To have a strong and healthy immune system is so important for your health. It fights viruses, bacteria and parasites that is or comes into your body. The immune system is in many parts in your body: the lymph system, intestines, bone marrow to name a few parts.
There are many ways to strengthen and keeping your immune system healthy. One way is to do it with nutrition and medicinal plants. Here are my three favorite drinks I use to strengthen my immune system.
Chaga is a mushroom that grows on trees (mostly birch trees). It is considered to be a medicinal plant in Asia and had a lot of good health qualities:
Chaga is good for:
In studies it has been shown to help people with cancer and psoriasis.
You´ll find the chaga tea in health stores (or on birches).
How you cook:
You can consume chaga in different ways, but my favorite is to drink it as tea.
Normally you cook the chaga for about 30-60 minutes, strain and drink. You can cook pieces of chaga or powder.
You can re-use the mushroom and cook it until the water is lighter.
Pau d’Arco is another medicinal plant that you can make tea of.
It is the inner bark of a tree that grows in South America.
It helps to
You´ll find it in health stores.
Take 1½ tbsp in ½ liter of water (17 oz). Boil slowly in 15 minutes.
Strain and drink.
I use double doze when I feel a cold coming.
Ginger- & turmericshot
Another favorite immune boosting drink I have is Ginger- & turmeric shot.
Ginger is an ancient spice with a lot of benefits. It works anti inflammatory, good when you have a cold coming, menstrual cramps, nausea etc.
Turmeric is an ancient root with a lot of healing properties:
Lemon is a ntarual sourcs of vitamin c that is important for your immune system.
Honey also helps to boost the immune system. remember to buy a good quality.
In turmeric it is curcumin that is the key ingredient for healing properties.
Here is a recipe:
- 200 g fresh ginger
- 50 g fresh turmeric
- Pinch of black pepper (helps to absorb the curcumin)
- 1 liter (2 pt) of water
- ¼ C cup honey (or Stevia if you prefer)
- 2 pressed lemons
Grate the ginger o turmeric (use gloves so you don´t get yellow).
Place it in a pot with water. Add the black pepper. Heat to 60 C (140 F) and hold the temperature for 20- 30 minutes.
Strain and let cool to 40 C (104 F), pour in the honey and stir. When the drink is lukewarm squeeze in lemons. Pour in the glass bottle and store in refrigerator.
Take 20 ml morning and during cold periods or ongoing inflammation, take morning and evening.
Store in the fridge for about 1 month
What is your favorite immune system boosting treatment? Please share in the comments!
It is 2016 and a new year! I´m always very excited when a new year is coming. It´s a good time for a fresh start and making changes in life.
I first wrote this blog post to my local yoga students. What I hear from them is that they really want to start their yoga practice at home but it is so difficult to get started. Then I was thinking: that this is probably a problem for most people.
So I want to share my best tips so you get started with your yoga practice at home. Because the truth is: When you get a regular yoga practice you start to notice the benefits from it. It starts to shift and transform you in a deeper way. You get more aware of your body and mind. You start to change in your way of behaving and thinking. You love yourself more. You become your best friend.
So here we go. My best tips to finally get started with your yoga practice at home:
(Further down you have a pdf you can download and answer some questions to make the shift easier for you)
1. Do one thing at a time
My first advice is to only do one thing at a time. I know many of you want to make a lot of changes, especially after New Year. You want to lose weight, eat healthier, clear clutter, start exercising, go to bed earlier, be in nature more often etc. (Oh yes, this is my list! ☺ ) For some of you it´s no problem doing everything at once, but for most of us it is. You get too overwhelmed. Starting with many changes at once decreases you change to success. Monofocus is the big deal.
So start with one thing you want to change or start with. For example doing yoga at home.
