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massage in daily life
amy richardson

The daily grind of modern life can leave you feeling tired, achy, disconnected.  It can also lead to chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, low immunity, fatigue, back pain.
Regular use of massage can help with all of these. It helps to calm your nervous system-allowing your body to calm down and heal itself, allowing you to maintain physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Scheduling yourself for a monthly or twice monthly massage is more than a luxury, it helps you to manage stress, offers relief from acute pain, and/or helps with the management of chronic pain. It has been proven to reduce tension, and anxiety, improve circulation thereby bringing fresh oxygen to your cells, and  helps to stimulate the lymphatic system aiding in releasing toxins and waste in the body.
Through the use of touch and energetic alignment I will  help your body heal itself and bring balance back to the body, mind and soul. I work to clear away unwanted energy, work your muscles and joints through various massage strokes and stretches, and encourage you to actively breathe and relax through your session.  You will sleep more soundly, respond easier to life stresses and feel better. 


Prenatal Massage
amy richardson cmt, ryt

 
Your body is going through some awesome changes as your body adjusts to make room for your new baby. These times of anticipation are wonderful, and exciting, but you may be experiencing some discomfort due to these changes:  you may be finding it hard to sleep and feeling tired, remember your body is working very hard!  You may also have some lower back pain, headaches, a change in body image not to mention some fear and anxiety!

 
Let us help you maintain your body while you nurture your new addition  through the use of a gentle targeted prenatal massage
We will help you relax, help your muscles stay supple and smooth, and aid in positive body image through a gentle and nurturing touch.  Prenatal massage allows your body to relax, and even helps your unborn baby sleep,  it has been proven to reduce the risk of early delivery, reduce the risk of postpartum depression, and helps to alleviate the strain on your muscles due to the gain and shift in weight.  As you know many of the changes are due to shifts in  hormones, and massage can help with this by stimulating glands that are responsible for these changes.  There is also the added benefit of reduced headaches and migraines.
After your baby is born come and see us for some post natal massage, this helps to allow your body to heal, bringing muscle tone back, helping your circulation, aiding in lymphatic drainage to rid your body of any waste, and help to align your hormones.  Postnatal massage also  helps to realign body weight and soothe your tired muscles from the work of caring for your newborn since we are often using muscles we are not used to using in carrying our babies around.

 Prenatal yoga helps to open up the body, readying you for an easier delivery, and a more rapid recovery.  And once you are ready yoga can help you to regain your pre pregnancy.  A prenatal massage will give you the same benefits as a traditional massage but it's also tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies.
The following articles were written for our monthly spa newsletter-a brief over view of our chakra system

Our Chakras  (written for august newsletter from blue moon yoga)
 
 
 
 
Our chakras are our connection between our energy bodies and our physical bodies.  They are seen as wheels of energy and are located along the sushumna nadi, which corresponds to our spinal column. 
 
Each chakra is concerned with certain attributes, emotions,  a color associated with it, and a period in our lives when they are developing.
 
This month we will look at the first chakra-the muladhara
 
This chakra sets our base, it deals with our sense of trust, our right to be here, safety, its color is red.
 
The muladhara is our foundation and forms when we are in utero through our first year of life.  This is the chakra that helps ground us, deals with our issues of trust  and helps us to set appropriate boundaries.  This developmental challenge coincides with Erik Erikson's trust vs mistrust.
 
When this chakra is balanced, we feel comfortable in our body, we are able to relax and be still, knowing that we are safe, and we have a sense of trust in the worlds around us.
 
When this chakra is out of balance we may feel fearful, worry much too much about our prosperity- feeling there may be not enough, or we may feel a feeling of disconnect from our bodies.
 
Things that helps to nourish and balance our muhladhara chakra are yoga, massage, being bare foot in nature, and reclaiming our right to be here. 
 
