5 Great Reasons to Try (or Continue) Yoga During Pregnancy

By: Tiffany Luc


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You’re pregnant! Now what? Do you continue on in your already-established yoga practice? Or maybe yoga is something you have always wanted to try and now that you are pregnant you aren’t sure if this is the best time to begin a practice. Either scenario is perplexing and comes with a multitude of questions (as with anything in pregnancy, right?!). I’m here to hopefully shed some light on the subject and give you some of the answers you are looking for.

Currently being a practicing “pregnant yogi” myself, I have done tons of research on continuing on in my own practice safely to gain all of the benefits that yoga has to offer in this amazing time in my life.

Here are my top 5 reasons to try (or continue on with!) a yoga practice during pregnancy:

1. Less Aches and Pains
One thing you cannot avoid with pregnancy are the additional pounds you will gain and the stress it will ultimately put on your body. I know that in my previous pregnancies, by the time the third trimester rolled around, I was constantly nursing some sort of sore muscle or backache. Yoga can help all of this by continually stretching and strengthening your entire body to support those added pounds - most importantly your pelvic floor, back and leg muscles.

2. Calming and Stress Reducing
Yoga is not only made up of movements, or asanas, but also breath work. Proper breathing is important to any yoga practice and can have enormous benefits during pregnancy. By utilizing the slow, deep breath that we use during our practice, we are sending our nervous system into parasympathetic mode, which will relax and calm us. Some other benefits that go hand in hand with this will be better sleep, proper digestion and increased immunity.

3. Labor Preparation
I’m sure you’ve seen it in the movies- the doctor, nurses and significant others in the delivery room coaching the soon-to-be mom to BREATHE! This is true of course, but yoga can help us prepare better than that. Whether you realize it happening or not, we are being taught increased focus, pain-coping practices and of course, proper breathing techniques every time we step on our mat. Meditation is also another popular benefit stemming from yoga that can aide in smoother deliveries for mom and baby.

4. Bonding With Baby
One of my favorite parts of any yoga practice, pregnant or not, is how in-tune you become with your body. During pregnancy, this is especially fun because there is another little person for you to become in-tune with. My meditations shift during pregnancy to “talking” to the baby and sending thoughts of love and safety. I also enjoy placing my hands on my stomach during the final resting pose or savasana, where I am able to connect and feel tons of movement. It’s almost like baby is thanking me for taking care of him as well as myself!

5. Easier Recovery
Last but certainly not least, all of the work we continue to do on ourselves through prenatal yoga can lead to an easier recovery once baby is born. Our muscles are strong, and we are armed with tools that can help us relax and be more patient with the stresses that come with caring for a new little one.


I certainly hope this helps answers your question of whether or not to continue or try yoga during pregnancy!




About Tiffany Luc:

Tiffany originally came to her mat to help her overcome post-partum depression and anxiety - it worked, and so much more! Since then, she has found her individual identity and a deep passion to help others so she enrolled in teacher training and is currently working to complete her RYT-200. Her favorite quote is "Don't take life too seriously, none of us get out alive" and strives to create a fun yet empowering environment for her students while they are on their mat so they can carry that with them when they leave.





Yoga: A Tool In God's Tool Kit

By: Shannon Ozimok

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Ok, folks, it’s time to get real. I’m talking to my faith folks, my pious peoples, my hallelu-ers, and my amen-ers. Because you are some of my favorite people on earth. Because I love you. And because I am one of you.

YOGA. What is the first thing that pops into your head when you see/hear that word? I know what I always thought. The Beatles! That’s that thing they did when they were doing LSD and druggy stuff! That’s where those kooky people sit around chanting things and rising off the ground. That’s the……wait for it….. humanists religion. Can I get a T-A-B-O-O?

RELIGION. An organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. An interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group. Oh, gee, that sounds like some people’s job…..or their money…..or their hobby…..or their politics….or (fill in the blank). Matthew 6:24 “…You cannot serve God and money.” Anything can become a religion to us. When we start putting something far above all other things, a religious relationship has begun with that thing.

And so, we-of-faith ask: is yoga a religion? And I answer you: are you making it a religion? One yogi may choose to follow the path and ways of Ghandi, while another follows the path of Jesus Christ, but they are both forming the same shapes with their bodies and strengthening the same muscles and mindfully eating without making yoga their religion.

