Cooling Yoga

Overheated? These postures will be your new best friends. Not only are you creating length within your muscular structure, which may be the first aspect you notice – you are also improving your circulatory, digestive, and immune systems. These systems are associated with the cooling parasympathetic branch of the nervous system (our rest, digest, and heal cycle) and is our body’s natural way to process and release stress hormones. However, with summer temperatures our bodies may need a little extra help to reduce internal heat. Prasarita Padottanasana and Supta Matsyendrasana both create a cooling affect in they body by releasing heat and tension within the abdomen and along the spine. Leaving you feeling refreshed, balanced, and few degrees cooler.

 

Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Wide Legged Forward Fold)

  • From standing, side step about one leg’s distance so that your feet are parallel to one another.
  • Rotate your toes slightly inward towards each other. Pressing your feet firmly against the ground engage the outer leg, a downward and outward motion.
  • Bring your hand to hips and slightly tip your pelvis forward. Moving the body forward into the balls of the feet.
  •  Release your hands from your hips and rise the shoulders upwards, towards the ears. Externally rotate the arms, bringing the shoulder blades together, and then lower the shoulders down. Keeping the broadness across the collarbones.
  • Bending at hip crease, fold forward by sending the crown of your head forward and towards the ground and yours hips backward and up.
  • Bring your hands to the ground and in line with your heals, fingers forward. Keep your arms straight or to deepen, work to create a 90 degree angle with the elbow. Bringing the crown toward the ground.
  •  Bending at the knee slightly, bring your hips over your heals. Then work to straighten your legs. Keeping the effort of the pose in the feet and legs.
  • Once you have found a stable position, take 5-10 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allowing each breath to be longer and slower than the one before. Then return to natural breath.
  • To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hips and a bend in the knee. Slowly rise up to a straight spine.

Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)

  •  Lie on your back and pull your knees in towards your chest and rock side to side, massaging the low back.
  • With bent knees, set your feet on the ground. Press into your feet to raise your hips off the ground. Set your hips down 1-3 inches to the left.
  • Pull your knees into your chest and then allow your knees to fall the right side.
  • Keep both shoulders secure on the ground and support or adjust the legs as needed.
  • Allow the body to feel heavy for this one. Releasing heat from the core and relaxing the muscles.
  •  Once you have found a stable position, take 5-10 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allowing each breath to be longer and slower than the one before. Then return to a natural breath.
  •  Repeat other side.

 

Cooling Pranayama

Sheetali Pranayama

  • Begin in a comfortable seat (note, this breath can also be done standing or laying down).
  •  Rest your hands on your knees.
  • If seated or standing, elongate spine by reaching the crown of the head upward, keeping a slight tuck of the chin.
  • Stick your tongue out and roll the outside edges upward, creating a tube shape.
  • Inhale by drawing the breath through the tongue like a straw.
  • Upon completion of the inhale, bring the tongue back inside the mouth, sealing the lips, and
    pausing the breath for 4 to 8 seconds.
  • When ready, exhale sending the breath out the nostrils.
  • Repeat this process for 5 to 10 breaths.

Can’t roll your tongue? No worries, this next one is for you.

Sitkari Pranayama (teeth hissing breath)

  •  Begin in a comfortable seat (note, this breath can also be done standing or laying down).
  • Rest your hands on your knees.
  • If seated or standing, elongate spine by reaching the crown of the head upward, keeping a slight tuck of the chin.
  • With soft pressure, clench your teeth together and move your tongue away from the teeth.
  • Inhale by drawing the breath through the teeth, creating a hissing sound.
  • Upon completion of the inhale, seal the lips, and pause the breath for 4 to 8 seconds.
  • When ready, exhale sending the breath out the nostrils.
  • Repeat this process for 5 to 10 breaths.

Frequencies of Fire

 

We can see the fire element easiest in the summer as it is the energy that is all around us.

In our body if there is too much fire energy we may experience excess heat, a short temper, being “hot headed,” headaches, irritability, constipation, dehydration, skin conditions, blurry vision, etc.  If there is too little fire we may experience close heartedness, withdrawn, anxiety, coldness in the body, slow metabolism, slow or foggy thoughts, unclear sense of self, etc.

All of these symptoms are clues from our bodymind that we are out of harmony.  If we turn our attention into the experience we are having we can begin to understand why we are out of sync and then we can know if the imbalance is in the physical body or if there is an emotional component.  Notice there are different ways we can examine our experience - if we are anxious or in a lot of pain we may have a hard time quieting the mind to be an objective observant.  But if we can get ourselves to a state of curiosity, a state of wanting to know ones self more, then we may be surprised how much information we can gather just by quieting our mind.  To quiet the mind means to pay attention and in this case, to direct one's attention on the intention.  Here, our intention is to know why there is an imbalance in the bodymind.  When our judging mind is quieted, then we can find the sense of knowingness as to what is causing the imbalance and then use discernment as to how to take action.   Our action may be to eliminate heating foods and to take in more cooling substances (see below).  We may find meditation helps us clear heat, or doing specific body movements.  Or perhaps we have a conflict old emotional habits that is ready to be resolved,  Sometimes just the awareness of the cause of the imbalance begins to resolve it.

Like all of the elements, Fire has many frequencies (vibrations) within its domain.  As it resonates through our emotional, mental and spiritual energy fields we might experience the range of joy and playfulness, to maturation, transformation and love. Our energy follows where we put our attention.  If we put our attention on the desire to have fun, our thoughts and actions will be governed by that desire, and in turn strengthening that vibration within us.  If we’re oriented on a specific life path, we experience the fire frequencies that help us unfold (mature/transform) on our journey.  If we're on a spiritual journey we may experience Tapas, a Sanskrit word meaning "to heat, to give warmth to, to shine, to burn."  This is a frequency of fire that comes from the fire of our kidneys (will power) and the fire of our heart (Love) resulting in the desire and discipline for self purification, orto know one's true self.

