yoga for depression

Because I love yoga, I’m always fascinated when I find new ways the practice might be helpful. I’ve already posted how yoga is beneficial for my migraines. Today I found this video, which discusses how yoga can be useful for those suffering from depression.

I absolutely love finding and sharing any natural remedies I come across. However, some people think this belittles whatever condition the remedy is supposed to address. That would never be my intention. Depression is a very real medical condition, and I take it seriously.

But I think one should use ALL the tools at one’s disposal. Use medication. Use counseling. Use cognitive therapy. Use vitamins and herbs and light boxes. Use cardiovascular exercise and fresh air and the support of friends and family. Use everything you’ve got. 

Use yoga, if you like.




step by tiny step

I want to write. I want to keep this blog updated. I am passionate about the topic. I feel strongly, down to the depths of my soul, that people are whole, integrated human beings. And until you address all aspects of health and well-being–physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, societal, etc.–you are aren’t really healthy at all. It all matters.

But I feel like I’m failing utterly in pretty much all of those areas, so what would I write about anyway? I’m tired. I’m physically, spiritually, and emotionally exhausted.

And I know the original  premise of this blog was that I wasn’t coming from a place of knowledge or authority. I’ve never claimed to be some teacher or guru with it all figured out. This whole thing was supposed to be about the journey, about taking those small steps and seeing where they led. I was supposed to be a fellow sojourner, stumbling along with everyone else.

Only I think I stumbled straight off the cliff. So definitely don’t follow me.

But I guess I need to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and admit that I don’t have it all together. Admit that sometimes I don’t have any of it together. And sometimes I can’t even bring myself to care a whole heck of a lot.

It really is a journey. And it has a whole lot of detours and switchbacks.

But maybe if I go back to just taking baby steps–teeny, tiny, wobbly baby steps–I can find my way back to the right path.

Fall down seven times; get up eight.

–Japanese proverb

Today I went back to basics–I did yoga and drank water. I journaled, did my Bible study, and prayed.

And I stood back up.

link love

Confession: I’m mostly posting these so I can find them again easily. Is that cheating? If so, sorry.

But while reading an article on good starting workouts when you’re out of shape, these two routines popped up. And since I do fit that criterion and I do love yoga, I thought I’d hang on to them.

And maybe someone else will find them useful too. 🙂

Slow Flow Yoga Sequence


the one with the lists

Yeah, I’ve been watching too many episodes of Friends on Netflix. Sorry.

But when your assignment is to make a list, what else is there to title this post?

Besides, I like Friends. So you can put that on my list.

Actually, since the goal of this blog is to explore the various aspects of health, I’ll list things that help me stay sane, healthy, and whole. Three separate lists for your reading enjoyment (although some things obviously overlap and could fit on more than one list).

Things that make me feel healthy spiritually:

  1. a good, in-depth, inductive Bible study–lots of “meat”
  2. singing hymns
  3. reading and/or praying Psalms
  4. a good church service, with powerful worship and teaching and Communion
  5. a deep discussion of theology
  6. being able to help someone in some way
  7. reading a piece of rich Christian writing
  8. seeing beautiful stained glass windows
  9. seeing answered prayer
  10. seeing God’s handiwork in nature (especially fall leaves and spring blossoms)

Things that make me feel healthy physically:

  1. remembering to drink adequate water
  2. walking
  3. yoga (I’m not really good at it. It doesn’t really matter.)
  4. being well-rested (No, it doesn’t happen often.)
  5. green smoothies
  6. big green salads
  7. grilled fish
  8. being outside (fresh air and sunshine)
  9. not having a headache (I cherish those days!)
  10. herbal teas, supplements, essential oils

Things that make me feel mentally and/or emotionally healthy:

  1. coffee (Seriously, you don’t want to deal with me if I haven’t had coffee.)
  2. a long chat with a friend
  3. a good novel, where the characters seem real and I can get lost in the story
  4. a good nonfiction book, where I learn something or I’m challenged in some way
  5. writing (You knew it had to show up somewhere.)
  6. music
  7. remembering to be thankful for all that I have
  8. laughing–really, really hard
  9. the various fandoms I’m involved with–really. I need my fellow geeks and nerds and flailing fangirls.
  10. coloring! What did I ever do before adult coloring books were a thing? I’m sure I don’t know.