Then we ask again: But what about their whole “Oh feel the vibrations!” Welp, that one is a science. Everything on this planet….well, everything in creation…vibrates at a certain frequency unique to that thing. This includes words. Language. Ever put your hand to you throat while you’re speaking English? Try saying something in Hebrew (like hallelujah), now, or Sanskrit. BIG difference. English is a rather dead language, vibrational wise, but the old less evolved languages (the languages, mind you, that God first put into Man’s mouth) practically explode with vibration. It is a fact that the words you say (or, the vibrations you are emitting) do affect your mood and your surrounds. Cool, eh? Remember that Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Then we argue again: But what about all that breathing stuff? Welp, that too is a science. Our bodies are fueled by the oxygen we breath and when we start panting or shallow breathing, we are cutting off some of that fuel supply. This can lead to headaches, stress, neck and back pain, anxiety and even panic attacks. In yoga, one focuses on the breath and gains a better understand of the breath in order to fuel this amazing creation that is our bodies.

Speaking of cool—How amazing is our God!? He created these beautiful languages, each flower in the fields, every sinew and tendon in our bodies, every muscle and every drop of blood. The Bible says He knows every hair on our head. Is His creation not worth getting to know? He commands that we be good stewards over His creation. We, our bodies, are a part of that creation and should be taken care of.

I know when I first began my yoga training, I was brought almost to tears every class how the wonder of
creation. The wonder that I had so many muscles moving at the same time in order that I might just lift
my eyebrow or close an eyelid. The wonder that God has given us so many tools to heal our own bodies—mindful breath and movement. Yoga was the tool God used for me to show me these wonders and to show me His deep love for me and His love for every human being that He created. Marvelous are His works!



About Shannon Ozimok:

Shannon is a recent 200 Hour Teacher Training grad at Release Yoga Studio. She discovered yoga by chance and, with an open mind, dove in and began her training. Her style is soothing, casual, and inclusive, with the spotlight on allowing ourselves to BE what we were created to be. She loves nuggets of inspiration and often throws a story or two into her classes. The love can't be contained, and she can't wait to unleash it on the world!









6 Reasons to Visit the Chiropractor During the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is gearing up! This special time of the year is not only known for those cheerful family gatherings, presents under the tree, and bringing in the New Year with glee. It can also be the season for stress and weight gain for having too much on our plates (in both cases!)

Here are our reasons to visit the chiropractor during the holiday season to help you stay “Happy, Healthy and Whole:”

1.) Travel. Icy roads, long road trips, plane rides and carrying heavy suitcases are all types of travel “wear and tear” that can all take a toll on our bodies. A chiropractic adjustment and help relieve and manage pain associated with traveling.

2.) Digestion Aid. As we all know, healthy eating habits can take a back seat to all of the Christmas cookies and (ahem!) cups of cheer consumed during the holiday season. The impact of sugary, processed foods, extra fat and alcohol can take a toll on our liver, kidneys and digestive system and our unhealthy eating habits can leave us feeling bloated, constipated, gassy, with heartburn or just plain “gross” overall. One of the many benefits of getting an adjustment is the effects is has on our digestive system. By working with the nerves in our digestive organs, adjustments have been known to keep digestion “regular.” This then functions as a cleanse by as the body detoxes by eliminating toxins through digestion.

3.) Pain Relief. Ohio winters can be brutal. As the snow piles up the driveway, the chances of a back injury do too from shoveling due to the bending, twisting and over-exerting. In addition to shoveling, we do heavy lifting in other way: shopping and decorating. Carrying extra heavy bags, loading boxes into cars, cutting down the tree, decorating the house, and standing for long periods of time can also unknowingly cause injury. In the event you experience an injury from these types of seasonal labor, it is beneficial to see the Chiropractor sooner rather than later.

4.) Stress. The holiday season can be stressful when considering the mounting number of items that get piled on the to-do list, the extra expenses, and even stressful family encounters this time of year . The body deals with stress physically by tensing up; especially in the neck, shoulders, low back and jaw. Chiropractic is a powerful tool in dealing with the negative impact of stress and how it affects the body.
Travel. Icy roads, long road trips, plane rides and carrying heavy bags are all types of travel “wear and tear” that can all take a toll on our bodies. A chiropractic adjustment and help relieve and manage pain associated with traveling.

5.) Seasonal Depression: Due to fewer hours of sunlight in the winter month, our Vitamin D levels reach an all-time low. This pair with the typical holiday stress can be a recipe for feeling depressed during the wintertime. Chiropractic is a drug-free approach to managing the effects of depression by having a positive impact on the body’s nervous system.

