By Terri McDermott, E-RYT200, E-RYT500, IYTA, YACEP, CMA, IPC
We step into a world of perfectly pink where everything is as it should be, according to Barbie in her perfect world. This is a replication of what many of us long for, a perfect world. What exactly does that mean? Does this mean we overextend ourselves to a life of living for material possessions, the perfect career, the perfect family? Do we identify with and live life based on the size of our home, the numbers of cars in the driveway, the number of 0’s in our paychecks? For many, it certainly does. We’ve been led to believe that our importance lies with the things we possess, the letters at the end of our name, the things that pull us away every so easily from that beautiful voice and “being” that resides within. I wonder, often times, what that “being” feels as it watches us get pulled further and further away from source. It is in that pursuit we get lost, we move so far away from center we now lie within the physical realm of a constant state of flight, fright or freeze mode. Yes, it is indeed factual information that we, in this day and age, live in this constant state and it is considered to be the new norm. What does that mean? It means that we are pulled, energetically into a space of constriction, of struggle, of numbness and we exist there. There is neither gain nor loss, just continuous forces resisting one another creating the largest of stressors in our life.
Physically, that means that our body also has to work more intensely and with much more strain and difficulty to keep us healthy as we run in frantic circles to attain more with less. What does this lead to? This leads to stress, high BP, cardiac and respiratory issues, dis-ease in any way, shape or form that it chooses to settle and take root in a weak spot and inevitably takes over. Can you take a moment for me right now to stop everything you are doing and note your body and any tension you may be holding at this very moment. It’s there…it’s natural and it will remain until you choose to find balance and harmony in this life.
Energetically, our Pancha Kosha or five layers of consciousness move further and further away from our true nature, our soul. It is stated within the Vedas, the most ancient Hindu scriptures, that human birth is given to us to strive to know and understand the “being” within. How is that at all possible when we have moved so far away from that connection to self.
Spiritually, you no longer hear that beautiful voice of intuition, faith is lost, relationships are disrupted, values become questionable and disconnection to every living thing takes place. Patterns of the past are repeated and we remain in a rut that seems impossible to move away from.
Barbie’s Dreamland, where all is perfection, where day to day repetition of the same things and patterns exist and never change, until one becomes aware of what it is they are lacking in this life. How is it that we truly come to know that “being” within? Become aware of what it is that is important in this life. Become aware of what one truly needs for this existence. Become aware of the repeated patterns that provide continued uncertainty in life. It’s time that we all PAUSE, take a step back and seek our “being” within. How might we do that when we come to that realization of the need for self-discovery? It is the path of yoga! Yoga is not a practice of asana alone. It is not a path of meditation alone. It is not a path of soul searching alone. It is ongoing work in this life to shed the layers of illusion that “what we need lies outside of us and in possessions what allows us to feel secure in owning things”. It is a beautiful path of caring for oneself and others, even if that means stepping away from all that we’ve become comfortable with until now, this moment when we realize there is more. It is time for each of us to ask the question of ourselves, “What is it that truly matters in this life and how do I connect deeply to who I am?”
I am here to work with you, at your place of realization in this life to guide you back to the tools to connect you to your own personal space of contentment, of harmony, of balance and connection to self, to all that truly matters! No matter how far away we’ve gone from that connection to the self, we can always return, but the work must be done.
E-RYT500, Spiritual/Life Coach, Teacher, Nurturer, Guide and Friend
“When we become the observer of our own self, without identification, justification or condemnation, the inner music of silence becomes a joy. As long as we identify, as long as we condemn and as long as we justify, it will be noise.”
Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani
By Katherine Palms
Face Yoga is an ancient discipline pursued for thousands of years in India and other parts of South Asia. Today, Face Yoga has been adopted in western cultures as a stand-alone practice or blended with various exercises to make it more suitable to consumers. The mix of traditional techniques combined with a current understanding of the skin makes Face Yoga, in particular, both powerful and practical.
Face Yoga is the practice of various exercises focusing on facial muscles to create a firmer, more sculpted-looking countenance with fewer wrinkles and sagging skin and a more defined jawline.
The name' face yoga' may sound ridiculous, but it is a solid yoga practice by its very nature. 'Yoga' is the Sanskrit word for union, and Face Yoga is the union of numerous techniques to bring about holistic well-being.
The target of this practice is primarily on the physical body, but it also has a strong focus on the well-being of the inner self. Face Yoga concentrates on facial exercises, but to do so, it employs breath control and specific yoga-like body postures that benefit overall well-being. It can build a more positive sense of self that many lose as we start to age. Like all true yoga practices, face yoga's aim is self-realization.
No specific tools or equipment are necessary to practice face yoga. You can practice the exercises anywhere – while doing laundry, driving to work, walking, or even watching a movie.
Until recently, there has been little scientific evidence to support the positive personal experience and anecdotal evidence of Face Yoga practitioners. However, the first study of its kind was completed by researchers in 2018. This study from Northwestern University in Illinois, published in JAMA Dermatology, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association, showed that by spending 30 minutes a day exercising specific facial muscles, study participants were able to tighten and lift the cheek areas to look more youthful.