Cooling Foods:

 

 

 

From the Cadaver Lab to Holographic Medicine

Just about every January I find myself plotting out what continuing ed courses I’ll be taking in the coming months.  It’s a task I thoroughly enjoy and will spend hours weaving through the web, opening internet tab after tab of links to schools, online courses, programs and speakers from all fields of medicine, art, music and movement.  In these hours I fully immerse myself in dream world as I imagine how I want to unfold as a person in my own joy and wellness and how each opportunity could better hone my skills in the healing arts. 

As I follow this experience through I find myself ecstatically looking at a self- created continuing ed curriculum, composed of books to read, podcasts to listen to, classes to attend, and teachers and peers to reach out to.  This January I found myself brimming with joy as an email from Bastyr University popped up in my inbox announcing offerings this summer.  Top of the list was a cadaver lab.  I didn’t even think twice about it, that one was a must.  As excited as I was about signing up for this class I completely forgot about it in the hustle of all the changes this spring brought for me.  It wasn’t until the weekend before the class when I got the reminder that I lit up again thinking of the experience that await me.  Now I know what you’re thinking… “Cadavers Amber, really?”  But I just had a feeling it was something that would take me much deeper into my practice.

Morning of the lab I weaved my way across the lake to Kenmore.  Sun dancing through the gentle swaying trees, cotton weightlessly floating through the air- it was truly a beautiful June day.  Going to Bastyr is something I rarely have reason to do but always cherish when the occasion arises.  My path in medicine started with the health psyc program at Bastyr, which I changed out of to pursue what, I didn’t know at the time, would turn into an ever-deepening excitement for energy medicine.

The cadaver lab at Bastry is truly a sacred place.  Filled with light, plants and gratitude, the mindful approach of the students and staff is palpable.  We started and ended our days with blessings of gratitude and let our hands and eyes be guided by this profound respect shared by the group.   

We had a small class of 11, and while we were all sharing the same experience we each walked away with a different sense of aliveness and insight.  My insight occurred while looking at a nerve bundle tracking down the inner thigh.  At this point the teacher was pointing out the sensor neurons vs the motor neurons. She was showing how the signals from the tissues move from point A, you can say, to point B and how on a gross level this is the inner workings of body communication. I humored myself when the thought arose in me that linear mapping of the body didn’t make sense to me, but that holographic medicine was key.  This was not a new insight to me per se, as I practice holographic medicine, but it delighted me to be overlaying my broader knowledge of energy to the material workings of the physical body.

The world hologram comes from the Greek words “holos” meaning complete, or whole, and “gram” meaning message.  A hologram is the whole message.  Holography is the study of the three dimensional images created using light waves that interfere with each other, creating an image termed 'hologram'.  This image can be broken down into a number of pieces and each piece with still retain the complete image of the entire hologram. Holographic medicine in western medicine refers to the use of this special imaging for medical diagnosing, practice for students, etc. 

In Chinese Medicine, the principle of holograms is the foundation for energy medicine and is part and parcel of diagnosis and treatment.  Taking the pulses, examining chakras, tongue, face, feet, hands, abdomen, head, and ears are all ways to focus on one part of the whole, but through the lens of seeing that part as the whole.  Not only are parts of the body holograms (whole messages) but each acupuncture point (small chakra) is also a hologram.  What we consider to be parts, are really wholes.  This is why you can put a needle in one persons hand to help relieve their low back pain, but for another person with the same symptom needles are applied to their belly, head, or ankles.  The art of the medicine then becomes observing the hologram (whole message) and responding to that.

 Understanding this intricate and seamless relationship of parts and wholes we can understand why Spiritual Masters have all concluded to change the world you must change yourself. When we start experiencing ourselves as whole messages we find we each have a tremendous capacity to heal ourselves and experience life untethered.

Five Fabrics of Consciousness and Original Frequencies

 

The Chinese 5 element theory describes 5 phases of energy:  Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal.  Each of these energies can be thought of as a distinct vibration.  Vibrations reflect fabrics of consciousness.  This means the qualities of each element manifest in a specific way as determined by the information (frequency) of the field in which it arises.  When we look at the elements as five fabrics, we see they exist in the realm of duality and their natural rhythm is to interpenetrate one another, creating a complicated and dynamic expression of life.  When one of the vibrations (fabrics) is out of balance, it will influence the others, and if the imbalance is great enough, it will change the overall frequency of the life force and we will feel the repercussions in our body, mind and/or emotions.    5 Element acupuncture is a specific form of acupuncture that specializes in perceiving the relationship between the elements and making adjustments to the energy field to optimize harmony.

As mentioned, the 5 elements reside in the realm of duality.  In meditation, we can have an experience beyond duality.  One way to describe this experience is the self tuning into the vibration that penetrates beyond the personality and into the realm of the Soul Plane.  In samadhi, or total absorption, we attune to the frequency that extends beyond the Soul Plane and into the Monadic Plane, the field of Original Consciousness.

Inner plane work is practices that consciously cultivate as a way of seeking what exists beyond our ego.  Our Monadic ray vibrates through all three planes – Monadic, Soul and Personality.  As we refine ourselves the timing becomes ripe for our Soul Rays to penetrate into our denser aspect of our personality.  Then our path shifts from a personal experience to our souls journey.