6.) Self-care. During this time of the year, our personal care tends to get overlooked. We do so much for other during the holiday season that it is imperative to stop and treat ourselves! And an adjustment just feels good! You deserve to pamper yourself.




Taking It Slow: Yin Yoga 101

By: Shannon Howard



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For many, yoga is a fast-paced Power or Vinyasa style of practice, often in a hot room, so you can sweat, work the muscles, and get in a great workout. While a Power class has its own set of benefits, so does a Yin yoga practice.

Yin yoga is yoga for the joints. The perfect compliment to the usual yang (Power!) style, that targets the muscles. Yin is meant to get into the connective tissues, such as ligaments,  joints, and fascia of the body. Fascia are the sheets of collagen between muscle bundles, and ligaments are what connect two bones together, in a moving joint. So why should you dedicate a whole practice to these fibrous pieces that we can’t really feel? You will feel them after a yin practice, I promise.

Yin yoga holds seated poses for at least 4-5 minutes, sometimes up to twenty minutes depending on the posture. While this may seem boring, keep in mind that these tissues are buried and hidden within the body, and it will take a little time to get them.

Holding poses for extended periods of time also presents a unique challenge to the mind. In today’s society, it is very hard for us to be still. I’m talking, no fidgeting, no thinking about what you have to do after you get out of class, no looking around the room at other people, still. The good news is, stillness is a trait that can be acquired and refined, you guessed it, through a yin practice.

Initially coming out of each pose may be a little uncomfortable. You may even feel like you’ve suddenly aged fifty years and your joints just don’t work like they used to! This is totally normal. Since these areas of our bodies are given little attention, when we finally do release the tension, it is really let go. Using the breath to focus on the specific area, taking care to listen to the body, and drinking lots of water afterwards will help the body handle the release. Yogis spend a lot of time moving and listening to their bodies. Why wouldn’t you want to take care of every little piece and part?




About Shannon Howard: 

Shannon Howard is a recent graduate of the Release Yoga 200RUT Teacher Training Program and yoga instructor at Release. When Shannon first started yoga, it was all about the challenge of a hard workout. Now, it’s become a way of life and can’t be contained. She wants to share the same love and joy of yoga that she experienced.
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How to Use Essential Oils to Balance Your Chakras

By: Olivia Day



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The word chakra (pronounced CHa-krah) means spinning wheel or vortex where energy enters and leaves the body. There are hundreds of these energy centers located throughout the body. But, most importantly are the 7 main chakras that run vertically along the spine from the base at the sitz bones all the way up to the top of the skull.

Each chakra is a piece of a puzzle that when put together, creates a perfectly balanced human being. Keeping the chakras in perfect alignment is quite a difficult task. We constantly need to work on balancing them to reach the ultimate goal of enlightenment.

But, how are chakras balanced? And while there are many answers, one of the most effective ways is through using essential oils.

Think of essential oils as Earth’s “medicine.” All essential oils come from plants, and due to their molecular composition, essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin. When you smell a grapefruit, a rose or sprig of mint, what you’re sensing is the aroma produced by the plant’s oils. Using a unique distillation process - dating back to Egyptian times - the oils are carefully extracted from the plants into pure concentrated oils that are then used to promote healthy lifestyles.

Now that we’ve quickly touched-base on the basics, let's get down to the real meat-and-potatoes of balancing your chakras! Below are descriptions of each chakra, which essential oils will balance them, how to use them and some queues to know if you’re unbalanced.


Root Chakra

The first chakra is the center of physical energy and where one finds connection with the earth. It develops between birth and 7 years of age. It is governed by the color red and the element of earth.

Essential Oils: Patchouli, cedar, clove, cedarwood, frankincense and sage
Uses: Since you’re seeking a way to become more rooted in the earth, apply these essential oils to the soles of the feet before practice
Awakening Poses: Balancing poses like tree and airplane & seated poses like lotus and cowface
Balanced: If the chakra is balanced, you’ll feel grounded, at-ease, healthy, happy, affectionate and whole
Excessive: Greedy, attached to materialistic things, indiscriminate, egotistical and nervous
Deficient: Feeling anxiety, unloved, weak, uninterested, abandoned


Sacral Chakra

The second chakra is the Sacral in which one’s creativity and ability to emotionally relate to others is developed. Its' developing stages are between 7 and 14 years of age. It’s governed by the color orange and the element of water.