The scientists were able to rate an approximate three-year decrease in age appearance over 20 weeks, supporting the argument that Face Yoga improves facial appearance and reduces visible signs of aging. The most dramatic effect was seen in the participants' upper and lower cheek fullness, who were all 50+ years of age. According to the study's lead researcher, the exercises enlarged and strengthened the facial muscles so that the participants' faces became more toned and shaped like younger faces.
While it may seem strange that moving your Face in a specific way reduces lines rather than creating them, Face Yoga works a lot like resistance training. Certainly, the principles are the same. As a strength trainer, you move your body in a specific way to build muscle. So too, you move your facial muscles in a particular way to plump cheeks and define the area of your Face, the loose, inactive muscle that has been dragging downward thanks to gravity.
Are you interested in trying face yoga? You can find my classes via the classes/events tab in our website.
By Ken Scott
Chronic Stress is the result of prolonged engagement of the Sympathetic Nervous System, a branch of the Autonomic Nervous system often referred to as the Fight or Flight Nervous System. All living organisms can tolerate short term stress and in many ways acute stress can be beneficial to growth and evolution, but when we turn on stress and can't turn it off, we begin to push the genetic buttons that cause disease!
Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback (HRVB) is a foundational component of Transformation Coaching’s offerings where individuals are coached in self-regulating breathing techniques while being monitored by a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) monitor. The individual is then provided with a Coherence score which is a numeric output they can track and see improvement in over time. Coherence is a measure of autonomic balance, harmony, or order. When we are in a state of stress, we are Incoherent and as a result would see a lower Coherence score.
A meta-analysis of 881 studies was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in March of 2021. The analysis concluded "This systematic review shows significant improvement of the non-invasive HRVB training in stress related disorders like PTSD, depression, and panic disorder..."
According to the Stress in America Survey 2022…
Developing the skill of creating and sustaining a state of Coherence by using proven techniques and HRVB is an accessible way to reduce stress and the risk of stress related disease and disorders.
Interested in learning more? Contact Ken Scott.
Kennith James Scott
By Kat Palms
The specificity and rigidity of new year's resolutions can make it challenging to maintain them. While the desire to set your resolution comes from an intentional place, the loftiness and significant lifestyle change a resolution requires can be overwhelming.
According to a study by the University of Scranton, New Year's resolutions are about self-improvement (living healthier 23% of people, getting happy 21%, losing weight 20%, exercising 7%, stopping smoking 5%, reducing drinking 2%). In addition, people resolve to meet career or job goals (16%) and improve their relationships (11%).
Despite their big plans, only 8% of people will achieve their New Year's resolutions.
To avoid a feeling of "failing: on your New Year New Me Resolution, here are some suggestions for a different way to embrace a new year.
Suppose you keep a new year's resolution. All the power to you! You're part of the 8%. But if you're like most individuals and cannot stick to your lofty vision of 2023, the above ideas can help you re-focus and continue to work toward what's important to you.
Whatever you do, please know you have the power in your palms to live your best life. You have to discover what works for your unique body, mind, and soul and then pursue it.
A quote for this new year: "Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results." - Unknown
Wishing you a bright, beautiful, and blessed 2023!
By Kat Palms
Meditation is a helpful practice any time of the year. Still, it can be especially challenging to pause and practice stillness during the busy holiday season, which is why mediation can be an even more vital practice during the Holidays.
According to NYC-based psychotherapist Mark O'Connell, meditation can help us strengthen our patience and lengthen our fuse. This practice helps to build tolerance by making time for moments of self-care with a clear start and finish line—every day. "When we think of this practice as a way of life as opposed to just a tool to manage our stress, we can lengthen our fuse over time," O'Connell says.
Especially during this holiday season, when we spend increased time indoors among family, it's important to permit yourself to commit to a self-care moment. "When you can train yourself to be where you are now," he says, "you're training your brain to be calm and clear in the moment of stress.
Committing to being consistent with a meditation practice can help meditation become a natural part of life, even during the holidays. So how do we implement meditation as a consistent practice?
Well, here are a few ideas:
Give a consistent meditation practice a try. You might be surprised at how meditation helps you to feel calmer, cooler, and more collected this holiday season.
Continued reading & practices:
Here are a few tips from Forbes Magazine to sneak in meditation and other wellness practices during the holiday season:
1. Meditate first thing in the morning before the rest of the day begins.
2. Sneak out to meditate (literally). (i.e., in your car after running to get groceries!)
3. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.
Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/oliviaobryon/2022/11/06/how-to-overcome-the-holiday-stress-cycle-with-quick-meditation/?sh=6484b0b5705c
Here are five short, sweet, and easy mediations for over the holidays https://healingbrave.com/blogs/all/easy-meditations-for-the-holidays
A tip from mindful.org "Allow the holidays to happen. Take care to do whatever keeps you grounded, like sleep and exercise. Enjoy it, plan what needs planning, and let go of the rest. Focus instead on whatever you value and find most sustaining this time of year. Happy Holidays!"
