Author Archives: George Mantoan

Ask Amy: Question # 2

What does it mean to link body, breath and mind together during asana?  I keep hearing that phrase and I don’t understand what it means.  Please explain.

We are just asking you to link your body to your breath, by using your mind to focus.  So instead of mindlessly lifting an arm with a random breath pattern, while you think about your grocery list….we ask you to be more focused.  Start the exhalation as you begin to extend your arm across your body.  Finish the exhalation just as your fingers touch your shoulder.  Use your mind to coordinate the breath with the movement and actually feel the muscles in your shoulder.  This is yoga.

AWAAblogpic1

 

Twist on the exhalation phase of the breath.

Gently engage your lower abdomen as you exhale into the twist.

Focus your attention on your abdominal region.

Redefining our Relationship with Food- Blog #5

osol-horizontal-optima-3x2-72Those who do not find joy in eating a healthy plant based diet may need to redefine their relationship with food.  Food can be nourishing, it can make us feel energized and light.  Giving energy and lightness to our systems was the original intention that was planned by a higher force than you.  We can do just a few simple things to change our perception of food.

1)  We can thank Mother Earth before we begin for sharing her bounty with us.

2)  We can bless of all the people that made a contribution to us in the transportation and preparation of the food.

3)  We can slow down and allow the taste, texture and smell of the food to nourish us.  4)  We can realize when we are trying to cover up frustration or anxiety by eating food, and sit with those feelings.

It sounds like these ideas are a waste of precious time and will not contribute to our weight control goal.  But you see, every change starts in the mind with an intention.  So you bless Mother Earth for 40 days at each meal and suddenly, something starts to shift within you.  It is a gentle way to approach the problem.  You do not have to change physically at this moment, you just need to plant the seeds to tenderness around your eating habits.  When you do this for some time, the physical reality will shift with ease.  Some people might say that this sound familiar because popular books like “The Secret” tout that mind controls matter.  But the difference here is that you are making the mental shift as a way to nourish yourself and you let the outcome go.  This is a very big change in perception, and an important one.

Soon enough you will find that you are eating small quantities of high quality fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins will make us feel nourished.  The key to using food as nourishment is to figure out how to get small quantities of high quality food into our systems a few times a day and to do it with an attitude of wanting to take good care of ourselves because we are worthy of this care.

Click here for a an online workshop series called, "Yoga and Emotional Eating."

Our Patterns with Food- Blog #4

osol-horizontal-optima-3x2-72Write down the times you are likely to over-eat, or make poor choices.

Keep a journal of what happened the day your over-ate or made poor choices.  See patterns emerge.  If it first you do not succeed, try and try again.  Discuss replacement of your not-so-great habits and patterns with more positive ones.

1)  After a long day of work when I am tired

2)  When I have had a fight with my husband

3)  When I feel the need to numb out from stress

4)  When I am emotional and hormonal before my period

5)  When I am in a hurry  and have no time to cook

6)  Where are no good food choices in the house

7)  When I don’t have the money to make a healthy food choice

8)  When I don’t give a shit about my weight

Now match up solutions with the times you are likely to over-eat.  Keep a copy of this and refer to it until the solutions become second nature.

After a long day of work, I will reward myself with a green drink from the smoothie shop.

When I have a fight with my husband, I will call up my BFF and get some empathy.

When I feel the need to numb out, I will turn on a funny movie.

When I am hormonal I will eat protein and stay away from simply carbs.

When I don’t have time to cook, I will ask for help from my husband and tell him what to make for us for dinner.

When there is nothing in the house to eat, I will use this as an opportunity to clean out my system and eat very simply for a day.

When we are struggling financially, we will only eat whole-grains and vegetables (no expensive processed food).

Click here for a an online workshop series called, "Yoga and Emotional Eating."

Food as Nourishment- Blog #3

osol-horizontal-optima-3x2-72Good food tastes amazing, smells divine, feels like silk in a woman’s mouth.  It gives us energy.  It grounds us when we are light-headed.  It is a social lubricant when eaten in good company (or maybe bad company too).  Feeding ourselves and one another is one of the ways women have been nourished since the beginning of time.

