Yoga 101: The Basics

By Kristen K. Brown

It seems like everyone is jumping on the yoga train these days.  It’s no secret that the health benefits are endless.  Yoga is an ancient form of mind-body practice that originated inIndiathousands of years ago.  In Sanskrit, yoga means “union or to join together” and that is the perfect description as it combines breathing, exercise and meditation into one synergistic practice. 

Today, yoga is practiced around the world and there are dozens of different sub-types to match various interests and goals.  Yoga involves a focus on alignment, breath and mental centering to benefit a person’s mind and body through poses, or asanas, that many of us have heard of like downward dog, cobra and plank.  But how do you get started with this form of mind-body conditioning if you are new to the practice?  As a relatively new yogi myself, I have compiled a list of things to consider when you are ready to start yoga.  [Read more…]

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Beyond the Happiness Quickie

By Kristen K. Brown

“Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity.”  Paul Goodman 

While mentally contemplating some big life decisions last week, I asked my 2.5 year old daughter, hypothetically, “What should mommy do that would make me the happiest?”  I didn’t expect an answer.  But in all seriousness, she looked at me and said, “Let’s make silly faces!” And she proceeded to stick out her tongue, blow out her cheeks and roll her eyes at me.  Her innocent mind didn’t jump to money, security or career path.  It simply went to something that would make her happy right at that moment – silly faces. 

As adults, we are so focused on our station in life – how much money we have, what possessions we own, what our job is – that we forget that usually it is the simplest things in life that can make us the most happy.  A silly face, reading a good book, playing with a pet – these are all easy things that bring us joy – even if it’s just for five minutes. 

But how can we sustain this happiness beyond those five minutes?  [Read more…]

5 Reasons Gardening Is Good For You

By Kristen K. Brown

Some people can’t imagine why some other people love digging in the dirt.  It’s a messy job that gets our clothes, hands, and, inevitably, face, dirty when wiping the sweat from our brows.  It requires patience while we wait for our plants, flowers and produce to reach their full potential.  It takes time to dig, water, weed and prune to keep our plantings beautiful.  So why do so many people love the act of gardening when it’s messy, time-consuming and requires unending patience – sometimes even years of waiting for full bloom? 

The benefits of gardening greatly outweigh the downsides.  For so many, gardening is therapeutic. The act of being outside communing with nature offers peace and solitude because we are connecting with the Earth in so many ways.  And being in the garden is often a place of silence where we can reflect or meditate without distraction or outside demands on our time.  Here are just a few benefits of gardening. [Read more…]

Aromatherapy 101: Scents to Feel Better

By Kristen K. Brown

As I was carrying my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to the car the other morning, she nestled her face into my neck and said, “Mom, you smell like blueberries!”  I laughed as she fluffed my hair and deeply inhaled the scent while she sighed and smiled. 

The power of scent on our mood has been scientifically-proven and this science of aromatherapy is a growing branch of complementary therapy.  Aromatherapy is the use of concentrated essential oils of seeds, flowers, roots or other plant parts to stimulate the brain, enhance our emotions and promote healing.  The oils are typically rubbed onto the skin, used as a compress or inhaled after the oils are diffused into the air through sprays, candles or sachets.  [Read more…]

5 Ways to Feel Happy – Instantly

By Kristen K. Brown

In these challenging economic times, the stress and anxiety in our lives has increased dramatically.  Not only are we worried about paying the bills, saving for retirement and work/life balance, we now have to worry about potentially losing our jobs by no fault of our own.  As we try to find some calm and peace during this blip in our country’s livelihood, there are things we can do to feel happier – instantly.  I’m not talking about exercise or eating better, but actual tasks one can do to feel calmer, more secure and just plain happier about ourselves and the lives we are living – in five minutes or less.

1. “Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have.” Unknown  Walk around your home and start to count the things you love – pictures, mementos, food items in the kitchen, pets and, of course, family members and friends.  They are instant reminders of the good things in our lives.  Remembering to take stock of what you have instead of what you don’t is an instant pick-me-up.  [Read more…]

Health Supplements Made Easy: Fill Your Gaps

By Kristen K. Brown

Health supplements can be confusing because there are so many out there and the benefits and side effects of each are often not clearly communicated.  So how can we take advantage of the powerful supplements out there that can help fill the gaps in our nutrition and health situations?  There isn’t one standard regimen people should follow.  Supplements are very personal and customized health solutions that need to be researched before one begins to take them. 

Because I’m in the supplement industry and have developed a health supplement for stress-relief, people often ask me which supplements I take. Over the last couple of years I have tried many, and for my unique physical and mental health situation, I have found the ones that fit ME best.  That is the key to supplementation – knowing your health, knowing your body and knowing what will fit with YOUR lifestyle needs.  What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.  Everyone’s body chemistry is different.  We are different weights and heights. We have different nutrition and exercise habits. We have different genetics. Add onto those things our own personal health conditions, medications and goals for our long-term health and we’ve got one complex answer to what only appears to be a simple question. “What supplements should I take?”

The best way to start is to [Read more…]

7 Tips for Better Sleep

By Kristen Brown

One of the top contributors to lost energy and heightened stress is lack of sleep.  We get so caught up in other activities or watching television that we don’t go to bed at a decent hour.  Or we lay awake going over and over the problems of the day or worrying about the ones facing us tomorrow.  We need sleep to rejuvenate and heal our bodies and minds.  The time we spend in slumber allows us the rest we require to function at our best.   Here are some ideas [Read more…]

Women and Mid-Life Depression Triggers: It Can Happen on the Road to Recovery

By Michelle Howe

Caught unawares, women may be temporarily blindsided by unforeseen “mid-life triggers” leading to depression. In the course of his practice, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Christopher A. Foetisch,Toledo,OH, has noticed that mid-life women sometimes enter his office already depleted by life’s stresses and then surgery tips them over the edge and while this may occur in only 5-10% of female patients, for these women the onset of depression is emotionally devastating and completely unexpected. Understandably, some of the most telling signs that a woman might not be able to handle the stress of surgery must be self-assessed (consider both positive and negative life changes, shifts in health, financial and relational upsets), thus it is imperative that [Read more…]