Essential Oils: Sandalwood, ylang ylang, rose and gardenia
Uses: Governed by water, you’ll want to add a drop to distilled water and mist on yourself before practice or diffuse through the air during practice
Awakening Poses: Bridge, triangle, chair, wheel, shoulder stand
Balanced: Friendly, optimistic, strong desire for children, intuitive, humorous and imaginative
Excessive: Manipulative, overly ambitious, self-serving, overly sexual
Deficient: Extremely shy and timid, overly sensitive, resentful, distrustful, clingy


Solar Plexus Chakra

The third chakra is the Solar Plexus governed by personal power where one has found their purpose. It is developed between 14 and 21 years of age. It’s governed by the color yellow and the element of fire.

Essential Oils: Lavender, rosemary. bergamot, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, orange
Uses: Fire is your element to consider here. Apply the oil to pulse points: neck, chest and wrists - the more you build heat during your practice, the more the scent will come alive.
Awakening Poses: Cobra, bow, cat, cow, fish,
Balanced: Outgoing, happy, relaxed, self-respecting, confident, spontaneous, expressive, enjoy life, people, food and physical activity
Excessive: Workaholic, perfectionist, judgemental, trouble relaxing, demanding, testing others, constant complainer
Deficient: Depressed, confused, poor digestion, insecure, distrustful, jealous


Heart Chakra

The fourth is the heart chakra, our center for compassion for ourselves and others. It develops between 21 and 28 years of age. It’s ruled by the color green and the element of air.

Essential Oils: Jasmine, lavender, rose, marjoram
Uses: The air is your friend. Diffuse during your practice or mix with water and mist your practice space before practice.
Awakening Poses: Camel, locust, cobra, wheel
Balanced: Compassionate, empathetic, nurturing, in-touch with emotions
Excessive: Possessive, uncompassionate, emotional manipulator
Deficient: Indecisive, feeling unworthy of love, insecure


Throat Chakra

The fifth chakra is the Throat, the center of truthful and compassionate communication. It developes between 28 and 35 years old. It’s governed by the color blue and the element of sound.

Essential Oils: Sage, eucalyptus, peppermint, frankincense
Uses: The throat chakra rules your voice. So, for these oils, apply to the throat and chest area. You could even add 1 - 2 drops to water or tea and drink before or during practice.*
Awakening Poses: Shoulder stand, wheel, camel, chanting mantras
Balanced: Good speaker, musically inspired, centered, content
Excessive: Arrogant, talkative
Deficient: Timid, anxious, quite, unreliable, devious


Third Eye Chakra

The sixth chakra is the Third Eye; the center of higher intelligence, intuition and guidance. It is developed between 35 and 42 years old. It’s ruled by the color indigo and the element of light.

Essential Oils: Jasmine, vanilla, anise, acacia
Uses: Apply to temples, forehead or bottoms of feet before practice or diffuse during.
Awakening Poses: Meditation, raising thumb knuckles to center of forehead just above eyebrows
Balanced: Non-materialistic, telepathic, all-knowing
Excessive: Overly proud, egotistical
Deficient: Non-assertive, undisciplined, oversensitive


Crown Chakra

About: The seventh and final chakra is the Crown where ego and attachment is let go and the highest self is achieved. It develops between 42 and 49 years old. It’s ruled by the color violet and the element of the cosmos.

Essential Oils: Lotus, rose, vanilla
Uses: Diffuse in air during practice or apply to the third eye center before
Awakening Poses: Meditation, lotus
Balanced: Open to divinity, transcends natural laws, access to conscious and unconscious
Excessive: Constant frustration, psychotic, depressed, frequent migraines, destructive



It’s important to remember that our chakras may never be perfectly balanced. All we can do is work on keeping them at a great medium so that we may live happy, healthy and whole!

*Please use essential oils with caution. Some oils can cause skin sensitivity. It’s always best to research the oil before applying.


Resources:





About Olivia Day:

Olivia is currently a student in the 200RYT Teacher Training Program at Release Yoga. Olivia's teaching style aims to guide the mind and body in such a freeing way that students will learn to do what feels best for their bodies. Her classes provide a warm space with room for laughter, connection & touches of gentle heat to challenge the mind and build physical strength. She's been known to include essential oils for aromatherapy and have some rockin' tunes throughout practice. Through her teaching Olivia hopes to provide her students with the ability to trust and believe in themselves and believes there are no limits to what one can do!