Esoteric Acupuncture is one tool of many that helps balance the 5 fabrics of consciousness, improving the overall quality health and life experience, and invite the awakening of the Souls Journey. 

antahkarana, Celestial fullness. by Dr. Mikio Sankey

antahkarana, Celestial fullness. by Dr. Mikio Sankey

Asana and the Elements

In its original form asana was an inner practice of devotion, reflection, and communion with our Devine nature.  In modern culture asana is usually taught as a practice of fitness, a shaping and refining of the physical body.   If we come to our mats consistently, even from the perspective of physical practice, the specific shaping of the body can draw one to a profound inner experience.  Depending on timing, this experience can take one deeper into the practice where one engages with asana as was originally intended; a discipline of bringing the mind into the body as a way of self-purification.

As mentioned here, the 5 elements as described in Chinese 5 Element Theory are specific frequencies that exist in duality.  These interconnected frequencies give shape to our personality and physical experience.  When asana becomes a mindful practice the light of the mind penetrates through the cells of the body and the body’s natural intelligence is perceived by the mind.  This union of body and mind is felt like a flooding of light that fills the physical body.  When this happens the energy fields of the body start holding more light, visibly shifting the physical body and enlightening the mind.  This practice of self purification deepens Self Knowledge and creates an inner plane that is ripe for perceiving the more subtle vibrations of our Soul and Original Consciousness. Then asana becomes the practice, the purpose and the wisdom of the seeker.

Amber West

Amber West

Numbers in Love.

Chinese and esoteric teachings discuss the process as numbers.  How originally there was One, then One, split into two, yin and yang (fear/love or contraction/expansion).  Two becomes three (signature for consciousness/Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.) Three reveals four, which gives us "withinness and withoutness"* and then five, which represents magic as seen in nature through the five elements and then six.  Six, which shows the interconnections of all things.  It goes on until we reach 10, and at 10 the ancient Chinese say from 10, comes 10,000 things, or all things.  

Each number reveals a field of consciousness.  This knowledge is important to me as an energy worker because it helps me understand how to move energy through various fields for healing.  But outside of that what value does it have?

It shows there is only one choice ever to be made.  We live in a dual reality.  While we can experience states of Oneness, by nature it is not our primary experience.  So this means all things can come down to yin and yang, Love and Fear.  To see from a numeric standpoint how numbers are esoterically related I think offers a anchor for our worldly perspective and how things exoterically are related.  If we can know from our own experience the state of Oneness, and from our own experience the state of twoness, then we can find compassion, strength, and feel the pulse of souls urgency to choose Love.  

When we can ground into our soul, our capacity to hold the broken heart of the world expands immensely and we become bigger, stronger vessels of Love.

*Buckminster Fuller

Keeping your Chakras Balanced through Winter

Winter is a time of year that resonates strongly with our lower chakras.  Chakra, translates as spinning wheel.  There are many chakras in the body, but there are 7 considered to be the main ones.  These chakras sit along our spine, beginning at our tailbone coming up to our crown. Those who are clairvoyant report each of these chakras is about the size of an orange, spinning 3-dimensionally.   Each chakra acts like an information center.   This information is energy that is expressed through our mind, emotions and body.  When balanced, the chakras allow for higher states of consciousness to be embodied.  When out of balance, the chakras can express as limitations.

Not all texts agree on the information governed by each chakra.  This is partly due to the spinning wheels overlapping.  In esoteric acupuncture the lower two chakras are seen as energies that govern our sense of stability, collective unconscious, power, fame, how we manage our money, and sexuality. When balanced, these chakras create a tremendous amount of strength and solidity within our energy field, and in turn our mind and body.

There are many ways to balance the energies of the chakras, acupuncture is just one of them.  Another way to bring harmony and vitality to these centers is through diet.  Every food and drink has its own vibration.  In Chinese medicine, the etheric spleen is understood as governing the function of absorbing and assimilating these vibrations through our energy field.  This means what we consume becomes a part of us.  If we are eating foods that are dense, or stressing our body out, that energy directly influences our chakras, which in turn influences our mind, emotions, and biology.

Our energy fields are always resonating with the vibrations of nature.  In both spring and fall there is the natural pull to release, making them ideal times of year to clean up our diets and detox.  However, as we consider that the lower chakras are in strong resonance with winter, coupled with our cultural stress with holidays and year end, a little mini cleanse might be helpful to keep you feeling steady.

Shake Off Sugar with the 7-Day MySmart™ Start

As we celebrate the holidays, parties and family gatherings are not the same without delicious foods: puddings, pies, casseroles...you name it!, and good wine.

For people who love to eat, and have a sweet or salty tooth, it's especially during this time of year that cravings heighten. Sugar/refined carbohydrate cravings can lead to hormonal imbalances in the body, increased inflammation, and unnecessary weight gain.

For those looking to ease off sugar/refined carbohydrate cravings in the new year, there's a wonderful program called the 7-Day MySmart™ Start. This program is customizable and is simple to follow, even for busy folks on the go.  

Stepping off the sugar roller coaster does not require eliminating sweets and tasty foods. When we can keep our blood sugar stable, and incorporate balanced macro and micronutrients, taming sugar is doable. We don't need to quit sweets cold turkey, as that can be jarring to the body's system. 

The 7-Day MySmart™ Start takes a holistic approach to easing off sugar cravings,  and support you in your health goals.

In early January 2017, Michelle Wong, Lifestyle + Wellness Strategist, will be guiding a group through the 7-Day MySmart™ Start. This program is perfect for those who wish to ease off cravings, transition to a healthier lifestyle, and experience the positive side benefits, which can include: better sleep, more energy, more calmness, weight loss, decrease in inflammation, and more.

