Yoga, Mountain Biking and Nutrition.

 

18010699_1313078538779572_5901946677605887716_nA couple of weeks ago, I was asked by my friend and fellow shredder, Lisa Gifford Mueller of ALM Photography to participate in the Trek Women’s Advocate/Cedar Bluff Cycle event, Women’s Night: Fitness, Injury Prevention and Nutrition. She asked me to sit on the panel as a resource for women mountain bikers for nutrition, injury and prevention.  The topics that were discussed were centered around the following questions:

1.What Can Riders do to Increase Strength For Riding (especially those newer to mountain biking)? As far as yoga is concerned, yoga is strength training, some of the most easily accessible yoga poses for strengthening your body are:

  • Plank, Side Plank, Boat Pose (core strength and arm strength)
  • Chair and Chair with Twists
  • Locust Pose
  • Bridge Pose, Wheel Pose

2. What Can I Do To Increase Endurance For Riding?

  • hydrate properly (it is recommended to drink 18-24oz of water per hour of activity, in addition to your normal daily amount {drink your weight, divided in half in oz. of water})
  • eat properly (I recommend whole, natural foods, limiting “treats”)
  • increase time on saddle slowly (this applies to other exercise venues as well)

3. Preparing for Longer Rides (and taking time for Recovery)

  • know your body, practice the longer distance and food/water intake before a race, event or long day

4. What Are The Benefits of A Structured Fitness Program?

  • this is where endurance and strength are built
  • conditions are not always keen to ride, but the yoga studio and gym are open
  • mentally preps you for race day-training is a commitment-as is race day

5. Why Is Stretching Important?

  • reduces injury risk and able to bounce back from injuries quicker
  • lengthens muscles
  • ease of movement
  • longevity of being able to work out as we age
  • connective tissue (fascia) is restored and aids in recovery/healing process

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There were two other panelists, Susan Finney of KyBRa Athletics and Michelle Kenick of Health First Fitness who had a wealth of knowledge and information to share with all involved. I learned so much from these ladies!

Prior to this panel, I upped my research with several articles and podcasts.

…with any cycling event over 90 minutes, aim to drink 18 to 24 ounces of liquid per hour containing 250 to 300 milligrams of sodium (with an additional 100 milligrams coming from food), says Kelli Jennings, a registered dietitian with Apex Nutrition. If you weigh more than 180 pounds, aim for 24 to 32 ounces.

As for food:

an athlete can burn 1,000 calories per hour or more, the body can’t process that much nutrition while exercising. For efforts over five hours, Jennings suggests between 300 and 400 calories per hour that includes a mix of carbohydrate sources (glucose, fructose, and maltodextrin), but experiment to see how much food your body can handle.

This is the tricky part. My body is different from the next rider. I have learned on long trail rides (and road rides) that my I need more protein and fat and that my typical grab of a bar does not always do the trick, making me sluggish immediately, as my body works  harder to process the food (there can be a lot of hidden sugars in bars, goo and electrolyte supplements).

Today on a long ride, I took an orange and gluten free crackers. I have been playing around with nutrients in my own body, using my self as a test facility. This week has been fun watching my metabolism increase in large amounts and feeling my body rejuvenate at a cellular level.

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Some of my personal perspectives:

Food is fuel.

FUEL = food uniting energy + longevity

In research for top athletes, a LOT of technology is used to calculate caloric export vs. input. Even to the cellular levels. It’s kind of like your FitBit on steroids. However, without having lots of money to pay for this type of technology that can even show your mineral bone density, we have to rely on our mental awareness and wisdom from science. This is where yoga is beautiful and perfect. Yoga is not just the poses that you do to stretch, tone and strengthen your body. The practice of yoga actually has 8 limbs-meaning 8 parts total, including the poses, they are: Poses, Breath Control, Concentration, Meditation, Keys to Living with Self and Others, Enlightenment, Removal of Senses/Distraction.

Training mentally has become one of the newest and increasingly fundamental aspects of athletic training. Perhaps your mind even has more control over your body than you think. For example, the Spartan diet/races have included mental training into their regime.