Ask yourself why you want to do this. Think for a moment. WHY do you want to do yoga at home? Do you feel calmer, more energized, happier, less pain, better sleep and more focused? And WHY do you want to feel this way? Do you want to be able to do more fun stuff? What fun stuff? Meet more friends, go out in nature more often, start that course you´ve wanted for so long but not had the energy to start?
3. Set a goal
One thing I often hear is that you don´t have time to incorporate yoga into your day. It feels totally impossible and overwhelming to get that into your schedule. It is useless to set a goal that you are going to do yoga every day for one hour if that is not even in your fantasy. When you set a goal it needs to be realistic. It must be possible for you to achieve. So always when you set your goal, make it realistic.
Decide how much yoga you want to do
So when setting a goal, first decide how much you want to do yoga in minutes. Can you do 15, 30 or 45 minutes, or is that too much? Then start with 5 minutes, and from there you increase over time. The first week 5 minutes, the second week, 7 minutes and the third week 10 minutes and so on,
that´s how you´ll succeed. After a while you want more. You want to feel more of that feeling you get after the yoga practice.
Decide how often you want to do your yoga practice. Do you want to do it three times a week, 4 times or every day? What is realistic for you?
Decide what days you are going to do yoga and WHAT TIME. Do you want to do it in the morning, or is that not realistic? My advice is to try do it in the morning. You´ll have the benefits from the yoga practice during the day and it is more likely you actually will do it.
Now – write in your calendar when you are going to do your yoga practice. This step is very important. What you see is what will happen more likely.
Ok now you know when and for how long you want to do your yoga, it´s time to find a space to do it in your home. It doesn´t have to be any fancy, just a practical place where you can have some time for yourself.
And while you´re at it, make your practice into a ritual. There has been shown that rituals make it easier for us to stick to our habits. Maybe you cam light a candle before you start, and sit in gratitude for a moment.
4. What tools do you need?
What I hear from my clients and students is that it´s so much easier to do yoga when you have instructions like audios or videos. You just need to focus on what you are doing and not about time and what comes next in the sequence. Here are some suggestions from me if you want to start (my own products):
All of my yoga programs come in different length so you can choose depending on how much time you have.
Three yoga poses you can do in bed
Three yoga poses for lower back pain
Three yoga poses to lower stress
Three yoga poses for better digestion
5. Get support
When you are making changes in your life it is important to have support, people that are supporting you with your changes and cheering on the way. Start to talk to your closest family members what is about to happen in your life. Tell them what you are going to do and why. That you need their support to succeed. Who knows? Maybe they want to do yoga with you?
Maybe you have a friend that you can do your yoga practice together with and support each other in the process? You can plan together and talk about your experiences together.
Book a private session
If you don´t know what kind of yoga program or how to plan your yoga practice it can also be great to have a private session. In this session we talk about what you need and you get a yoga program that is for your needs. I also check via email and with a follow up how you are doing, and that can give you more motivation and security.
You can read more about it here.
In yoga as in so many other things when it comes to transformation in your health you need regularity and consistency in your practice. In studies in Sweden it has been shown that practicing yoga for 2-3 days a week helps you to lower the stress hormones and gives you an increased well being. I also hear from my yoga students that coming to my classes once a week makes a big difference in their life. But what could happen if you do your yoga more than that?! Let´s say 4-7 days a week? Your life would probably change in so many ways!
As human beings we are made to have habits. When you do one thing in the same way, the same time, and in the same place for a longer period of time, it´s like a re-programming in your brain. Your body and mind automatically does things without so much effort and resistance. For example you brush your teeth every day, it is automatically done. Why? Because you get the reward. Your teeth are clean and you have a fresh taste in your mouth. You have built up this habit over a long period at the same time, place and way. It has become a habit.
In the yogic tradition it is said that it takes 40 days to change a habit. That you need to do it every day for 40 days to make the routine into a habit.
So try your yoga program for at least 40 days. Write in your calendar when and how long your practice is going to be. Keep up with the yoga practice and try to do it even though you don´t feel great every time. What I hear a lot from clients and students is that sometimes they don´t feel good before they come to me. Maybe they have headaches, pains etc but they feel better after so it´s worth it.