To learn what's included in the 7-Day program, visit http://bit.ly/customkit

For questions and to received a discount in the program, please contact Michelle Wong (michelle@michellewwong.com). Orders must be received by Dec 30th, 2016 to start the program in early January.

- Post contributed by Michelle Wong

 

Healing at Home: How to make use of Entrainment

In vibrational medicine there are three basic ways to work with energy:  1.  You can nourish it from one phase to another.  2.  You can control it 3.  You can entrain it.

We see this beautifully laid out in the Chinese elemental theory as what is called the Shen cycle, one element moving into the next (just like one season moving into the next).  The Ko cycle, where one element controls the other (such as water puts out fire). And entrainment, where the weaker vibration attunes to the stronger vibration (Shaoyin or Heart/Kidney axis). 

While all of these have a place and use, I have found entrainment to be the most helpful for making lasting changes and the easiest tool to use at home.

Entrainment is the process where two interacting oscillating systems assume a common period (Wikipedia). During the period of commonality there is coherence.  Where there is coherence there is greater degrees of wellness, health and awareness.  The Heart Math Institute is one organization that has done quite a bit of research on coherence and what happens to individuals and communities when people start to experience extended periods of synchronicity.

When we’re not in coherent states we can feel anxious, depressed, quick tempered, fuzzy, short attention span, ungrounded and self-conscious.  We can have symptoms like panic attacks, insomnia, digestion disturbance, fatigue, mood swings, emotional instability, and illness.  When we’re in a coherent state we tend to feel more at ease, relaxed, clear headed and grounded.  In this state our body is freed from the tension of being scattered and can heal.

Meditation or focused awareness is the best way that I have found to quickly gain a coherent energetic state.  The question is then, what is it we’re entraining to?  We entrain to the strongest vibration, which most people when they experience it describe it as Love.  In the cycle of the elements the Chinese show how each vibration moves into one another.  This is a natural flow that is constantly happening on micro and macro levels.  They also show the Heart is the first energetic.  It’s described poetically and scientifically how the heart needs to be the most empowered energetic for there to be order, health and wellness within a person’s body, mind and soul.  The energy of Love has the ability unlike any other to create a deep state of coherence.  The Heart field is dynamic, opening and closing depending on our experiences.  The purpose of the meditation is to intentionally move into a state of centeredness, allowing all the fields of your mind and body to be nourished by the powerful energy of Heart Love. 

The Practice.

You can apply the basics of this to do a meditation on each chakra, any organ, feeling or trouble you may be experiencing. 

1.        Sit or lay in a comfortable position.

2.       In your mind’s eye see the area you want to work with.  Sense it.  Stay focused on it.  Don’t analyze it, just stay present with it. 

3.       Draw your mind’s eye to the edge of it.

4.       Become aware of the space around it.  Feel the quiet, pure, strong vibration of that silent space.  If you don’t recognize this space as the quality of Love, intend it to become Love. 

5.       Focusing on the sensation of Love, feel it embrace what you’re working with.  Hold your attention on it.  If whatever you are working on starts to heighten, simply intend increase the envelop of Love around it.  Hold this until the sensation dissipates.

Example:

If you experience anxiety, you can close your eyes and locate where you feel the anxiety.  Once you have a sense of where the anxiety is, hold the sensation of it in your mind.  Start to draw in the sense of Love around it.  If the anxiety feels like it’s growing, hold the Love stronger until it calms down.

 

Eating for Health and Expanded Consciousness

“The seeds of disease – the germ or microbes- would not grow and cause disease unless the terrain of environment was conducive.”  - Claude Bernard, French physiologist

When it comes to nutrition, food is commonly recognized as form of daily physical medicine, but the energetics of food isn’t as discussed.  In this 9 minute video clip by Harry Oldfield you can see the energetic field of organic raw food, compared to over cooked and he talks about the difference between organic and non-organic energy fields:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLYCa2SsNak

While having a healthy food intake is of utmost importance for one’s wellbeing, sometimes it’s not enough.  We also need to consider if the body is able to take in those nutrients:

1.       Stomach enzymes - Enzymes are special proteins that are used in every chemical reaction within the body.  In order to break down foods properly our body creates what we call digestive enzymes.   Once we turn 27 or 28 our body slows down enzyme production, leaving us short on supply for breaking down our food.  Including a digestive enzyme at the beginning of your meal can help your GI tract extract all of the nutrients the body needs from your food.

2.       Pancreatic enzymes are produced in the pancreas and deposited into the duodenum, the beginning of the small intestine.  These enzymes help regulate the acidity of food, and maintain insulin levels to regulate blood sugar levels.  If one has a diet heavy in sugar the pancreas can become overworked and unable to maintain balance.  If this happens the blood becomes overly acidic and becomes a delightful playground for bacteria, fungus and parasites.  Pancreatic enzymes can help keep the blood alkaline and can also be used, along with diet change, to break down the thick cellulous walls found on bacteria (such as candida), fungus, and parasites. 

(For those dealing with auto-immune disorders, you may consider Systemic Enzymes.  Reach out to me for more information.)

3.       Probiotics are the good bacteria in our gut.  They help us breakdown food, making it possible to digest nutrients and directly support our immune system.  Historically people did not need to take supplements of probiotics, but now given the stress of our modern day, how food has changed due to packaging and bioengineering, most people benefit from having a supplement. 