Some affirmations you can use:
 
It is safe for me to be here
The earth supports me and meets my needs
I love my body and trust it's wisdom
The world is an abundant place
 
Some yoga poses to nurture this chakra are:
 
Child
table
cat and cow rolls
gorilla
mountain
down dog
updog
cobra
and so many more
poses and walking with a feeling of being grounded and supported by the earth is very nourishing to this chakra center
 
 
Next month we will examine the second chakra Swadhisthana 
The Swadhistana Chakra  (written for the september blue moon yoga newsletter)
 
 
 
 
 
This chakra is located near our sacrum, just above the muladhara, and a few inches below the naval.
 
This is our center for our emotions (I am sure you have heard yoga teachers say, our hips hold anger), sensuality, desire, movement, and sexuality.  The element associated with this chakra is water, whereas the muladhara chakra forms our base, it's element being earth, the fluid nature of the svadhisthana is contained by our healthy firtst chakra.  You see these sytems build on and feed off one another.  Our emotions need to be able to flow just as water flows.  Movement is associated with this chakra as well, again reminding us to flow.
 
The color assocated with this  chakra is orange, and it is developing in our early lives, from about 6 months old through about our 2nd birthday corresponding with our developmental tasks of locomotion and sensate exploration of the world.
 
The demon of this chakra is guilt.
 
 When this chakra is balanced we have grace in our movements, emotional intelligence, the ability to experience pleasure, we are able to nurture ourselves and others, change and flow with the situation and have healthy boundaries.  If we are deficient in this area we are rigid in our bodies, fear change, have excessive boundaries and lack desire and passion.  If we are excessive in this are we may have an addiction to pleaure, wild mood swings, be over sensitive and invade other's bounaries.
 
Some yoga poses that can help balance this area are:
 
HIp openeers such as:
piegeon
baddha konasana
hip circles
hero
locust
frog
happy baby
 
flowing movements such as:
coat sleeves
dancing or any other free flowing movement that allows you to move your body in the ways it needs
 
Some affirmations to help this chakra are:
 
I deserve pleasure in my life.
I absorb information from my feelings.
I move easily and effortlessly.
 
All aspects of our lives can be sensual and enjoyable, just sitting and letting the sun wash over your face on a loveley fall day, eating a delicious peach, full of sweetness and nectar.  As you move through the month, find those pleasurable moments and savor them.  Take the time out of your day and just be with and relish the pleasure you have all around you.
 
Peace, Love and Happiness be yours
 
The Manipura Chakra (written for november blue moon newsletter)
 


 Manipura means lustrous gem

 This is our chakra for transforming, it is our center for personal power, our center for the digestive fire.  

Located in the solar plexus it's color is yellow, and its sound is ram.

It's demon is shame.

When this chakra is balanced we have good self esteem, are warm and self confident and have appropriate self-discipline.  We are able to meet life's challenges and have a sense of our own personal power.  It is interesting to note that this chakra is the only chakra that is not held up and protected by bones, we must really keep this area active, and strong with our will.

When we are out of balance in this chakra we may experience low energy, low self esteem and poor digestion, our mid section can be collapsed and we may be attracted to stimulanst.  If we are excessive in thie chakra we tend to be aggressive, controlling, power hungry and perhaps attracted to sedatives.

This chakra is developing from about a year and half to about four years old.  As we grow into our adult selves these centers of energy build on each other.  As with our entire chakra system the energy centers build on each other, as we grow and develop, the balance moves up... in the case of the manipua We take this fire and self confidence and it helps to open our heart, to hold us up, and help us to love and be loosen with balance and confidence. 


Poses that help balance this chakra are:

warriors/virabrdrasans
boat/navasana
leg lifts
sit ups
torso twist and all twists
some affirmations for this chakra are:
I honor the power within me
The fire within me burns through all blocks and fears.

Next month we will discuss the anahata chakra, our center for love.
The Anahata Chakra (written for the december blue moon yoga newsletter)
 
 

The heart chakra...our center for love, universal love, giving and receiving love.  As our devotional practice of yoga develops our hearts open and we are more aware of the love in our lives.  This chakra involves love and also balance as it is the mid way between the lower three chakra (which we discussed in previous newsletters) and the upper three which will be discussed in upcoming months.  This chakra also deals with our devotions, reaching out and taking in and our relationships and self love (again often a balance).  