As a yogi, this is one of the 8 Limbs, or foundational cores, of yoga, as mentioned above. In dharana, we work on focusing our attention on a single point. This single-pointedness is what clears your mind, and keeps you in-tune with how your body is functioning and even noticing the lack of nutrients. What are you craving? (Besides beer, pizza and ice cream?) Once I was at work and noticed that I felt really odd, like I was vibrating. I realized my electrolytes were dangerously low. After a quick gatorade (not my favorite choice, but what was available) fix, I could feel my body sorting itself out.  How I knew that, it was intuitive to me. What I credit the intuition to: constant attention to my physical, mental and emotional body. Meditation has been increasingly prevalent in the news. This limb of yoga, dyana, is where we focus singularly on one point, then add being aware but not focused. It’s focusing on breath, something that is automatic. Or the sound of your tennis shoes hitting the trail on a run, or the rhythm of your pedaling on your bike. I truly believe the repetitive motion of cycling (or running, swimming, etc) can be a meditative practice. One where dharana and dyana (single pointed focus and awareness) combine to create a beautiful harmony for your training.

A breath practice is a huge key. It keeps your organs flowing. Keeps you grounded, cleans the mind, and body. In Ayurveda, clear breath assists in all organ functions. The lungs are the wise judge. Liver has to do with emotion of anger, but also the free flow of the body, liver is general. Spleen is mind. Finding ease in life, rest, recovery days, meditation can actually increase the longevity of your athleticism. Pause and check in, slow your breath.

Food is performance and recovery. It is meant to have function. Look at your urine: completely clear is not the best. You want your urine to look like lemonade. You can actually deplete your electrolyte supply. Look at your poop, too. Eat with the seasons, eat clean.

In Summary:

  • Learn to listen attention to your body.
  • Hydrate (one ounce per 1/2 your body weight: i.e. 150lbs = 75oz. H20 per day-without exercise. With exercise, add with any workout over 90 minutes, aim to drink 18 to 24 ounces of liquid per hour containing 250 to 300 milligrams of sodium (with an additional 100 milligrams coming from food).

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References:

  • Resource: Outside Online
  • Physical Preparation, Condition and Recovery for Elite MMA Athletes, Sigma Nutrition Podcast.
  • Sports Nutrition 237: How Much Fat Can We Absorb Per Meal?, Endurance Planet.
  • Sports Nutrition, The McCarthy Project.
  • The Mystical Powers of Your Inner Organs A Chinese Medicine Perspective, Brodie Welch. The YogaHealer Podcast.

Yoga + Art Huddle

img_7081-800x600Not going to lie, I am grateful to Leslie and her work at Aum in the Arts. I have been lucky enough to have been featured in several of her articles. Wanted to send another shout out to her for this lovely feature. Our Yoga + Art Huddle is THIS Sunday. Let me know if you want to make it. (Space reserved to 50 people).

We will start our day with a yoga session led by Tracy (all levels welcome); please bring a yoga mat. We will then have a chance to create postcards with a variety of art materials and have a chance to write and prep them for mailing! During this time we will have a chance for conversations and ideas of what to do next.

Date: February 26th, 2017

Time:2-6 pm

Location: Center for Creative Minds, Knoxville

Check out: Aum in the Arts for more information!dsc_0085-685x1024

Bind:

From Dictionary.com

bīnd

verb

  1. tie or fasten (something) tightly.

    “floating bundles of logs bound together with ropes”

    synonyms: tie (up), fasten (together), hold together, secure, make fast, attach

    2. cohere or cause to cohere in a single mass.

    “mix the flour with the coconut and enough egg white to bind them”

    noun

    1.a problematical situation.

    “he is in a political bind over the welfare issue”

    synonyms: predicament, awkward situation, difficult situation, quandary, dilemma, plight, spot, tight spot

    2.formal

    a statutory constraint.

    “the moral bind of the law”

At class on Thursday night, we worked on binds. Binds add an extra element to a yoga session by adding additional challenge, perspective and/or strength and balance. My plan was to teach Compass Pose | Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana towards the end of class, so I developed a sequence to prepare students to enter the pose as safely as possible. Each student was given a strap, to assist in each bound pose.As always, the binds were given assists options.

We worked on binds in: Uttanasana, Triangle, Extended Side Angle, Standing Half Lotus Forward Bend, and Marichyasana. From Bound Angle Pose, we worked into Heron Pose, and then gently easing into Compass, by bringing the arm around the inside of the extended leg and gently lifting and twisting the torso to the opposite direction.

The class looked somewhat dismayed, but by the second side, students were easing into the idea of the pose.

It worked a lot better than when I taught Bird of Paradise, to which the class mostly stopped to watch me. I am pretty sure that someone even said, “Nope” outloud.

Teaching these postures, which very few ofhave tried or even seen, has been rewarding and super challenging for me. I question my ability to explain them. Then, I notice students modifying without my guidance even-teaching ME!