 

Healing Meditation

Below is a healing meditation, but first, it helps to know a bit about what happens in meditation so that when you do it, you are primed for the effects (knowledge primes us for experience).  In ancient traditions meditation was understood as a form of spiritual technology.  Now we use tools of science to measure and observe the biological effects.  If you were to monitor brainwaves of someone sitting quietly, and compare it to someone meditating, you would see that in the person sitting quietly the brainwaves would likely be in some state of Beta as they are thinking, or maybe they would dip down if they were starting to dose off, but what you likely wouldn’t see was any sort of coherence in the brain wave pattern.  Contrast to a person meditating, you would see neural coherence and they would be in an Alpha or even Delta phase.

Coherent brainwaves are the gates to the magic.  This coherence is the result of neural entrainment, where the brainwaves become synchronized.  It’s just like if you were to walk into a room with a hundred clocks ticking, over time all of them would start ticking in sync.  In meditation we use our awareness like a bridge to connect ourselves to the cosmic vibration, what is often referred to as the Divine, God Consciousness, Unity or Life Force.   When we do this our energy system is fortified, our biology changes in response to the new information coming in and we experience healing, mystical experiences and discover what it means to go beyond ourselves and connect to a greater mind.  More and more studies are showing people are overcoming severe health conditions (even illnesses western doctors have determined terminal) and in a matter of months be completely healed.  (Images of people’s energy fields before and after meditation will show an incredible difference in vibrancy and consistency.)

Meditation is an attunement to a coherent vibrational pattern.  It has different effects than just relaxing because we fully go beyond ourselves.  Most of our energy is tied up in the past or the future and it’s this habit that makes it difficult to be in the present moment.  When we give our full attention to the present moment we discover there is no past or future, there is no sense of self, who I am and what I like or want or hate.  There is no identity. There is not even a purpose to meditate, meditation is simply all there is.

In this deep state of awareness, the energy field of all our organs, tissues and cells start to resonate in coherence with this greater life affirming energy.  Our body becomes primed for life and it’s innate healing ability is activated.  Energies that are not in alignment with this strong vibration pattern, cease, leaving us as vibrant, coherent beings.  When we get ourselves into this state of energetic coherence and from it draw up a strong intention, such as to heal the body, our conscious choice is amplified through the cosmic vibrational network and information (energy) on how to heal specific ailments is resonated.  Each time we meditate and give ourselves this experience of coherence our body is given the experience of full health and reminded how to heal.  Done consistently and our energetic system, in turn our biology starts to change.  Many studies now show these profound effects of healing meditations.

Onto the meditations!

Meditation #1:  Balancing the charkas

Can do sitting or lying.  Get comfortable.  Set a timer if you need to, but if possible to just ride it out that is best. 

The purpose of this meditation is to bring the body into energetic coherence and use the power of intention through blessing and balancing the information centers of your personal consciousness.

Turn your attention to the dark space in your head.  Focus on it and feel it for several minutes.  Then turn your attention to the dark space around your head.  Focus on it and feel it for several minutes. 

Then move your attention to the dark space that occupies your throat.  Focus on it and feel it for several minutes.  Then turn your attention to the dark space around your throat.  Focus on it and feel it for several minutes. 

You do this focusing in and out on the following areas.  Spending minutes on each attention point.

Head
Throat
Chest
Space above the navel
Space below the navel
Perineum

Once you have attuned all of these spaces (chakras) turn your attention to your entire energy field.  Feel it.  Then turn your attention to the space all around your aura.  Feel it. 

Done properly, your body will be in complete coherent resonance and you will feel different than when you began.

Move your awareness back into the space of your perineum and bless it with gratitude and love.
Move your awareness into the space below your navel, and bless it.
Do this, moving up through your energy centers. 

When you finish blessing the head, move your attention to 16” above the top of your head.  Feel it’s dark space, then feel the space around it, then give it a blessing.

To end, we seal this meditation with gratitude.  Feel in your body the state of wholeness and complete health.  Gratitude is the energetic marking of receiving. 

 

Music for Health

Energetically, the human experience (body, mind, emotion, spirit) is composed of oscillating energetic fields.  These fields are constantly responding to and acting upon our environment, both internally and externally.   Music is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional, dynamic interweaving of various vibrations.  Resonating deep with our vibrating energetic core, the profound effects of music and sound are seen in every culture of our world and throughout time.  Listening to music affects us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

I want to share just briefly a few thoughts on how music affects us physically and emotionally.

Physically as music enters our ears the vibrations are converted to impulses that travel to the thalamus, which is a relay station of emotions, sensations and feelings.  It is through this exchange we associate emotional meaning and a physical response of moving to the music.  Emotionally music creates a mood landscape that we respond to on sub-conscious and non-verbal levels.  It’s why when we experience a beautiful piece of music we are often left speechless.

The stimulation of the thalamus also influences our sleep patterns, metabolism.  Linked to the limbic system and the endocrine system, our breathing, pulse, circulation and gland secretion are influenced. *

In general music decrease muscular energy.  From a holistic perspective, our bodies can hold memories and habits from the past or current stressors.  Maintaining a small amount of this tension can in some ways be beneficial, but if there is too much energy stored this way it can inhibit balance and growth and healthy functioning of the body.  Moving energy through the muscular-skeletal system, as well as the fascia and organs themselves is a way of clearing out and releasing any excess energy that has built up.  This is crucial for the vitality of our organs, clarity of our mind, and expression of our emotions. 

We spend most our life attuning to one of the many aspects of ourselves.  When we experience music that we enjoy, whether it is in a healing setting, a concert, or a small house gig, we can experience unity with all parts of our being.   We can enter a higher state of consciousness just from the vibrations of the sound and it’s interaction with our vibrational core. 

Practitioners of Tantra, Matnra and Nada Yoga have long claimed that all structure is created by sound- no matter how ethereal the sound may be. As we look to the healing power of music, I can’t help but wonder and explore what structural changes are taking place within us when we listen to, create or even just think of music.  From changes in the physical body, mental structures, emotional and belief systems, to the integrated structure of unity, music seems to have unlimited influence on the human experience.