What keeps you sane, healthy, and whole?

yoga for migraine

When it comes to migraine, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth way more than several pounds of cure. Treating all the symptoms of migraine while in the throes of it isn’t always that effective–and is never pleasant.

So over the years I’ve developed quite the arsenal of prevention techniques. So far I’ve seen the biggest impact from daily doses of magnesium (500 milligrams) and riboflavin (400 milligrams) and from regular yoga practice.

One day I wondered if anyone had ever done a specific yoga routine for migraine. I had run across yoga for back pain relief and a few other specific conditions; why not migraine as well?

I did some searching. I found dozens of routines.

So I sat down with pen and paper (I’m old-fashioned that way) and made notes on the poses each recommended sequence mentioned. When I finished, I realized that some poses showed up over and over again.

I marked how often each pose showed up. I studied the sequence orders given. And I noted which poses were ones I already liked or was familiar with or at least thought I could do.

And I created my own yoga for migraine routine.

I won’t pretend that I do the sequence every day. And I won’t pretend it’s the only yoga routine I follow. But if I’m consistent about including it in my rotation on a regular basis (my goal is at least a couple of times a week), I do find myself having to reach for my migraine remedy less often.

Maybe it will help someone else as well.

Yoga for migraine practice:

  1. Cat pose
  2. Mountain pose
  3. Mountain pose with upward stretch
  4. Side stretch right and left
  5. Standing forward bend or an easier version
  6. Wide-legged forward bend
  7. Triangle right and left
  8. Tree pose right and left
  9. Downward facing dog
  10. Upward facing dog or cobra
  11. Child’s pose
  12. Seated spinal twist right and left
  13. Seated neck release (first pose shown on this list–which is a great list, by the way!)
  14. Seated side stretch (number 5 on the same list as above)
  15. Seated forward bend
  16. Bridge
  17. Happy baby
  18. Knees to chest
  19. Reclined butterfly/supine bound angle (my all-time favorite! I basically can’t do yoga without doing this pose)
  20. Legs against the wall (this was the very first pose I found recommended for migraine. Highly recommended)
  21. Straddle against the wall (basically just how it sounds–stay against the wall, but move legs to a straddle position–at this site, scroll down to find “wall straddle”. Again, feel free to browse here–it has a whole routine of poses done against the wall. Kind of different)
  22. Corpse

If you decide to try this, please let me know how you like it. I’d love to learn that it helped someone else! I’m also open to suggestions–poses to add, things to change around, whatever.

the kingdom belongs to such as these

I had a headache yesterday. A I’m-trying-not-to-cry-because-it-will-only-hurt-more, I-hope-I-don’t-throw-up-or-maybe-I-do-because-I-feel-better-afterward, don’t-ask-me-to-do-anything type headache.

It stinks. You probably know that.

And it reminded me of this post, which I started weeks ago (after my last headache).

I started it on a Sunday, then never got around to finishing it, then completely forgot about it.

So, many days late and several dollars short, here it is.

I have two children. Some days, due to migraines or menstrual issues, I’m not capable of being a very hands-on mom.

As a result, I’m quite familiar with mommy guilt.

Someone told me that my children would learn empathy and compassion.

I caught a glimpse of that today.

I had a headache yesterday and spent most of the day on the couch. I felt well enough today to go to church. The official medical term for the period following a migraine is “postdrone.” I just call it a migraine hangover–far more descriptive, don’t you think?

I definitely had that today.