Below you have a pdf to get you started to plan your yoga practice at home. There are questions that will help you a lot to stick to your yoga practice and not quit.
I wish you a wonderful new yoga year!
Download you pdf here!
I have a passionate relationship. It makes me to connect with my inner self. I feel like I become vibrant & full of light and love. I´m talking about mantras. Mantras are included in Kundalini yoga and MediYoga tradition (the yoga form I teach). You chant it mentally as it helps keeping focus and you chant it loudly in meditations and sometimes in the yoga poses. Actually it was the mantras that made me fall in love with yoga in the beginning. Here´s my story & why mantras is good for you.
I had practiced yoga for about one year. I felt that this was something that truly got a hold on me deeply I couldn´t explain. In the summer I went to a yoga festival in a beautiful place on an island in Sweden. It was in the beginning of June and I had just finished my first yoga therapy 40 days challenge. (Actually that was the same program as the yoga program Empower & Balance) It had sure been a challenge doing yoga every day, but those 40 days with yoga as a therapy made big changes in me. Being a total nervous wreck and close to a breakdown before the therapy I had transformed into an amazing balanced person in harmony. Steady as a rock. It was in this state I found out about the yoga festival and me and some friends went there.
The place was beautiful with long beaches. I couldn´t believe it, it was like being abroad on an island in the Mediterranean somewhere. There were a lot of activities during the days. It started at 4 am and ended late in the evening. It was yoga classes outdoors and different kinds of workshops. I was of course very curious about the yoga that started at 4 am in the morning at the beach. And I was determined that I would participate at least once in the early morning. I decided to sleep on the beach the night before. That was a bad idea, it was freezing cold as it can be in early June in Sweden by the ocean. Anyway, the yoga started at 4 am. We woke up to some beautiful raga music. (Indian music) And the yoga started directly afte that. 1 ½ hour of yoga and after that 1 hour with mantra songs. I had of course been singing mantras before but these mantras were a little bit different, more difficult to remember and to sing. Fortunately there were handouts to follow the mantras.
Next to me a man was sitting, and he had probably sung this one hour Aquarian Sadhana a thousands of times. It was beautiful. It was like the mantras flew straight into my heart. It was love at first "sight", or should I say "singing".
We were sitting there for one hour singing on this beautiful beach and I felt that I was home. I belonged there together with those mantras. I don´t know about you but I believe in reincarnation and what I felt there at that moment, was that I must have done this before somehow in another lifetime. What these mantras did to me felt like coming to heaven.
Why is it good to sing mantras?
That singing makes you feel good, may not come as a surprise. There is something in the vibrations that reaches deep inside of you and in the yogic tradition it is also said that the tongue touches points in the mouth that has an acupressure effect. It affects the brain. What I feel and what my students also say about singing mantras is that it makes you feel good.
1. It increases your intelligence
Yes you heard right! It has been shown in studies that music can increase you IQ. In a study in US the IQ numbers were increased from 110 to 119. The music they used in that study was Mozart, (so I don´t know what affect other kind of music could have).
2. It can have a huge impact on your brain
Alzheimers Research & Prevention Foundation has been making studies on one particular Mantra meditation: Kirtan Kriya. In their studies they found out that Kirtan Kriya for just 12 minutes a day can improve cognition and activate parts of the brain that are central to memory. By the way, this is the meditation in Empower & Balance. It´s a very powerful and transformational meditation everyone should do in their yoga practice at one point in their lives.
3. Mantras help you to control your mind
Mantras can be a tool to help you to control your mind. Focusing on a mantra mentally or singing it, helps you not to be in your chattering thoughts. Focusing on mantra makes it more difficult for your thoughts to wonder around.