It’s Spring. Are you paying attention?

In Chinese elemental theory Spring is the season of Wood energy.  Wood energy governs the functions of the Liver and Gallbladder in renewing, rebuilding, planning, and taking action.  Wood is also the energy of the Hun, translates as cloud-soul.  Hun is the yang aspect of our Soul.  When in harmony, the Hun gives the right amount of rise and movement to stir the Shen (Spirit).  If Hun is depleted the Heart (Shen) suffers, and we experience symptoms such as depression.  If Hun is in excess the Heart is agitated and we experience mania or aggression.
 
The heart is the anchor of our attention.  If there is an imbalance, then our attention tends to be scattered and dull, dwelling on the past or anxious on the future, or lost in the ego's desires.  If the Heart is balanced then the energy of the Hun will be able to do its job and caste our gaze to the future.  Then we experience one of the most profound gifts of being human- holding onto nothing but the moment and yet fiercely pursuing our own creative unfolding.
 
You can support harmony of the Shen/Hun relationship by paying attention. So much of what we do is a subconscious reaction.  Start paying attention to what you do, how you feel, and the thin threads of coincidence.  Spend time being quite.  Stop thinking and tune your attention to your inner silence.  And then make a plan. 
 
As we come into spring, energy of renewal, we have a natural inclination to make change, to clean up, to start fresh.  Everyone goes about making changes slightly different.  When I want to incorporate a new habit I think of it like a game.  I give it a trial period and I make a ritual/plan for a designated amount of time.  For example I like to do a cleanse in Spring, so I mark a day on the calendar to go through the house and donate things that I no longer need.  I pick a week to do a detox and I decide what that means for me given the state of my health that year.  

These actions feel good while doing them (and after) but the action isn't what I'm really interested in.  For me, they are simply tools for paying attention. Any act may be beneficial, but only partially if we don't pay attention while we are doing it.

Sugar Cleanse

By Michlle Wong

As we slowly ease out of the dark, wintry months and begin to embrace the fresh energy in the air and welcoming of spring, you might notice that the foods you choose shift as well.  

During the winter, we naturally gravitate towards denser foods that are more comforting, and pleasure inducing, usually in the form of heavy carbohydrates, like mac ’n cheese, and potatoes (with all the fixings!). These types of foods increase our happy hormone, serotonin, which is much needed during the shorter, darker days. But when we rely on foods to boost our serotonin levels, we can create imbalances in our blood sugar levels. 

As we shift into spring, because our body has been accustomed to the feel good affects of serotonin through comfort foods, our bodies will continue to seek out the feel-good carbs to maintain the serotonin levels. Our food choices may change, and we may gravitate towards sweets, like ice cream, sorbets, since the weather is getting warmer, and fruits are in season.

While I love desserts and find truffle fries too good to pass up, it’s important to be mindful of how often you’re grabbing these foods. If you find yourself consistently wanting sweet or salty foods, especially certain times during the day (say, at 2pm or 9pm), it can be a strong indicator that your blood sugar is off balance, and you’ve become dependent on these foods for pleasure.

This is a clear sign that you’ve developed cravings. I know for myself, when I start reaching for the same types of snacks at 9pm, my blood sugar is off balance. Our brain and body does need glucose to function, but only within a narrow range.

On a physiological level, when we eat too many refined carbs (can be sweet or salty), our blood gets flooded with excess glucose, causing our pancreas to release high levels of insulin to manage the excess. In the aftermath of dealing with the sugar spike, we’ll also experience a sugar crash – this happens after insulin has cleared the blood sugar. In a low blood sugar state, our body experiences another state of emergency, as there now isn’t enough glucose in the blood for the brain to properly function. Thus, cortisol is released to handle this, triggering us to grab convenient foods, as we need to get our blood sugar back up.

This internal stress response shows up externally as fatigue, crankiness, cravings, headaches, light-headedness and feeling out of balance. Overtime, if this pattern keeps repeating, the blood sugar imbalance can lead to cellular damage, inflammation, unwanted weight gain, and depression, moodiness, Type II Diabetes, and other degenerative diseases.

Going off sugar cold turkey is not easy to do, as our brain has become addicted to the sugar. I recommend gentler ways to ease off sugar versus quitting sugar completely.

With all meals and snacks, I recommend adding macronutrients: healthy protein, good fats, good carbs (like dark leafy greens), and fiber to all foods. Making sure you’re drinking plenty of filtered water to hydrate your cells.

Choose whole foods that are low glycemic (the glycemic index measures how fast foods will spike blood sugar upon consumption). Also incorporate a high-quality multi-vitamin and mineral to ensure you’re filling in the nutritional gap. When we’re not getting proper nutrients, we’ll also crave certain foods. It’s our body’s way of letting us know something is off balance.

Drink warm lemon water in the mornings to boost the digestive system.  

For breakfast, have a balanced, low-glycemic smoothie, that includes the macronutrients + fiber. Doing this first thing in the morning can really set your day up for success, as you won’t be spiking your blood sugar first thing, which reduces the chances of the sugar roller coaster cycle.

When we can stabilize our blood sugar consistently over all our snacks and meals, we can eventually bring our body back to balance, and overtime, can ease off the cravings.

Also, seek ways to find joy outside of food. Spend time outdoors, attend a movement class, catch a movie, or it is you enjoy doing.

If you'd like more structured support, I have a few different nutritional programs that can be customized to your health needs, and help curb cravings. You can learn more on my website: http://www.nonlinearpath.com. 

