Who doesn’t experience the occasional achy back or joint pains? Lately, I have been hearing more and more friends, students, and strangers complaining about chronic inflammatory pains, due to any number of environmental, physical, and stress-related issues. With these pains comes stress and depression, especially after visiting clinician after clinician and never receiving a confirmed diagnosis or solution to your pain.
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This year I finally came to terms with getting all my check-ups and making sure that my mystery aches and pains were not anything more serious. I have come to terms with the source of these pains remaining a mystery for clinicians long ago and was pleasantly surprised to hear my doctors recommending meditation and yoga as viable solutions to medicine.
We are without a doubt living in a time of mental over-stimulation which contributes to insomnia, fatigue, and body aches. As an IT Professional and engineering student, I burned the candle at both ends for decades. Due to this high-functioning lifestyle, I have had some strange health issues that were predominately related to stress-induced factors and primarily lack of sleep. I recall there were days, that I had to use my lunch break to take a nap just to recover from days without proper sleep. This affected my natural circadian rhythms, resulting in hormonal, dietary, and biological imbalances. It mostly resulted in my achy body. Doctors prescribed many medications to treat these symptoms, however the biggest thing I needed was REST.
It wasn’t until I quit working and focused on one thing at a time that I was able to really shut-off the distractions and start balancing my diet and sleep. Once these were consistent, my exercise routine and interjection of yoga and meditation became more effective.
The discovery of Yoga Nidra was immense to my meditation practice and my daily routine. Studies have proven that yoga nidra can supplement the release of toxins that occurs when we allow the body to fully rest. I highly recommend introducing this practice into your bed-time routine, especially if you struggle with anxiety and insomnia. Having a regular practice in addition to getting a good nights rest will flush out the toxins that need to be released from the body every night.
When I was a kid, working in the yard was a chore and visiting gardens was plain boring. Now, even though the work may be laborious at times, there is a satisfaction about clearing the brush, or planting, or just spending time in nature. It brings a sense of calm to the mind that is over-thinking. Spending a few minutes in nature on a regular if not daily basis is immensely clearing. Even though I suffer from allergies, taking a walk or sitting outside in the morning or evening helps to create a sense of mindfulness and appreciation for the day that is about to begin or about to end. Whether you bring nature indoors or are able to spend time outdoors, you revive your body with vitamins and oxygen from the environment and invite stillness into your present moment.
I am on the cusp of forty and I feel younger today then I have ever felt. I attribute a big part of this energy to infusing natural detoxifying spices into my diet and skin for the past 10 years. Fresh ginger, powdered turmeric, and sesame oil are part of this daily routine and I love making immunity shots using fruits and spices to help clear sinus, digestive, and joint issues that may be bothering me. More than essential oils or any medicine, these three things have helped me from the inside out to correct imbalances in my skin and health due to illness or environmental stresses. The are a wide range of uses for ginger and turmeric from home facials to dry skin and acne-treatments. Not to mention, the anti-inflammatory benefits reducing the severity of colds and joint pains. It’s easy to be on a roller-coaster when keeping up with supplements, but these are easy to incorporate in to your cooking, skin and body care routine with minimal cost.
Learn more about other spices and complementary yoga practices that are beneficial to an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle in my reference guide Unlocking the Wisdom of Spices.
YOGA TO TRY
Supine Twist (Lie on the back, hug knees to chest, take knees over to one side for 10 breaths, then take knees over to the other side for 10 breaths)
Writer, Technologist, and Meditation Coach