What a rad experience.

I am continually amazed by my need and thirst for knowledge, as I am for my desire to teach safely and accurately. I am continually humbled by my students and their hard work and tenacity.

on Community Yoga.

16409937_10208197834892665_577689761_o 2.jpgThis week, a friend and fellow yogi, Leslie Ann Ellingburg, wrote an article about the community yoga that I have been working with in Knoxville. Her site is aptly named Aum in the Arts, as she works to bring yoga, artists and community together in our small area of Tennessee. You can find the article on her blog.

On Wednesdays, at Norwood Elementary School, three teachers and I alternate teaching free yoga to the community. As instructors, we are different in personality and style of teaching, and I think the blend is a great way to introduce yoga to the area. The concept started by the Norwood Community Schools Director, Jordan Frye. She and I met early this year and talked about the idea of having a place in Knoxville where people could attend yoga classes who could not afford them. Our collective idea was to create a space and home similar to the vision of the Asheville Yoga Center, where teachers from all over Asheville come together to teach and learn. Jordan says, “an important piece of achieving a healthy community is creating spaces within the community that promote wellness.”

After this initial conversation, we started the weekly classes. Things have been going well, but our numbers are very small. This week, we were written in two local venues, the Aum in the Arts and the local Shopper magazine.

The local Shopper magazine article can be found here. The article features yoga instructor, Jessica Dalton-Carringer, who teaches locally at The Birdhouse and has been pursuing her PhD in Anthropology. She believes that yoga “…offers many health benefits, including stress relief and building lean muscle.” Another instructor, Nikki Lambent-Nitzband, is “dedicated to bringing yoga off the mat and into daily life.” Veronica Carmazzi, a certified Athletic Trainer who works with clients all over the Knoxville area. She provides wisdom and careful alignment to each student as she leads classes. Veronica also teaches yoga at Glowing Body and Alliance Brewery. Tracy Riggs (the writer of this blog) of Zephyra Yoga has felt the stress relief and calm that yoga offers daily. She started practicing yoga daily after a very difficult time in her life. The difference in her life was extraordinary. Tracyd88b908701885c501e9fc85ff7251d09 teaches at Glowing Body on Thursday evenings, and at Alliance Brewery.

If you are in the Knoxville area on Wednesdays, join us at Norwood Elementary School from 6-7 pm, as we assist in bringing peace, calm, stress reduction and strength to the community.

 

 

 

Mindfulness.

Tonight I taught a community yoga class. Before and during this class, I felt completely unworthy and inadequate to teach yoga tonight. Negative energy flowed through my work place today and although I had kept the negativity at bay in days prior, today, I could not. I was weak, tired and my patience had left somewhere.

I wanted to run away. I should have taken the day off.

My game has been pretty high lately, I have felt a renewed sense of positivity and happiness. I have been teaching with patience, energy and wisdom and reaping the rewards. So today felt like a huge blow. When I had a student say, “This is my first time to yoga, ever” it threw me for a complete loop. I had not taught beginners in a long time. The poses that had become my plan started to slip from my grasp and my teaching of the class felt disjointed.

This evening, I taught a definition of mindfulness to the class as a friendly, non-reactive attention focused on experiencing the here and now without judgement. I taught this in relationship to how our bodies are and what they can/cannot do for us. Yet, as I repeated this mantra during class, I realized it was applicable to me. I needed to not-judge, be friendly and pay attention to the here and now, on my mat, in the space. I needed to not-judge and be friendly toward myself, practicing self-compassion. As this shift took place, I  recod88b908701885c501e9fc85ff7251d09gnized another facet of yoga that I love.

It meets you where you are.

My class was diverse-ranging from a yoga instructor to a brand new student of yoga. It was a beautiful opportunity to break through my preconceived ideas of how a class should go, and to play attention to the room and the students in front of me.

I learned mindfulness in the midst of teaching tonight.

A friendly, non-reactive attention focused on experiencing the here and now without judgement.

And I shall take this mindfulness into my evening and day tomorrow.

 

 

mindfulness.

Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “It’s about knowing what is on your mind.

The founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, reminds us that we are not defined by the thoughts that go on in our head, which he adds are mostly centered on “Me, myself and I.” I came upon mindfulness last year in my yoga teacher training in the form of the book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Naht Hanh. This book came at me as does the Japanese language: I recognize what is being spoken, but cannot translate it.