4. It has healing effect
From a yogic perspective mantra is about healing and open up your flow of energy in your chakras. The Indian yogis carefully and in detail have investigated the mantra vibratory effects for many centuries, and with its help linked up into a higher state of consciousness in harmony with the universe. One mantra that I love, is included in the yoga program Connect and Heal. it has a very lovingly healing effect.
5. It is a kind of affirmation
When you repeat a mantra, either in your meditation or in your yoga practice, the mantra in itself has a meaning. For example: One mantra we use in my yoga form is Sat Nam. It means I am true or Truth is my name. Repeating this mantra over and over again has some effect on you. For me personally the meaning of the mantra is not so important. I rarely remember the meanings. I just have trust that the mantra will do its good work anyway.
Why use mantras and not words you use in your own language?
It has been shown in a study in Sweden mantras have a better effect than, let´s say, just ordinary words like chair or table. It affects other parts of the brain. For me singing in an ancient language makes me feel more in harmony. Sometimes it can even be an advantage not to know the meaning of the mantra. But sometimes we actually sing in English in my yoga classes, but it´s very rare. What I hear a lot from my students is that they really love mantras. It makes them feel good.
Now I know that whenever I feel a little bit out of balance I can get some help coming back in harmony again singing some mantras. It is actually one of my best medicines to come back in balance again.
Do you use mantras? What kind of mantras?
If you are curious about singing mantras I can recommend two of my recently released yoga programs. Both of them have mantras included in the meditation.
In my last blog post I wrote about why loving yourself is so important for healing. You can read about it here. I find that some days you need to give yourself more love than others. Over the years I have my strategies or tool box to give myself some love. I want to share them with you here. Maybe you have your own tools? I´d love to hear what they are!
Of course there are many yogic techniques you can use. In the yogic tradition love is in the heart, the heart center. And as we always work with the chakra system in yoga there are great yoga poses and meditations you can do for your heart.
Here you´ll find a mini yoga set for the heart.
This meditation is very good for self love. Check out the video here.
One yoga pose that really opens up in your heart center is Camel pose. It opens up the whole front of your body, is great for your back and especially opens up your chest and heart center. If you find this pose difficult you can start with the modified version and over time do the full pose.
This is how you do it.
Sit on your heels in Rock pose. With your spine straight. Kneel upright, reach back with one hand and grasp the heel on that side. Repeat on the other side.
Press the hips and thighs forward. The chest is lifted up and the head is tipped back but not dropped fully. Breathe deeply for 1-3 minutes in this pose.
Instead of grasping your heels with your hands you can support your hands on the lower back instead. Kneel upright and place your hands on the lower back at the waist level. Press your hips & thighs forward, lift your chest up and tip your head back. Breathe long and deeply for 1-3 minutes.
As I wrote in the blog post last time, you need to observe your inner dialogue. How you talk to yourself. Giving yourself a hard time and beating yourself up doesn´t help. Words are energy and they affect you from inside out. One way of breaking this negative self talk is to say affirmations. One way is to do mirror work, as Louise Hay teaches. Stand in front of a mirror and say: I love you, I really, really love you. It may feel awkward the first time, but after a while it gets easier.
You can read more about affirmations here.
Give yourself some self care
Taking care of yourself and nourish your body and soul is truly self love. To touch your body being gentle with yourself. To ask yourself: What do I need right now?
For me this can be to go for walks, taking a nice Epsom salt bath, massage myself with oils and just to take care of myself. Of course my daily yoga routine is a big part of my self care.
What do you do for yourself?
Do things that uplifts you and make you happy
What makes you happy? No limits! Write down 10 things that makes you happy. Do more of this. This is my list:
What do you do to give yourself some self love? Would love to hear from you! Please comment 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´m standing in front of an audience. I´ve been asked to give a lecture about nutrition. I´m so nervous. This is the first time I´m giving a lecture about it. I´m so passionate about the subject and love helping people, but I was not prepared for this huge anxiety. I´m so hot, sweaty and shaky. I try to take a deep breath, the chest is tight. It´s time to start. I see the people in front of me, looking at me, waiting for me to begin. The first, maybe five seconds, I black out. Can´t remember anything at all. It feels like 2 hours passing by, but it´s only 5 seconds or so. But I get back to reality, calm down and start the lecture. The lecture goes well, they loved it. I was too anxious to enjoy it 100%. My anxiety took over.