This chakra's color is green, its element is air, and its demon is grief.  This chakra is developing in our early childhood years, around the time between 4 and 7 years old.  This is the same time we are forming our social identity, our gender roles and our peer relationships.

 It is also interesting to note, that when we leave home, when we start out on our adult lives our chakras begin developing all over again (starting with the first chakra-reestablishing our ground and stability and moving up through all of the other 7), and in our mid life our heart chakra has a surge, a revisiting of growth and this is when we re-examine our lives, our relationships, our paths, and what is often seen as a midlife crisis, is truly just a re-assessment of life and love and devotion to our paths and our dharmas.

When this chakra is balanced, we are compassionate, loving, self-loving, peaceful and balanced, and have a good immune system.  On a physical level this chakra deals with the hearts, lungs, shoulder area, so when it is off kilter we see issues dealing with these areas: issues with the heart and lungs, asthma, circulation problems, shoulder issues, sunken chest...we also may see fear of relationships, narcissism, lack of empathy, poor boundaries, jealousy...

To help balance this chakra we can do breath work (pranayama), journaling, working with the arms, forgiveness, self acceptance. 

Yoga poses for the heart chakra are chest openers and backbends such as:
cobra (bhujangasana)
up dog (urdhva mukka svanasana)
bridge (setu bandha sarvangasana)
wheel (urdhva dhanurasana)
camel (ustrasana)

Some affirmations for this chakra:
I am worthy of love
I am loving to myself and others
There is an infinite supply of love
I live with balance with others
 
Vissudha chakra (written for the january blue moon yoga newsletter)




This chakra is located in our throat and has to do with communication, self expression and creativity.  It is developing in our grammar school years, from about 7 to 12 years of age.

It's color is bright blue and it's demon is lies.  This chakra has to do with our truths, speaking them and being able to differentiate the truth around us.  If we were dealing with lies, mixed message,verbal abuse and criticism growing up we may have an imbalance in this chakra.  

When this chakra is balanced we are good listeners, have a resonant voice, and communicate clearly.  When this chakra is balanced we are in touch with our creativity and live our lives creatively.

When we are off kilter in this chakra we may have a small weak voice, difficulty putting our feelings into words, a fear of speaking...on the other side of a fifth chakra inbalance we may find that we are excessive talkers, we have trouble listening and hearing what others say, we may gossip or we may have disorders of the throat, ears, neck and jaw.

Some things to help bring balance to this chakra are:

asanasa such as:
neck rolls
fish
shoulder stand
plough

and 
practicing silence
and chanting

some affirmations for this area are:

I hear and I speak the truth.
I express myself with clear intent.
Creativity flows in and through me.
My voice is necessary.

Next month we will look at the Ajna chakra our chakra that helps with our perception, wisdom and intuition





"To fully live our truth as individuated beings is to live life as a creative act."  Anodea Judith
Ajna Chakra

 This is our chakra for perception and intuition

Located at the third eye this chakra is interseted in pattern recognition, imagination, visualization, dreams and insights.
 

The color associated with it is Indigo-the color of a deep blue pair of blue jeans.

 

This chakra develops during adolescence and helps to establish our personal identity.

 

When we have a balanced ajna chakra we are in touch with our intuition, our perception and imagination. We have a good memory, good dream recall and are able to visualize things.

 

When we are inbalanced here we may have hallucinations, delusions, obsessions, nightmares and difficulty concentrating or we may have poor vision, see things in a monopolarized way or poor memory.

 

Since this chakra is located between the third eye physically, we may experience headaches, and problems with our senses when it is out of balance, or when we fail to see the truth and patterns around us/not being open to the messages that we are receiving

 

To bring balance to this area we can engage in meditation, dreamwork, guided visualizations, and art therapy.

