol, chlorella, beetroot and choline among other ingredients. It´s a Swedish brand so maybe you can find a similar where you live) It worked wonders!
So what the detox does is to get rid of the toxins in your body (obviously).We all get toxins in many ways, unfortunately, through food, water, air, things around us. If the liver doesn´t function in an optimal way, it doesn´t neutralize the toxins and other substances that needs to flush out of our system like hormones. It continues to circulate in our system and that can give you headache. In some traditions, it is claimed that migraine is caused by toxins. Well, I don´t know about that, but I do believe it can be one cause for many migraine sufferers out there. But, why not try a detox, you have nothing to lose really.
Tip: A mini detox I do myself everyday is to start the day with some warm water. Drink a glass of this warm water the first thing you do. It helps to flush out the toxins and also is good to help your elimination that also is important to help get rid of toxins.
5. Balance your hormones
It is well known that imbalanced hormones can cause headaches. It is common to get headache before your period or during your period. You can also have headaches from estrogen dominance. So to balance your hormones is a great way to decrease your hormonal headaches. My number one way to balance hormones is to lower the stress. To do yoga that helps you to relax in the pelvic region. My Online course Breathe and open up is focusing on this, to balance the hormones and reduce pain so check it out and read more about this there.
If I would choose 4 things to do balance the hormones it would be to
1. Start a yoga practice
2. Eat a good plant based diet
When I write this article I´m sitting on the boat landing at the cottage. The sun is shining, it´s hot and a mild breeze touches my skin. I can´t believe my headaches are gone! It feels unreal! I´m so happy the tears are coming.
Do you have problems with headaches? What has helped you? Please share with us in the comments below!
Here´s a short yoga set that will help you to release tension in your back, shoulders and neck. Tension in these areas is often a common cause for headaches. Everything in our body is connected, as I see it, so making your lower spine more flexible and stretching your chest muscles can be a big help to release tension you´re having in the upper back or neck. Ending the set with the neckroll will help you release even more tension in your neck muscles.
Do these yoga poses at home or at work. You can do the whole set or just one or two poses.
Please give me feedback if it helps your headaches! Good luck!
Every month it comes – your period. As women we follow our monthly cycle. What you feel one day can change to another day. Having your period can be terrible days if you have pain and other problems connected to it. But, there are some things you can do to feel better. And there are also things you´d better avoid. The period is a natural state and should not be the hell that so many women are experiencing.
The reason you bleed for some days every month, is to get rid of old endometrium (the lining of the uterus). The endometrium is very important to feed good nutrition to the fertilized egg, so it has a chance growing into a baby. During the monthly cycle, the endometrium is built to become as nutritious as possible. If there is no fertilized egg attached to the endometrium, your body flushes it out (the menstruation), and begin to build up a new nutritious endometrium. In this way you can look at it as a monthly cleansing. When it comes to cleansing it is a time to take it a little bit slow. The energy is needed to cleanse.
This is a time for taking care of you a little bit more than usual. Feel your needs .Maybe do some long deep breathing, listening to music, meditating or having a cozy evening at home. Of course you can be active too, it´s always good to move a bit, but you should not push yourself too hard.
It can be good for your digestive system also taking it easy during the period. Especially if you have problems with adhesions on your intestines, or feel pain eliminating. Try not to eat to heavy food. Soups and tasty smoothies are easy to digest. Nice herbal teas that are relaxing can be nice: chamomilla tea or other relaxing teas.
Ginger, lemon & honey tea can be both relaxing and helpful if you have pain: Slice an inch or two of ginger root and boil it in a quart of water for a few minutes. Add some fresh lemon juice and a tsp of organic honey. This is also a drink that is good if you need some more energy.
There are some nice yoga exercises you can do during the period, if you have pain. You can read about it in this article.
It´s always good to do some Long Deep Breathings. It calms down your system and is also a good pain relief.
Meditating is also great to do when you have your period.
Try the Yoga session that is for FREE. It´s a nice and short session you can do.
Things to avoid in your yoga practice
- Don´t do Breath of Fire.
- Avoid yoga exercises where you have the pressure on your navel point. It can be crunches, leg lifts, bow pose.
- Avoid yoga exercises where the legs and pelvis is higher than the torso.
Like half-wheel pose, shoulder stand etc. The blood can flow “backwards” and reach your abdominal area and build up new adhesions, when you have endometriosis.
Take care of yourself!