A couple of days later, I crash. Physically and mentally. The pressure becomes too much, the anxiety too intense. I feel totally exhausted. It took some months for the doctors to figure out that I was struggling with anxiety. But today I´m grateful that this happened. This was the beginning of finding my way back, figuring things out, growing as a person and not running away from the anxiety feeling.
Since this happened I´ve been working with my anxiety. Finding my strategies and tools that work for me. Just like I did with my endometriosis.
Today I want to reach out to you, all of you, who try to cope with your anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety or panic attacks. Having an illness can lead to anxiety. You struggle with a painful illness, dealing with doctors, work, family and friends who maybe find it hard to understand your illness. Maybe you isolate yourself because of this and build up social anxiety. Not knowing how you will feel tomorrow, what is going to happen, can also make you anxious. So this is why I share my story and hopefully some of the following tools can help you too, if you are dealing with some sort of anxiety.
Here are my 5 tools that have worked for me:
1. Yoga and meditation
Yoga has been so important to me to cope with my anxiety and stress. Yoga calms you down and lowers stress. You also become more mindful and can observe your thoughts and emotions. When you are anxious you only want to escape, but in yoga you learn to observe. Yoga also helps you to change your patterns and not to be absorbed by your feelings.
Try this meditation, it´s great for anxiety: http://www.endoyoga.com/blog/a-meditation-if-you-are-stressed-like-crazy
Here are some yoga poses to reduce stress: http://www.endoyoga.com/blog/3-yoga-poses-that-reduces-stress
2. Breathing exercises
To breathe long and deeply can be a great help if you are anxious. In the psychiatric health care in Sweden it is included in the Cognitive Behavior Therapy the use of different breathing exercises. When we are anxious we tend to breathe very shallow. This often leads to tension in the muscles and pain. Not getting enough oxygen can give you headache, which is very common in anxiety disorders.
Here is how you breathe long and deeply.
Here is a great breathing exercise for anxiety.
3. CBT and ACT
When you have anxiety problems, you often have a problem with negative thought patterns. You think that you know what people think about you or that bad things are going to happen to you. Yoga can help you a little bit with this as you practice regularly over time, but I find the best way to deal with this is to go to therapy, either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).
CBT is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients to understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. You learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior. You also learn how to expose yourself to the things that give you anxiety.
ACT is to accept what is out of your personal control, while committing to action that will improve your quality of life. You learn how to deal with painful thoughts and emotions so they have a lesser impact on you. You also learn what is important to you and has value so you can change your life into the life you want to live. The problem with having anxiety is that you it´s so easy not to live your life fully, you avoid things that are too painful for you and miss out life. Mindfulness is a tool in this therapy. A great book about this is Happiness Trap.
Going to therapy is one of the best things I´ve done. In my case it was a mix of CBT and ACT. It was a lot of anxiety exposure and homework. Actually I taught the group how to breathe properly, so that was kind of fun.
If you have social anxiety I can recommend to take a look at Calm Living Blueprints website, There is great information and also podcasts you can listen to.
I know that you can get anxiety from other health conditions like anemia, hormonal imblances and menopause etc, so it is not certain that it always is “in your head”, just want to point that out.
4. Balance your VATA
In the ayurvedic tradition anxiety can be an imbalance in your dosha VATA (one of the three personality types in Ayurveda). Vata has a tendency to be energetic, creative and flexible if they are balanced. If they get imbalanced they can feel anxious and overwhelmed. It is so important for Vatas that they have good routines during the day (which they don´t like, they want to be more free) and they need to finish things that they started, doing one thing at a time. They also need to avoid stress since that can make them forget their routines like having regular meals, taking breaks during the day and going to bed at a regular time.