Some affirmations for this chakra are:
*I see all things clearly*
*I am open to the wisdom within*
*I can manifest my vision*

Some yoga poses to help balance and bring energy to this chakra are:
 
Bakasana
Virabhadrasana 3-warrior 3
Garudasana-eagle
Natarajasana-dancer's pose
Vrksasana-tree

 These balancing poses help with our concentration and to focus our awareness.

sahasrara Chakra (written for the march blue moon yoga newsletter)
 

 

  

Our final installment of the chakra series

  

Our Crown Chakra

  

This chakra is located at the crown of our head, or just above it.  It's element is thought, it is our connection to the divine, it's purpose is understanding.

  

The color associated with this chakra is violet, and it is developing when we are young adults and into our adulthood. 

 

When we are balanced in this area, we are able to perceive, analyze and assimilate information.  We are intelligent, thoughtful, and aware, open minded and able to question and are spiritually connected.

 

Imbalances in this chakra can show up as spiritual cynicism, learning difficulties, rigid beliefs or can go the other way and show us as overintellectualization, spiritual addiction, confusion and dissociation from the body. Due to this chakras location, imbalances will manifest on the physical plane as migraine, amnesia, cognitive delusions to name a few.  To help heal this area we can reestablish physical and emotional and spiritual  connections, engage in meditation, seek psychotherapy, and study.

 

Some affirmations for this area are:

*Divinity resides within

*I am open to new ideas

*information I need comes to me

*The world is my teacher

 

 

Asanas to nurture this area:

*Hare/ Sasamgasana

*1/2 Moon/ Ardha Chandrasana

 *Headstand/ Girsasana

*Corpse/ Savasana 

 

 

 

The following is a short series on the koshas-written for blue moon yoga newsletters

The Koshas

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have heard yoga teachers discuss your koshas and wondered what these were.

  

On our path to Self-realization, Yoga helps us move progressively, through each of those koshas or layers, so as to experience the purity at the eternal center of consciousness, while at the same time allowing that purity to animate through our individuality. These five levels are the koshas, which literally means sheaths.  These are:

 

The ancient yogis speak of 5 layers, each progressively more ethereal, subtle and deep. The final destination of this path is the realization that we are our self-the atman-the true self which is not based on or affected by experience.  This is the self realization that we are in fact the same life force that is within all things, that we are never changing, we become aware of the unity and the connection.  

 

But we all start where we are, and we start to work through these layers by working with the annamaya kosha.  This is our food body, the part of us that is interested in eating, sleeping, mating-survival.  And as we discussed with the chakra systems, things get stuck here, things need to move and release and this is part of what we achieve in yoga.  We work through this body and into our pranayama body using our breath.  When we have worked through these bodies we progress up to the mind, wisdom and bliss bodies.

 

But for this newsletter I want to discuss the annamaya kosha...the beginning.  

 

Anna means food. All of the physical aspects of life come and go, and are consumed by another aspect of external reality. Thus, the outermost of the koshas is called the sheath of food, or Annamaya kosha.

 

 

In yoga practice, we train this aspect of ourselves, take care of it, nurture it, purify it, so that we can both enjoy our external lives and go inward without it being an obstacle during meditation time. In meditation, we become aware of Annamaya kosha, explore it, and then go inward, to and through the other koshas. We realize at some point that, although we use this body to identify with, to function with, we are not this body, that our self (atman) is the ever present self, that the experiences we have with our annamaya kosha are that, like movies on a screen, the screen always clean and present, just a field for expression and learning.

 

When we have calmed the body, strengthened it, we move into our energy body, we do this often at the same time with our pranayama work, and being aware of our breathing.  Prana is the animator of our physical body, it brings life into our lungs, energy to our circulatory and lymphatic systems, and helps us regulate and engage in our emotions.  We all have experienced how our breathing patterns affects our emotions.  That calm when you sit and take a few deep orcleansing breaths....that pause.....

 
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