We all have toxins in our bodies, unfortunately toxins are all around us getting into our system. Our body is built to detox or get rid of all that, if it´s in a good shape and balance. But what if it´s not? Having an illness can make your body not functioning as it should. Maybe you feel sensitive about some stuff and feel fatigue, have headaches, skin rashes, feel anxious, nauseas or difficulty focusing, etc? Or all of sudden, out of the blue you have a weird reaction in your body? It could just be a sign of the body trying to get rid of toxins but the organs can´t handle it the best way. But here is the good thing: it is good to detox, you probably will detox starting with a new diet and yoga. Here are some “quick-fixes” you can try!
1. Breath of Fire
Breath of Fire is a yogic breathing technique that helps you get rid of the toxins. It also gives you energy and you can be more resistant to stress. It´s a rapid, powerful and diaphragmatic breathe.
The Breath of Fire might cause a light headedness in the beginning, but doesn´t create hyperventilation. When you begin this breathing technique you start with 1 minute and gradually increase the time. It´s a great exercise you can do before your yogaset in the morning.
To perform Breath of Fire:
- Inhale through your nostrils and lift your chest and hold still.
- Exhale and pull in your navel. Your upper abdominals and your diaphragm move as the navel point pulls in.
- Inhale, release the pulling in of the navel.
- Continue making your inhalations/exhalations swift and powerful, 1-3 inhalation per second.
- Don´t pause between inhaling and exhaling.
- Exhale forcefully through your nose.
- The length of the inhalation should be as long as the exhalation.
In the beginning it can be easier focusing on the exhalation which is synchronized with the pulling in of the navel. You can start with a slow speed until you get the hang of it and gradually increase the speed. Begin Breath of Fire for about 30 seconds for your first practice and slowly increase with your practice.
You should not do Breath of Fire if:
You have your period
You are pregnant
Drink plenty of water, especially in the morning when you wake up. Your body can be dehydrated after one night sleep. The body needs water to detox and eliminate easier. Maybe you drink too little water during the day? We need around 30 ml/kg, and that makes it almost 2 liter if your weight is 60 kg!
· Drink luke warm water the first thing you do in the morning. You can add some lemon juice to increase the effect.
· Drink luke warm water during the day for a “mini” detox.
3. Strengthening / healing your inner organs
Strengthening and healing your inner organs is a very big subject, that maybe needs a full article or more in the future, but here are some things you can start with. Healing the inner organs takes time, have patience.
The liver is a very important organ that takes care of the detoxing in your body. It works in two phases:
Phase one: The liver breaks down the toxins.
Phase two: It neutralizes the toxins and the waste is eliminated through the intestine and urine.
· You can strengthen your liver with food:
Different kinds of cabbage, broccoli, kale, good quality of proteins, fish oil, B12 and nettles.
· You can also strengthen your liver with a herb called Milk Thistle.
Things that are toxic (chemicals which can be released from heated plastic bottles and containers, cigarettes, NSAID (in painkillers), alcohol, etc)
· Try to eat as much organic vegetables and fruit as possible, so you avoid pesticide from traditional grown crops.
The intestine is also important as it helps to eliminate the toxins. If it doesn´t work properly the toxins can go back to your blood and that can also be one reason why you have the toxic symptoms. Healing your intestine is a must when you start your healing journey. There are several things you can do for a start:
· Avoid food that you are sensitive to.
It can irritate and damage your intestine. The most common food that people are sensitive to is: gluten, milk, soy, sugar, beans etc. This food can destroy the inner flora and the mucosa. If you for example have gluten intolerance it can take about one year to heal your intestine!
· Add food that is good for your intestine
Building a healthy flora in the intestine is important. It helps the digestion and elimination. Eat some fermented food (sauerkraut is delicious!) or take probiotic or kefir.
If your intestine is very sensitive it can be difficult with raw veggies, so maybe you have to cook them in the beginning, even blend them into a purée.
So start your day with some Breath of Fire and a glass of luke warm water with some lemon juice! Eat food that is good for your liver and intestine!
When we are in pain, sometimes we just want to roll up like a snake, after we have taken the pain killer(s), heated the wheat pillow and drawn the venetians. The pain can be so bad we can´t bear it and this is one of the biggest problems if you have endometriosis or other pelvic illnesses. But there are other ways of coping with pain. Here I´ll share some yoga poses you can use when you are in pain.
Long deep Breathing
As I wrote in another article, the Long Deep Breathing is very important to reduce stress and pain. Whenever you feel pain (or stress for that matter) remember to breathe long and deeply.