You may also email me at michelle@michellewwong.com for any questions. I'm happy to offer a complimentary 20min lifestyle + wellness strategy session, to go over your health goals and needs, and see which of the programs would be a good fit for you (or customize one for you!). 

 

To your vibrant health,

Michelle Wong

 

Bio:

Michelle has a diverse background that keeps her well-rounded. Receiving her bachelors in System & Information Engineering, she understands the demands and effects of a fast-paced job, and how when it comes to healthy changes: “if it’s not simple and easy, it won’t get done!” On the flip side, Michelle has a deep passion for movement, nutrition, and mentorship. It was through her own relationship with crazy diets, sugar cravings and binge eating that led her to look deeper beyond dieting, and what to eat/not to eat.

Michelle is a science nerd at heart, and completed her pre-med courses, and was a former Classical Chinese and Naturopathic Medicine student. She’s earned her nutrition advisor certificate from Sanoviv – a premiere functional medicine institute, as well as a certification in Eating Psychology Coach. With her experience and rich background, Michelle takes an analytical yet holistic approach to effective lifestyle changes. You can visit her website at: www.nonlinearpath.com, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Sound Baths

Sound Baths are my most frequent events and they are held multiple times throughout each month.  Sound Baths are meditative experiences where participants are invited to lay or sit in a comfortable position for the duration of the bath.  They are called sound baths because of how the sound waves "wash" over you, clearing you energy field and nourishing the body.  Baths have powerful effects on our brain waves, entrancing them into deep states of healing.  Baths are ideal if you are dealing with pain, depression, anxiety, monkey mind, stress, fatigue, digestion imbalances, or are seeking spiritual experiences to expand your consciousness (among many more).  It is not ideal to come to a sound bath if you have a pacemaker, a broken bone or are experiencing an anxiety attack. 

These baths, while given in a small community setting, are deeply personal, and experienced uniquely as everyone is in a different life process.  This makes sound healing a powerful modality for strengthening the individual and supporting a community of conscious healing. 

Making the most of your food

Winter is the time of year when many people get sick.  We hit the ground running full speed on the hopes and ambitions of the New Year and as we near Spring we start to dwindle and our immune systems weaken.  By the time Spring is in full bloom we are too worn down to enjoy it.   We all know getting proper nutrition is key in being happy, healthy and energized.  It used to be that we could get most of the nutrients we needed from food.  As the conditions of our environment have changed, so too has the quality of the food we grow and the needs of our physical bodies.   Here are some tips of how to make the most of your food.

Eat your greens!  In Chinese medicine green is associated with the Heart.  Green foods build the blood and support the liver, and the liver cleans the blood.  In science, when we break down the molecular structure of blood and greens we see they almost mirror one another.  Including greens in your diet, especially dark greens, are good for fortifying the blood and nourishing our heart.   It’s best to eat your greens raw or with minimal processing as cooking breaks and destroys a lot of the beneficial enzymes.  

Right use of supplements.  It used to be we could get everything we needed from food, but now not only is our environment deteriorating, influencing the nutrient density of our foods, many people today use food as a way to combat their psychological, emotional and existential tensions.  This leads to overeating, or sometimes under-eating, and alters the choices we make of the foods we do eat.  For these reasons many people are struggling to get the proper nutrients needed to thrive.  Incorporating high quality supplements into your routine can help your body absorb and use nutrients more efficiently, and help the body repair from the toxins accumulated by living in our modern culture.  Probiotics, digestive enzymes, Chlorella, spirulina OMGAs and herbs can all be helpful.

Soak your beans & your nuts!  Beans and nuts have nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances as natural defense mechanisms.   Soaking them in water overnight removes these enzyme inhibitors.  We need enzymes to help us digest our food.  Inhibitors clog or denature an active site of an enzyme, or bind to the enzyme, which prevent the intended molecule from binding, in turn affecting digestion and nutrient absorption.

Keep the skins on! Veggie skins are extraordinarily nutrient dense.   If you eat organic, try leaving the peels and skins on your fruits and veggies.  If they aren’t organic strip them off- pesticides and toxins accumulate on the skin and on the area between the root and the leaves (as in carrots).

Mindful with potatoes.  In classical texts it was encouraged to eat root vegetables during the winter months.  This was in part because that was what was growing, as well as what would help the body sustain through the intense weather conditions.  The potato is a well-loved root in our culture.  Potatoes can be helpful for building substance in the body and in conditions of tension, heat and dryness, can be helpful in reducing sodium in the tissues.  However when eaten in excess, potatoes can result in withering and wrinkling of the skin, skin moles and rashes.  They can be difficult to digest and can contribute to a flatulence, intestinal swelling and reduction of minerals in the body.

Resources: The Body Ecology Diet, D. Gates; Food Energetics, S. Gagne.

 

From Self-Care to Heart-Care

We know how to take care of ourselves.  Now whether we do it or not is a different story, but access to self-help information is readily available to us.  Special thanks to the internet.  And yet we’re still suffering.  People, regardless of their health, income, social status, location, or age, are suffering.  Even when we fulfill our desires- have a healthy and functioning body, access to higher education, get that dream job, have money in the bank, fall in love, etc. - we can still be laced with feeling empty, lonely, depressed, separated, or anxious. 

We can have everything we need and want and still be suffering from lack of love.  When we realize this, self-care can mature into heart-care.

We can think of self-care as taking care of the basics.  These are important things such as eating healthy, getting the right kind and frequency of exercise, sleep, stimulation, healthy relationships, etc.  These are all foundational to living vibrant lives.  This is what we have ample information at our finger tips about. 