2016 became some of my busiest times. I continually think to myself how much I need to “just say no” to social and other engagements. If I do, I find myself feeling guilty for not participating-guilty because my friends might not like me if I don’t show up (and other silly things). I would like to say it is because I am doing so much good in the world-and that may be true-but as a result, I do suffer. I teach yoga 3-4 times a week on top of my full time visual art teaching job and work a promotion that I received in my job. I also attempt to maintain friendships and a relationship with my husband and family, all while working out and trying to plan healthy meals.

I am tired.

In the midst of the busyness, my yoga practice lessens and my meditation, although daily became an opportunity to think creatively and plan a to-do list. 

I am missing the point.

Yoga should guide one, meditatively by bringing awareness to the now. Each asana/pose should be guided by breath, thus mindfulness should be inherent in yoga. Often in our hurried world, I see myself and students rushing through a vinyasa to get to the next pose. This rush is even present in yoga! The rush to be stronger, fitter and onto the next thing-which we think might be better.

Lately, I have noticed in my teaching a desire to slow my students down. To notice the sensations they feel as they lower into chaturanga, where the shoulders go, and maybe where they should go. After doing multiple vinyasas in a class, I know I personally get sloppy. This is where mindfulness needs to be present to protect one’s self from injury. (In yoga, we call it  ahimsa-non harming.)

A dear friend gave me this mindfulness book for Christmas this year:

It is an amazing way to slowly process the gift that mindfulness can be. It is a reminder to me this busy season to 

slow 

                      down.

I read recently that it takes 40 days for a habit to stick. I find that pretty profund, as it rained for 40 days and nights on Noah and Jesus went into the desert for 40 days. Researching on the number 40, I see that it often signifies a transition or change. The number 40 in numerology is said to elevate a spiritual state.

Maybe by starting right now.

Bringing mindfulness into your days is not that difficult. It requires slowing down and paying attenion. It requires stillness of mind, body and soul. With this stillness comes pure clarity. I firmly believe the age old saying that if you look inside yourself, you will find all the answers you need.

Lower Back Yoga.

Ahhh, the sacrum and lumbar spine20121230-173252. This may be the number one area that I hear students talk about when referring to physical discomfort. Mostly, I hear the complaints from mountain bikers that I ride with, but lately, I have been hearing people in almost every area of life talk about this region of their backs. I do suggest yoga for this area of course, but I am highly cautious with students. I do not want students to overstretch their lower back and create even more trouble.

Maryjaryasana/Cat Pose is a most excellent warm up, especially when attached to the famous Bitilasana/Cow pose. My two favorite, which relieve pressure on the lumbar are Downdog and Puppy Pose. An entire list of these poses with examples can be found at here at yoga journal.

Some of the poses that work for me when my lower back is tight and even in pain, which occurs only while I am mountain biking are the twists: Bharadvaja’s Twist, Half Lord of the Fishes and Marichi’s Pose. I highly recommend Supta Padangusthasana/Reclining Hand to Big Toe for lower back and IT Band issues (I also recommend a strap with this series of poses, as outlined here).

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An entire sequence for lower back can be found here. The poses are highly recommended to loosen your fascia (Fascia, which means “band” or “bundle” in Latin, surrounds, connects and supports our muscles, organs, bones, tendons, ligaments and other structures of the body. Similar to the membrane around each section of an orange, fascia both separates and connects body parts at the same time. Containing nerves, these tissues also serve as a layer of protection and body awareness.)

 

A yoga sequence I created for a student to work with the lower back:

Lower Back Sequence.

Recommended hold time is one minute-one minute and 12 seconds. This holding/slower pace is conducive to opening the tight spots. I recommend once a day or every other day for noticeable improvement.

Great reference for specifics on poses in this sequence: http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/anatomy/lower-back/

Easy Pose/Sukhasana

Cat Pose

Cow Pose (these two poses in sequence are a warm up for the back)

Uttkatasana/Chair Pose (for strengthening lower back)

Utthita Trikonasana/Extended Triangle Pose.

Virabhadrasana 2/Warrior 2.

 Padangusthasana/Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose.

Malasana/Garland Pose.

Bakasana/Crane Pose. (pillow on floor in front of face )

Uttana Shishosana/Extended Puppy Pose.

I find the twists help me most when I am IN pain to alleviate pain in the lower back area, especially due to mountain biking.

Marichi’s Pose/Marichiasana 3.

Bharadvaja’s Twist/Bharadvajasana.

Ardha Matseyandrasana/Half Lord of the Fishes.

To finish, bring both knees into the chest, squeeze and gently rock from side to side. Finally, come into Savasana/Corpse Pose.