It is also true that what once made us content, can also make us feel depleted.  When we eat too much food in one sitting, our body produces large amount of heat to digest it.  Over-eating and inability to fully digest is the basis for many illnesses.  It seems that we begin to use food to fulfill every need.  When we are happy, we eat.  When we are anxious, we eat.  When we are lonely, we eat.  When we have a big day ahead of us, we eat.  It is as if we have found that food works to manage our emotions, our energy level and our thoughts.  We choose food as the all-purpose manager of our lives.   We can never go wrong with food.  We find that what started out as something nourishing, has now become a drain on our system.

Sadly, when we try to diet because our weight has crept up, we realize that we cannot follow the diet plan.  We become confused and think, “How can this be?  I am a competent woman who can organize her life so well, and yet I cannot stay on a nutritional plan!”   It is so frustrating.

There is a simple explanation.  Too many other parts of our lives are dependent on being managed by our food intake.  When the habits around food change for the better, everything else begins to fall apart.  How will we manage our emotions without the help of diet coke?  How will we manage our energy levels without caffeine and sugar?  How will we reward ourselves after a long day of work?  How will we comfort the insecure little girl inside of us that needs to be held?  This does not even take into account that we need to find time to shop for nourishing food, cook it, and clean up afterwards.   It is no surprise that all hell breaks loose when we try to count Weight Watchers points.  It has little to do with the food and much to do with the behaviors that we have used food to manage.  So we give it up and go back to our old ways.  In the end, we mentally and emotionally punish ourselves for eating.  Eating makes us feel anything but nourished.  It is the way that we abuse ourselves.

Ideas for Self Nourishment:  Admit to yourself that you are going to need to find some other ways to nourish yourself, besides eating.  Make a list of ways that you can nourish yourself.

For Example-

1)  Smell essential oils

2)  Light candles or a fire

3)  Take a bath

4)  Read a good book

5)  Ask for a neck/ back rub

6)  Listen to amazing music

7)  Spend time with your pet

8)  Put on snuggly pj’s and slippers

9)  Connect with God

10)  Get some movement/ exercise

11)  Drink warm liquids and soups

12)  Meditate or do yoga

13)  Sit quietly and practice taking long exhalations

14)  Count the things you are grateful for

15)  Get a hug

16)  Ask for some empathy from a friend (one who knows how to give empathy)

17)  Put massage oil on your body and sleep in it

18)  Watch a funny movie

19)  Listen to an inspirational podcast (like on Hay House)

20)  Spend time in nature

21)  Write in your journal

22)  Ask for help with chores

23)   Leave the dishes in the sink and get in bed

24)  Always keep a healthy snack that is ready-made from nature (fruit/ nuts/ string-cheese)

25)  Know at least 2 healthy options for fast food on the route home from work/ school- and only use them in an emergency

26)  Keep healthy foods at home that you can eat the minute you walk in the door- a list of them on the refrigerator.

Click here for a an online workshop series called, "Yoga and Emotional Eating."

Evaluating Your Self-Care Habits- Blog #2

osol-horizontal-optima-3x2-72Women’s Deep Need for Nourishment

When I ask women what nourishes them I get many answers.  Some say “cheesecake” with a sheepish laugh.  Other women say “my kids.”  Occasionally a woman will say that she treats herself to a massage once a month.  Another common answer is: “The nightly glass of wine” or “Coffee with the morning newspaper.”  Some women say that it is making sure to go to the gym several times a week.

Sadly, most women that I speak with cannot even list one of the above-mentioned ways of taking care of themselves. When I ask what they do to nourish themselves, they stare at me blankly as if I am an alien speaking another language.  Many women get up at 5:00 a.m. and run until 10:00 p.m. through their days, weeks, months and years ,with no nourishment at all.  Every year they feel less energy, less comfortable in their bodies, more illness and increasing stress.