It is a lot I can say about Vata, what they need, but this is what I find the most important for me to stay about how to balance it:
You can read more about ayurveda and doshas on Deepak Chopras website.
Ayurveda is always present in my life. I try to follow the “rules” for vata, but it´s not always easy as Vatas tend to be absorbed in their work and creativity and forget about time.
5. Connect with nature
Connecting with nature can have a calming effect. So if you are anxious it can be a good idea to take the time and be in nature. Listening to the birds and feeling the wind touching your skin. What is very calming is to have you bare feet in contact with the ground, so if you can, try to walk or sit with your bare feet on the ground as much as possible. For me this has a very calming effect. You can check out David Wolfes video, where he talks about earthing.
So maybe you are wondering if I have held more lectures? Yes I have, and last time it was a huge difference in anxiety intensity, it was way less. It was also a big problem for me to shoot my yoga videos when I started, it´s kind of the same feeling as standing in front of an audience, but now after I´ve done that a lot it´s no problem anymore. Teaching yoga is ok though, I have done it since 2008, so I have already exposed myself to that a lot, so I have no problems with that.
I use all 5 steps above as much as I can. Sometimes I slip (especially nr 4), but most of the time I stick to them. My biggest lesson here is not to run away or avoid things in life. The more you expose yourself to things the more you get used to it and the anxiety disappears. And it´s not only about making anxiety go away, it´s also about being in that feeling, not to be afraid to observe how you feel. So all of you who have anxiety, there is hope and there is help.
Do you have anxiety problems? How do you cope with it? What has helped you? What is the most difficult? Please share!
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!
When I´m writing this I´m in the middle of a detox. It all started with a lecture about hormones. I felt that I´ve started to reach some kind of perimenopausal issues and wanted to know more about this with the combination of endometriosis. I´d tried some herbs but actually they made me worse. I felt I wanted some more knowledge about supplements so I went there. I talked to the speaker about this and she said that “Well did you detox before you started with the supplements” “Hm, no”. I hadn´t thought about that I needed to detox before starting with supplements. So I decided I to do a detox. And here I am. And I´ve detoxed before, always feeling terrible, but I´ll tell you I feel great this time!
So the reason I started to think about this was that I´ve had some problems lately with insomnia, anxiety and headaches. My intuition told me it is some kind of perimenopausal problems. My approach is always, before taking herbs or other supplements, to keep a good diet and do my yoga programs, and if this isn´t enough I take herbs. But since this is my lifestyle and I´m already doing that, I figured out I needed something more. I tried some supplements and herbs and they just make me feel worse. My endometriosis pain came back and my headache got worse.
So going to this lecture was a blessing. I didn´t learn so much more about hormones that I already did, but what I did learn was the importance of detoxing before you start with supplements and herbs.
What happens in the body if your liver doesn´t work?
The liver is the cleansing organ in your body. It helps to neutralize the toxins, hormones and other bad stuff in your body. If this doesn´t work the toxins just continue to flowing around in your body in the blood circulation and you get all sorts of problems. In my case the headache was the most problematic. Another issue if you have hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance is that the liver doesn´t break down and neutralize the hormones so they continue to circulate in your body making you feel terrible.
If your liver doesn´t detox properly you can have symptoms like:
Have anything of this? Wow, when I read this list I have maybe 50% of this symptoms.
I have detoxed before, all from a hardcore 6 week panchakarma in India to shorter and more simple fasting/detox. The detox I´m doing now is a half-fasting for two weeks, maybe I´ll do it longer. Mostly I feel horrible when I detox, so I decided to do a program with supportive supplements. And I decided to do it after my yoga courses finished in June so I could only focus on the detox. Being a week into the detox I feel great! My headaches are totally gone! I´m a little bit tired but overall I´m doing well. I feel much lighter and I´m not as hungry as I thought I´d be.