((**I also highly recommend doing abdominal strengthening poses as well to increase strength in back:  Navasana/Boat Pose)) 

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Inner Thigh Yoga.

Right before Thanksgiving, a student asked me about poses to open the inner thighs. This student commented that this area was very tight. I did some research and am posting my notes here.

This video helped me to find these poses, which the instructor recommends staying in each pose in for one minute. During yoga teacher training, a guest lecturer recommended holding the pose for 72 seconds.The first pose is the yogi squat pictured here:

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The second pose is an extended leg squat, which I have been incorporating into my daily yoga classes:

extended-leg-squat3

This entire visual contains poses that are useful for opening the inner thighs and the remaining information can be found on this page:

The three poses that I personally recommend are Upavista Konasana/Wide-Angle Forward Fold, Bhekasana/Frog Pose Agnistambhasana/Firelog Pose. With these poses any additional modifications can ease you into and out of the poses. Over time, you will notice an opening of your inner thighs. I personally recommend practicing at least two of these poses on a regular (daily or every other day) basis.

A sequence to loosen the inner thighs and increase mobility:

Inner Thigh Sequence.

Recommended hold time is one minute-one minute and 12 seconds. This holding/slower pace is conducive to opening the tight spots. Do these poses and your inner thighs will begin to loosen. I recommend once a day or every other day for noticeable improvement. 

Baddha Konasana/Bound Angle Pose.

Yogi Squat.

Extended Leg Squat (right and left sides)

Upavistha Konasana/Wide Angle Forward Bend.

Bhekasana/Frog Pose.

Instruction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBb65G6NuYo

Supta Baddha Konasana/Supine Bound Angle Pose.

Bound Angle with a support (bolster or folded towel/blanket)

Bound Angle Pose without a bolster

legs up the wall Bound Angle Pose

Upavistha Konasana/Wide Angle Pose at wall

Finish in Legs up the Wall, or in Savasana/Corpse Pose.

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Virabhadrasana I | Warrior I.

Last week in my practice, I watched myself in a mirror. Some conflicting thoughts about using a mirror might be going through your head, for example: “You’re so vain, you prob’ly think this song is about you…”  or “it distracts from the work you are doing internally in your yoga practice, like checking to see if your bra tag is sticking out, or your hair looks cute”. Admittedly, I can be a giant cheeseball in the mirror, smiling and checking my facial expressions (especially in difficult poses, as they are quite amusing) but I use the mirror for my personal alignment. When I first started practicing vinyasa style of yoga, I had no idea what I was doing (vinyasa means flowing from pose to pose in yoga, usually at a quicker pace, while using breath as a guide -inhale to one pose, exhale to another) . I lasted for years without an injury, flopping once a week through a yoga session, which I deemed a workout. As I deepened my practice, however, things in my body had newly found creaks. As a result, alignment was one of the main reasons I stepped into Yoga Teacher Training. My teacher, gratefully, was an Iyengar-trained instructor. This remains a relief to me, as I now consider alignment and safety to be one of the most important aspects of frequent yoga practice.I also no longer flop haphazardly through a yoga session, like a fish out of water, whixh was never cute. 

In Virabhadrasana I, instructors, including myself, ask students to square hips toward the front of the room. While teaching last week, I realized this direction is not entirely helpful as it leaves students with a sense that one must turn hips parallel with the front of the room, which is basically impossible in this pose. Aligning both hip points TOWARD the front of the room is a more accurate description, and leads students towards making the correct adjustments. It also assists students with not feeling inferior nor like a broken hip is the way to go in this pose, in order to attain proper alignment.

As I continue in my study of yoga asana, I realize, also, that alignment in a pose is truly dependent as Cindy Dollar says, “on what you want out of the pose.” 

Cindy taught us to check alignment starting from the base of the pose up. In Warrior I, the front toes are turned toward the front of the room, 90 degrees from the body while the back foot is turned out slightly, from 25-45 degrees. The stance is different than in Warrior II. In Warrior I, the the heels are aligned. As you move up the leg, muscles are holding the pose in a lifted manner. Not sinking into pose. The front leg is bent at a 90 degree angle to the mat (if strength and flexibility permit) with the knee aligned over the ankle. If you glance down, you should be able to see the big toe of the front foot peeking out beside the knee. The front thigh is externally rotating, while the back leg is internally rotated. The irony here is that you are pressing into the feet at the same time you are lifting the knees and flexing the thigh muscles. It is somewhat of an equal and opposite action in the legs. All of the while, lifting your ribcage up, lengthening your arms up, palms towards each other. Each pose in yoga should create space. If there is crunching or tension, come out of the pose, check your alignment (in a mirror, perhaps….”you’re so vain….”) and move into a pose that allows you to create space while strengthening your legs. Warrior I strengthens both legs, the shoulders arms and back. If you feel stable and strong in the pose, you can look up toward your palms, pressing the palms together and bending back. This opens the chest and shoulders when you add this slight backbend.