Take 10 minutes: https://www.mindful.org/take-10-minutes-defuse-holiday-stress-mindfulness-practice/
By Ciara Glynn
Fall is here in Northern Michigan and it is no secret that there is no better place to spend this season than in Leelanau County. The beautiful scenery and idyllic cool temperatures create the perfect atmosphere to enjoy this time of year. What's another amazing part about fall? Your favorite local restaurants are way less crowded (at least on the weekdays).
There are so many delicious restaurants and eateries in Leelanau County. Some have been cornerstones of this community for decades and others may have just opened up this past year! Regardless, there are so many amazing and healthy options to choose from. Many restaurants feature produce grown right here in Leelanau County!
An article posted by Michigan State University Extension lists 7 benefits of eating local:
By Ciara Glynn
For as long as I can remember, I have loved to run. I would run around my house, the beach, or practically any wide open space that would allow for it. On most of my sports teams in my youth, I was the shortest and smallest, so I had to be the “fastest”. This need for speed continued throughout my childhood and into my teen years. I loved running competitively and counted down the days until cross country season would start again in the fall. Additionally to the competitive aspect of running, it was medicinal as well, running became a stress reliever for me and I relied on a good run to help gather my thoughts or feelings.
A few years ago, I began to feel pain and tightness in my hip. Running, and even walking long distances became painful. After two rounds of physical therapy, I am still unable to run like I used to. I lost the only way I had really known how to stay active and move my body. I had lost my stress reliever and my escape.
I have learned that lots of people have gone through an experience similar to my own. Since being injured, I have found various methods that I can do that provide that same stress relief as running once did. Practicing yoga, walking, and biking are all activities that I never thought I would be able to lean on, but now I enjoy them almost as much as I enjoyed running. Finding your new favorite way to stay active can be challenging, but it just takes stepping out of your comfort zone.
By Ciara Glynn
Summertime in Northern Michigan is the ideal place to be! Endless hiking trails, restaurants, shops, and of course beautiful beaches. Locals and visitors alike look forward to the days they can spend alongside the lake, but did you know that a day at the beach has numerous health benefits as well?
Stress Relief - In an article published by NBC on the effects of the beach on the brain, clinical psychologist Richard Shuster stated, “The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace,” says Shuster. “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”
Soaking in the Sun - Laying in the sunshine on the beach not only is relaxing but also allows for Vitamin D intake. According to an article published by Harvard, “Under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need.” There is no better place to receive a week's worth of nutrients than at the beach!
Taking time to do something for yourself is pertinent to your physical and mental health. Taking an hour, a day, or even a weekend and allowing yourself to relax can improve your mood and increase productivity in your day-to-day life. When in doubt, just head to the beach!
If you are looking for a place to reap these benefits, here are some of my favorite beaches that are well worth a trip. In Leelanau County, my favorites are Good Harbor, Vans, and the Suttons Bay Marina. If you happen to be making a trip to the East Coast, I must recommend Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts.
By Ciara Glynn
Leelanau County attracts millions of visitors each year primarily due to the county’s quaint villages, vineyards, cherry orchards, rolling hills, and seemingly endless beaches. In fact, the name Leelanau is said to have derived from the Chippewa phrase “delight of life” - a description that summarizes the natural beauty of the area. However, we feel it is the collective passion and beauty of the Leelanau County community that best reflects the “delight for life” style.
Here at the Leelanau Wellness Collective (LWC), we understand the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit that are parts of all of us and we encourage both locals and visitors alike to pursue and enjoy all the wellness opportunities that our area has to offer.
The main purpose and passion of the LWC is to connect Leelanau County residents and visitors with the county’s wellness professionals, and to boost awareness about the numerous wellness opportunities right outside their door!
In 2020, Yoga4, a prominent yoga and fitness studio in the heart of Leelanau County closed, leaving a void that the local wellness professionals were determined to fill. Through the efforts and determination of the area’s wellness professionals, the Leelanau Wellness Collective was initiated.
The collective houses over a dozen wellness professionals - each who bring to the collective different strengths and areas of expertise. Just to name a few, the collective offers:
Through the collective, residents and visitors in Leelanau County now have access to a hub of health and wellbeing classes and events, in addition to access to the extensive experience that the collective’s professionals have to share.
By Katherine Palms
Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after a hike or beach adventure in Leelanau County?
There is no hiding the direct relationship between spending time in nature and the enhancement of personal well-being.
Research in a scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
A 2019 article published in Scientific Reports claimed: "spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and well-being." The study reported 'good' health and 'high' well-being were significantly higher for all who had nature contact. Psychological research like this is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition.
We are fortunate to be surrounded by community members and visitors who care about protecting and preserving the land, water, scenic character of Leelanau County. Because of places like the National Parks, State Parks, Township and Village Parks, and the Leelanau Conservancy preserves, generations to come will have the opportunity to enjoy natural landscapes and partake in experiences that benefit their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being by moving the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit in nature.
If you are looking for places to explore nature in Leelanau County here are some resources:
Leo Creek Preserve
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Leelanau State Park
Township and Village Parks
Where is your favorite place to spend time in nature?
How do you feel after 20-30 minutes in nature?
Let us know below.