I arrived at church and took my usual seat in the back of the sanctuary. The band started to play the first song.

It was loud. Painfully, unbearably loud.

My husband runs the sound board, so I know it wasn’t really as loud as it felt to me. He keeps a tight rein on such things and is good at his job. But oh, for my post-migraine self, it was torture.

My ten-year-old noticed me wincing. She knew what that expression meant.

So she brought me a pair of the earplugs that the sound booth stocks.

I never asked her to do that or told her I was hurting. She just saw me and brought me something to help.

I’m grateful.

who’s on this journey with me?

I’m supposed to be thinking about my ideal audience.

To be honest, my ideal audience is anyone willing to read my rambling thoughts. I’m not that picky.

But it’s a fair question, really. Who’s going to enjoy this blog? Who might benefit from it? Or am I really just talking to myself?

I hope not. I don’t really want to fill the interwebs with mindless chatter that doesn’t do anyone any good.

So whom am I addressing? Well, I’d say anyone interested in whole person health–the physical, spiritual, and mental/emotional. Maybe you won’t like my suggestions for any of those areas. Maybe we’ll take different routes to achieve wholeness. All three of these areas can lead to robust debate as to what’s right and what’s wrong. But I’d say if you’re willing to join the conversation (and be polite about it), then come on in. I love discussions and listening to others–even if I don’t end up agreeing. Hopefully there are some folks out there who feel the same.

To help you figure out if this is a place for you, here’s how I approach the three areas:

  1. Spiritual health. I’m a Christian, so obviously my ideas and suggestions for this category will be rooted firmly in that. I’ll cover things like Bible study, prayer, fasting, Scripture memorization, liturgies and rituals, etc. If you wish to discuss other religions and spiritual practices in the comments, I’m willing to listen respectfully as long as you’re polite.
  2. Physical health. I’m kind of an odd hybrid between natural/alternative health and conventional medicine (basically I get flak from both sides). I honestly see a place for both. I’m grateful for both. So you can expect to see both mentioned here. But much of my thoughts in this category will probably be related to diet, exercise, migraine prevention and treatment, menstrual comforts, and natural remedies.
  3. Mental/emotional health. I’m not 100% sure where this section will go. It’s an important aspect of health, to be sure. The time I lost to postpartum depression affected every single area of my life. But I think it’s probably the hardest to address and do it well. I’ll probably mostly quote experts here, although I’ll try to include some personal things as well. I’m certainly open to ideas in this department!

Tonight I did manage to combine all three areas in one lovely activity.  combined a cup of Epsom salts, a half cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender essential in a hot bath. It helped with some physical pain I was having, and it was mentally, emotionally, and physically relaxing. For the spiritual aspect, I listened to this album from Andrew Peterson. I bought it on CD years ago. When I wore out the CD, I bought it again on iTunes–I love it that much. If you’re in a hurry, “Just As I Am” and “Silence of God” are my two favorites.

Love and Thunder

exploring what constitutes whole health

I signed up for WordPress’s “Blogging 101” course. I love courses and learning anyway, and since this poor blog has been rather neglected I thought it might give me some fresh inspiration (read: a swift kick in the pants).

But I’m a few days late getting this assigned post up, so I guess its effectiveness in that regard is debatable.

Um, oops.

But I do still believe in this blog, and I want it to live up to its original purpose–exploring what constitutes true and total health in all areas–mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. I think that’s an important topic and one worth discussing.

I just think I might need to tweak things a bit here.

Blogs are by nature personal, so this will still chronicle my journey. It will still be my personal projects and experiments and thoughts and perceptions. But if it’s just me, I think it will get a little boring (not to mention I’ll run out of things to say). So I do want to include other perspectives. My own wisdom is limited anyway–we can all learn together what true and total health looks like, right? I’d love to build a community focused on that.

Goals for the next six months:

1) Blog 2x per week.