If this sounds like you, then it is time for a reality check.  Do you realize that you are setting yourself up for major illnesses in the future (if you don’t have them already)?  Do you realize that when you do not take care of your human body that you cannot help anyone?  That you will become dependent on others for your care?  Ironic, isn’t it.  Now is the time.  Get serious!!!

If you are already in a bad situation as a result of lack of personal attention, then you are going to need to make big changes fast.  You have gone down a road and you need to turn yourself around and start marching back towards health and happiness.  And if you are not yet in a bad situation with your health, then there is time to go a little slower and not take such drastic action immediately.  Yes, you must turn the corner and go in a new direction with your self-care.  But you can do it at a pace that does not disrupt your life; a pace that is comfortable to you. We are here to help you prioritize your OWN health and happiness!  We want to help you to create a new Optimal State of Living for yourself!

For more information on nourishment of Self, yoga therapy for mental health and women's health, go to www.amywheeler.com.

Self-Care is Your Friend- Blog #1

osol-horizontal-optima-3x2-72Are you a woman with too little energy, too little time, too little Self-love, and too little nourishment?  Do you often feel that if you just had more money you could solve all of these problems?  You dream of being able to hire a housekeeper, getting someone to help you with the kids, and being able to buy the gym membership, massages and proper nutrition that you need to feel nourished.

The purpose of this blog entry is to help you change your life for the better, regardless of your financial budget, your time and energy limitations.  It requires some major shifts in your perspective and will take many small steps to get you there.  But, you will be happier, healthier and more nourished in the end.

Why is the Modern Woman So Depleted?

Long, long ago women had a very different view of the world and of themselves.  They inherently knew how powerful they were.  And they knew that this power came form a place deep within that could not be touched, taken or hurt by another human being.  Women had a connection to their deepest heart, they knew who they were and why they had come to earth in this body. Power coming from these creative and feminine energies of the heart is indestructible, permanent, and flows easily with grace, empowering women of all ages, faiths and cultures.

Unfortunately, many women have forgotten about their internal source of power.  They have lost connection with Self, family, nature and the divine..  When women became disconnected form this source, they began to feel drained and eventually became depleted.

We need to tell women that it is OK to take care of herself and be connected to the rhythms of her own heart.. It is necessary for her to be kind and generous with herself before she can share with others.  There is no need to feel guilty for saying “no” to others; and saying “yes” to herself.  Women need to know that until they have nourished themselves, they are not going to be able nourish others, much less fulfill her life purpose.

Some women have come to believe that by being a martyr, she/ they are serving the world.  I would argue that until each woman learns to spend time each day connecting with her deepest Self, that the world will continue to decline.  What appears selfish by focusing on herself in the short terms, is actually the path towards her contributing to the world in a meaningful way.  Each woman is here for a purpose; and we will never get to see her potential until she begins to take care of herself and find more balance.

For more information on nourishment of Self, yoga therapy for mental health and women's health, go to www.amywheeler.com.

National Institutes of Health & Yoga Therapy

 

Join Amy and the rest of the International Association of Yoga Therapists(IAYT) leadership for a short recap video of their visit to the National Institutes of Health(NIH).  Get insight into where Yoga and Yoga Therapy research is today and where it is going!

Find out what the hot topics in the field are: what is being studied, what the NIH wants to do more research on, where the NIH is interested in working and more!  From practical applications to empowering individuals to embrace self-motivated health practices and lifestyle choices, the goals and direction of research and healthcare are closely aligned with yoga therapy.

 

 

Ask Amy: Question # 1

What does it mean to link body, breath and mind together during asana?  I keep hearing that phrase and I don’t understand what it means.  Please explain.

We are just asking you to link your body to your breath, by using your mind to focus.  So instead of mindlessly lifting an arm with a random breath pattern, while you think about your grocery list….we ask you to be more focused.  Start the exhalation as you begin to extend your arm across your body.  Finish the exhalation just as your fingers touch your shoulder.  Use your mind to coordinate the breath with the movement and actually feel the muscles in your shoulder.  This is yoga.

AWAAblogpic1

 

Twist on the exhalation phase of the breath.

Gently engage your lower abdomen as you exhale into the twist.

Focus your attention on your abdominal region.