Heart-care is more subtle.  Here we find leaders such as Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Byron Katie and many more.  We often find these leaders in healthcare and spiritual circles because they’re the people dealing with people.  They have spent hours listening, observing and in discussion with people about their suffering.  Even still, they can only point the way.  The biggest difference between self-care and heart-care is the former is typically advice that can be followed by many and successful.  Heart-care can only come from within. We can be inspired by others, we can listen to their advice and suggestions, but when it comes to matters of the heart, the journey becomes a soul affair, one that can only be experienced to be understood.

Energetically we can support the heart-path by balancing the energetic system, supporting heart energy and opening the gates to the finer frequencies of the heart.  Keep in mind energy is information.  As this information runs through our body it subtly informs our consciousness of what we are experiencing and it’s this information that our actions become an extended expression of.  For instance, someone can be standing in line at the grocery store, seemingly calm on the outside, but inside wrecked with worry about their ill parent.  Their choices on what food they’re buying, how they interact with the checker, etc. are all affected by their internal experience.  Another example could be a young woman struggling with self-confidence has learned how to compose herself in the work environment, but has developed chronic shoulder pain from the unresolved internal tension.  This is happening all the time.  What’s happening in our mind is being reflected through our body, thoughts and actions.  Our body is broadcasting this information through our energetic system all the time. 

To support the heart, we must first balance all the energy centers of the body and any areas where the body is holding stress (like the shoulder in the example above.)  Once there is a stable balance of the denser energy systems we can begin to attune ourselves to the more subtle energy (information) that is happening.  By attuning to the finer energies we can begin to experience life from a place of heart knowing.  With a solid foundation integrated within us, we can experience expanded dimensions of love.

Acu FAQs

Does Acupuncture hurt?

The needles used in acupuncture are different than needles used in Western medical settings or for piercings.  They are super thin and they are flexible and solid.  When they go into an acupuncture point often it’s not felt at all, or sometimes a slight prick.  Acupuncture needles are only entered into the body where there are no blood vessels, nerves or organs.  Once the needle is in you will likely feel the qi responding to the needle.  People tend to describe it as a tug, warmth, or a buzzy sensation. It is a relaxing yet energizing experience.

 

How many sessions do I need?

Whether we’re addressing an acute injury, life transition, or chronic illness, acupuncture works with the qi to create a new habit, or a new way of processing/moving through the body.  Like creating any new habit, it takes a little more effort up front.  In my experience, the best results are experienced with 1-2 sessions a week for 2—3 weeks.  This time allows us to create a foundation and reinforce the support and nourishment for the changes we want to make.  As the effect of treatments accumulate we can space scheduling out as appropriate for each patient and still maintain progress.

What is Tui Na?

Within the practice of East Asian Medicine is a form of is a form of energetic massage called Tui Na (pronounced “Twee Naw”).  This approach to bodywork focuses on moving energy through the channels, releasing tension in the muscles and fascia, helping blood and qi (energy) flow with more ease.  This form of massage is effective at helping patients process emotions held in the body and mind, release stress, recover from acute injuries and address chronic conditions. 

Acupuncture & Energy Medicine

There are 5 elements that make up the human experience: The physical body, the body’s vital energy, the mind, the intuition and our life force. Healing is an integrative process that involves all of these levels.  Each level is immense, intricate and remains relatively mysterious to us.  In our culture we see 3 of these 5 elements addressed through medical modalities:  The physical body, the body’s vital energy, and the mental body.  The physical and mental are primarily addressed through western approaches.  The vital body is where we find energetic practices such as Acupuncture. 

The ancient form of Chinese medicine emerged within their spiritual worldview and the observation of the laws of nature.  As communism expanded across China the paradigm changed and became more materialized, in turn changing the way of eastern medicine.  If Chinese medicine has not adapted with the pressures of the western culture acupuncture would have been buried in the past like many other ancient healing practices.  Today, in our post-modern culture we are experiencing a re-emergence of spiritual curiosity and once more, we are seeing the field of energy medicine changing.  Acupuncture is embracing more of its spiritual roots.  This important shift flips energy medicine from being shaped as a reflection of our culture’s worldview to being a potential catalyst for opening a paradigm of wellness that unites the truths of both science and spiritually, and embraces the 5 elements of our human experience.

The practice of acupuncture focuses on balancing the vital energy body through stimulating (usually with needles) energetic points that correlate with the physical and mental bodies.  Our vital energy body is a trans-receiver- it is constantly transmitting and receiving information in the form of energy.  Energy is subtle and operates non-linearly.  This means our vital body is constantly sending out and simultaneously decoding subtle information.  This information has effects beyond what is measurable by science at this time. 

Acupuncture and energy healing are resonant modalities.  Resonant means to re-sound, have a strong tone, to echo.  When something puts off a strong resonance weaker frequencies will entrain to it.  A classic example of this is in a clock shop; the clock with the strongest “tick” will over time coax all the other clocks to tick in sync with it.  Energetic practices such as acupuncture tune our energy fields allowing us to emit stronger and more coherent frequencies.  When we experience coherent energy fields we feel more balanced, at ease, vital, empowered, integrated, healthy and overall a deeper sense of wellbeing.

In addition to acupuncture I often blend in my sessions other resonate tools such as tuning forks, light therapy and essential oils.  Each tool helps strengthen my client’s energy field and in turn has positive effects such as unblocking stagnation, reduce pain and inflammation, calming the nervous system and resetting patterns.  Many of my clients have had much success in dealing with conditions like insomnia, anxiety, depression, chronic and acute pains, chronic fatigue, arthritis, MS, digestion disorders, fertility, migraines and seeking self-cultivation.