2) Have at least one post concerning each of the areas of health mentioned above (I’ve been out of balance thus far, mainly talking about the physical realm).

3) Have a post or two that include an interview–I’d love to share someone else’s knowledge. I get tired of my own yammering, so I’m sure others do too.

In order to ensure that I do update more regularly, here’s a “sneak peek” at what I’ve got planned for upcoming posts:

1) a couple of book reviews (one of them has been sitting in my drafts folder for ages now)

2) an interesting study I came across awhile back

3) a couple of physical health tidbits I stumbled across

4) my own search for liturgy and beauty and ritual

5) Nudge me with any thoughts or ideas you have! We’re all in this together.


an unintentional experiment: the importance of omega 3’s

We all know that omega 3 fatty acids are essential for our overall health. I can’t remember where I first read about their importance for the female reproductive system or their usefulness in migraine prevention. I just remember that as my menstrual issues and migraines got worse several years ago, the same supplement being recommended for both caught my attention. I began taking a krill oil supplement.

In an ideal world, we’d get all of our vitamin, mineral, and other nutritional needs from food. Real food–not pills. I absolutely believe that’s how it’s supposed to work. However, as much as I constantly strive to improve my diet, I’m not there yet. So I take a whole food multivitamin and several specific supplements to address my various issues.

I’d love to reduce the number of pills I have to take, though. And since I’ve been making a deliberate effort to eat more fish lately, I thought maybe I was to the point where I could drop that one. I wasn’t sure anymore how much difference that particular supplement was making anyway.

It just so happened that when I ran out of the krill oil, we were a bit strapped financially. Spending money on a supplement I wasn’t sure was necessary or beneficial didn’t seem like the best idea. So I just didn’t order a refill.

I regretted that decision.

Side note: yes, science nerds, I hear you now: “Correlation does not equal causation!” I know that. And maybe all this is a big fat coincidence. But since research does indicate the use of omega 3s for easing menstrual difficulties, I’m going to assume it isn’t coincidental.

To be completely fair, I didn’t return to the horrendous cycles I had before I started all this stuff. But I did notice a marked difference this time and not in a good way. Most particularly I had some issues mid-cycle (and I won’t bore you with the details) that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

I ordered more krill oil this week. Maybe someday I’ll eat enough fish to not need this stuff, but that day is not today.

much ado about EOs

Essential oils are all over the internet. Unless you’ve been living under the equivalent of a digital rock, chances are you’ve come across at least one post or article about EOs. Maybe you’ve read about their effectiveness, maybe you’ve read safety cautions, or maybe you’ve seen the brand wars that rage.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, really.

I’m taking an essential oils course through Vintage Remedies (and I currently have a 96.7 average, thank you very much). This is a beginner course rather than an advanced one, so mostly I’m learning just how much I don’t know. But it does help me find the balance between the use-EOs-all-the-time-for-everything crowd and the oh-my-gosh-never-use-an-EO-unless-you-have-the-proper-training crowd.

Even though it’s a short course, it covers traditional aromatherapy, using EOs in skin care, aromatic medicine, and safety concerns for children. It focuses on actual clinical studies rather than anecdotal evidence (sadly, that is SO rare). I plan to take the beginner herbalism course through the site next, because I think they do a good job cutting through the hype and giving “just the facts.”

One of the think the aromatic medicine unit mentioned was not going for the strongest oil right from the get-go. You should match the oil to the need.

So I liked this post from Beeyoutiful. There are plenty of natural remedies from which one can choose, and it makes sense to start at the bottom of the chart (where risk is lowest) and work your way up as needed. Save the more potent (and therefore riskier as far as potential side effects) for when you truly need them.

I’m not saying don’t use EOs. I still use them and love them. (I am always amazed by how well an EO blend can take out a cough.)  I see no reason to live in fear over potential side effects when using them appropriately. But do use common sense and do your own research as far as risks, precautions, proper dosage, etc.