I continue to work with finding the proper alignment in a pose. Tonight, teaching  Warrrior I, I recognize that I hurried through the posture, and did not give alignment cues, but only did the asana as part of Surya Namaskar B. On Tuesday, at the Asthanga Yoga Center in Carlsbad, California, my instructor told me that my down dog is very Iyengar-trained. She assisted me in a more Asthangi version and it actually felt better for my shoulders. I had worked very hard to get my alignment ‘correct’ in down dog only to learn yesterday that it is not where I needed to be.

Yet, again, is it correct for what I want out of the pose?

I will continue to practice, as Guruji Patthabi Jois said, “Yoga is 90% practice and 10% theory.” So just show up, practice and your body will do the rest.

 

Crystals. (Guest post: Barb Enloe)

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Blue Apatite-Inspirational, Creative, Motivational

My dear friend, Barb and I have been confiding in each other and diving into studies of mysticism and the need for healing in our lives and breakthroughs in the lives around us. She has done  research on crystals and has been using them to help herself and others with blockages. I asked her to write a post here, using her new knowledge and below is what she wrote:(Thank you, Barb, for sharing with us!)

Crystals have fascinated people throughout history.  Although many view crystals as a silly ‘new age’ invention or a passing trend, they have been used by Shamans and even mentioned in the Bible. In many countries such as India, China and Egypt, crystals were used for rituals and medicinal purposes. They were esteemed not only for protection in ancient times but also for their healing powers. This esteem continues today with crystals’ use in computers and to power lasers used in surgery.

It is believed each crystal has a unique frequency and energy field, or resonance. The human body is an energy field that can at many time be unstable. This instability or disruption can create disease or havoc within this field. But by placing a crystal with its stable energy field close to this disorganization, the crystal acts similar to a ‘tuning fork’ to bring everything back into harmony.

There can be an endless list of crystals and their uses for specific emotional or physical unbalances. These don’t have to be big and blingy to be powerful – a tiny, raw chunk of crystal can be used. To use a crystal it can be worn, placed on or around your body, or within your sight. Hold your crystal in your hands, close your eyes and concentrate on the crystal. See it surrounded by bright, white light. State your intention for this crystal, for example, “This crystal will help me heal.”

As mentioned above there are many types of crystals, but if you want to start out experimenting with their healing power, the following are a few of best to start with:

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Smoky Quartz-Grounding, Stabilizing, Centering

Clear quartz or smoky quarts are both very versatile. They are made of silica and scientists have found that our bodies are partially made of liquid silica crystals. Quartz is an all-purpose healer, especially helpful to relieve ailments of the abdomen, hips and legs. It can help with pain relief and can strengthen the back and fortify the nerves. Smoky quartz is helpful in relieving stress and can help you tolerate difficult time. Stress can often make you feel depleted of energy and this crystal will help to restore vigor and promote positive thoughts. Quartz is the stone of balance. It will help ground and anchor you and your thoughts. By placing a large smoky quartz in your home, you will help keep it energetically clean and protected.

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Green Aventurine-Harmonizing, Protection for Heart Chakra, Emotional Stability

Some other quartz based stones are Citrine, Rose Quartz, Green Aventurine, and Amethyst. Citrine is heated up deep inside the earth which turns is various shades of champagne and yellow. It is good for overall emotional well-being. If you are feeling down or have a creative block, citrine can help create a happy or creative energy. Rose quartz is the healer of emotional wounds and is helpful to dissipate anger and tension. Its energy is calming and gentle. Green Aventurine can come in other colors, but green is the most common. This stone is used for general healing of any illness. It promotes vitality – health, growth and confidence. Amethyst is the stone of protection and purification. It is helpful to boost creative thinking and spiritual awareness. Turquoise, although not quartz, is another important stone. It is considered the master healer and guards against all disease.

Whether or not using crystals is truly helpful to combat disease, make you more creative, or ease stress and tension, can be debated. If you hold a crystal and believe it will help, then perhaps it will. The mind and what and how think can be a powerful thing.

-Barb Enloe