So my advice for you that has problems with headaches, sensitive to supplements and have hormonal imbalances. Do a detox. It´s so worth it! Support your liver with food that helps the liver!
Have you detoxed? What kind of detox? Did it help you? Please share below!
Since I was born I´ve been very sensitive. I pick up energy, other people ´s feelings and think they´re my own. I get very stressed by loud noise and when it´s too much clutter around me. So when I read the book the Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron a couple of years ago, I totally recognized myself. I was not crazy. To be this sensitive can take a lot of energy and also makes you isolated cause you can´t expose yourself as much as you want, going to parties, meeting friends in busy cafes etc. But there are things you can do to not get too overwhelmed.
Take care of yourself
My chiropractor once compared being this sensitive with music. He said that sensitive people are like a symphony. If the CD with the music is being played on a high-tech stereo you´ll hear all the shades in the music. You´ll hear the violins, the flutes, trumpets totally clear. It becomes a beautiful symphony. You´ll hear the beauty of the music and will enjoy it. If you play the CD on a low quality stereo the experience of the music will not be as clear and good. You will not enjoy it as much as on the good stereo. The music will not come to its right. So if the stereo is what you need to function and enjoy life, as a sensitive person, it´s more important for you that you take care of yourself than if you´re not a sensitive person. You´ll need your sleep, good food, recovery, being in nature, meditation & yoga to stay in balance.
So what I want to say is, it´s important that you take care of yourself to be able to use your abilities as a sensitive person. I don´t find it only bad to be sensitive, it can actually help you in your life in many ways. For me, for example, I use it as a yoga teacher knowing what the students need in the yoga class. I use it when I have to make decisions about things. I use it to enjoy all the nuances in the nature. I don´t think I´d want to be without it. It´s just more important for me to really take good care of myself.
Find your breath
There can be situations when you get overwhelmed without warning. When you get overwhelmed, the first thing that is good to do is finding your breath. Take a deep breath and breathe long and deeply for a couple of minutes. This calms you down. You can check out this video how to breathe long and deeply if you haven´t tried it before.
When I realized I was sensitive I learned that it was good to protect myself from others energy. I learned that I should protect myself with light, or imagine being inside if an energy field with the shape as an egg. This has not worked very well for me, it has felt like I´m suffocating. I think if you are balanced you don´t need to protect yourself so much, but if you do there are a great way I´ve learned from a friend.
Imagine you have a lot of tentacles going out from your body, like sea weeds. When you get affected of other people´s energy they are out there sensing everything around you. When you need to get away and protect yourself, you just roll or curl them into your body, like a party horn rolled into a coil. When they are in, you don´t feel others energy anymore. This has been the best method for me staying balanced and not getting affected by others energy.
Are you a highly sensitive person? How does it affect you? Do you have other tricks to manage? Please share!
I got a question from one of my yoga students a couple of weeks ago, if I could suggest some good books for her to read. Oh do I have suggestions what to read?! Yes, you bet I have! I devour books, especially health books. It can be books about yoga, nutrition, specific problems like endometriosis, anxiety. Sometimes I think I should read a lttle bit more ordinary novels but can´t help my passion for non-fiction books. It´s fun and gives me knowledge that I need to develop as a human being and as a yoga teacher working with health.
Here are my top 5 books at the moment:
1. Balance your hormones, balance your life
Author: Claudia Welch
2. Endometriosis a key to healing and fertility through Nutrition
Author:Dian Shepperson Mills & Michael Vernon
3. 12 Steps to Raw Food
Author: Victoria Boutenko
4. The Highly Sensitive Person
Author: Elaine N. Aron
5. The Pain Cure
Author Dharma Singh Khalsa
What are your favorite books that have helped you in your healing journey? Please share so we can add on the list!
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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.”