Lie flat on your back on your yoga mat or in the bed. If you want, you can cover yourself with a blanket and also put a warm wheat pillow on your belly. Inhale through the nostrils, fill the lower part of the lungs, expand the abdomen. Continue to inhale and fill the middle lungs and feel that the chest is expanding and the abdomen is sinking slightly. Continue inhaling and fill the upper lung and feel the collarbones lifting a little bit. Don´t make a pause and exhale in reverse order: first the collarbones sink down followed by the chest and at last the abdomen. After you have exhaled wait a couple of seconds until you inhale again. Let the body decide when it´s time to inhale again. When you exhale you can visualize the pain going out from your body. Breathe long and deeply as long as necessary.
Another great yoga pose when you have pain, is Squatting. This is how many people from Asia sit, not only on their toilet, but also resting, waiting for the bus or talking to their friends. And there is a reason for it! It opens up in your pelvic area, increases flexibility and circulation on this area. It also helps elimination and can help preventing constipation. This is one of my saviors, when I´ve been in great pain. If you find it difficult to sit in this pose you can put a towel under your heels and you can also lean towards a wall for more comfort.
Squat down and maintain the position. Keep your spine straight and your toes pointing as much forward as possible. Wrap your arms around your knees and interlace your fingers or you can just relax your arms on your knees. Breathe Long Deep Breaths, relax your body. Sit in this pose as long as needed, it can take some minutes until the pain goes away.
This is a good pose for the digestion system. It is said that the one who masters the posture can sit in it and digest rocks. It also makes you solid and steady as a rock. When you sit in Rock Pose it puts pressure on and adjusts your reproductive organs and the blood circulation increase in the pelvic area.
To get into the position, start kneeling on both knees, with the top of the feet on the ground. Sit back on the heels. The heels will press two nerves that run into the lower center of each buttock. Keep the spine straight. Put your hands on your thighs or give some love and healing placing the left hand on your lower belly and the right hand on the left hand. Breathe long and deeply.
If you are uncomfortable in this pose you can tuck in a pillow between your legs close to the hollow of your knee. You can also put a pillow under your feet or knees. Try different ways to support until you have found it comfortable.
Next time you have menstruation pain, pain from your endometriosis or other pelvic pain, try one of these poses and please share how it worked for you!
When you start a health journey it´s good to set up some goals that you want to reach. That will make you more motivated and more focused on staying on the right track. It will make you keep up and have the discipline you need.
Do you have a vision? Goals? Maybe this seems to be a weird question when it comes to health. Normally you ask this kind of questions when it comes to your personal development, your carrier or spiritual journey. But I think it´s good to ask yourself what your vision is. Or what your goals are when it comes to your health journey. Just give it a thought: What would you do if you could see yourself in a better health condition, let´s say one year from now? What would you like to do when you´re not forced to staying home from events, work and friends because your health just won´t let you have the freedom choosing what you want to do? What are your dreams? When you set your goal you can also put a deadline when you want to reach that goal, so you don´t let your dreams wait forever. Here are some areas you can set your goals to get started. A goal should be like a dream, a wish. Try not to think what your abilities are today, let your dreams become your goals!
Maybe you´ll come up with more!
That´s obvious, right? I think the first thing that comes up for most women with endometriosis is that they want to be free from pain. But think a little bit further. What else would you like to achieve when it comes to your health? Stopping eating painkillers, getting rid of other symptoms like back pain, headache, fatigue? Being able to exercise more, starting dancing, hiking? Start writing your goals and the dreams will just come up on the paper!
What would you like to change when it comes to yourself as a person? Maybe you want to be better at saying no. Standing up for yourself, being less shy, having more discipline doing things that are good for you? Stopping having fear of doing difficult and challenging things, telling more jokes, being less angry, less sensitive or more sensitive…
What are you doing today that is creative? Are you able to use your creativity in your life? When it comes to creativity many think it´s only about painting pictures or other artistic creativity. But it can be other things too! It can be house decorating, planting flowers and vegetables, writing, coming up with funny ideas that you can do with your family. Creativity is very good for your health! Have you been in that state when you´re doing something in a total focus so the time has just stopped? It can happen when you are doing something you really love and when you are in your creativity flow. It´s like your energy flows and it gives you a great feeling. In a moment like that it can even happen that you don´t feel your pain!
Well, many people stay at work like 8 hours a day, so it´s very important that you feel you are at the right place and are doing the right things. Maybe you´re totally satisfied with your job today, but if you´re not or if you want more development you can set some goals for your career. If you are not satisfied at all, it can be a good idea to really sit down and think what you want to do in your life. This is a huge thing, I know and maybe it is not the first thing on your list if your health is bad. The health is always the most important, but what you can do is to set a little bit longer deadline on the goals that have to do with your career. Some people have no idea at all what they want to do in life so this can be a little bit frustrating. No worries, this is a big and important issue that has to have an article of its own in the future!
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”