Yoga’s Spiritual Bloodline is Raising Consciousness

“The word yoga means union and the union is supposedly between the mind, the body, and the spirit…” ~George Harrison –Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982

What does it mean to create “World Brotherhood Colonies?” What is a Spiritual Bloodline? And what does the late Beatle George Harrison have to do with this?
Just before Paramahansa Yogananda’s disciple Swami Kriyananda died in 2013, Nayaswamis Jytish (pronounced Joe-tish) was designated by Kriyananda to be Dhamacharya, or The Successor. In this rare and privileged video interview, The Successor speaks to us of a Spiritual Bloodline, Choosing the  Light, love for mankind, yoga, meditation, and celebration.

Getting an interview with these immensely busy people who are dedicated to the betterment of mankind was extremely difficult because in preparation for the Choose the Light 2017 West Coast Tour they were often sequestered in an ashram in Ananda Village.

An ashram is a spiritual hermitage or a monastery in Indian religions.
Dhamacharya is Sanskrit for a successor in an unbroken Lineage of teachers and disciples. It is the continuation of an unbroken Spiritual Bloodline.

“Before his death, Swami Kriyananda asked that together with my wife Devi (pronounced “Day-vee) I serve as spiritual directors for Ananda’s worldwide work.”

Jyotish and Devi serve as the Spiritual Directors of Ananda, a global spiritual movement of people living the change they want to see in the world. They are emissaries of Paramhansa Yogananda, the spiritual master who sparked a revolution of yoga and meditation in the West with his book Autobiography of a Yogi, celebrating its 70th year in publication. Jyotish and Devi are carrying forward Yogananda’s mission to raise consciousness around the world.

So want is Ananda?
In response to Yogananda’s direction to create Worldwide Brotherhood Colonies, one of his foremost disciples, Swami Kriyananda founded Ananda in 1968 in the Sierra Foothills. This area contains portions of eight California counties: Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne, and Yuba. Not only does this area produce incredible sights, but it also produces awesome wine.

Ananda Village was the first Brotherhood community and continues as the spiritual heart of Ananda Worldwide. There are additional communities in Seattle WA, Portland and Laurelwood, OR, Sacramento, Palo Alto, and Nevada City, CA, and in Assisi, Italy and in India.

Ananda will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019.
The Ananda Village is an amazing community built on love and cooperation.
“At these villages, you will find over 200 people living the yoga life, plus two beautiful retreat centers, the Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation, and many pilgrimage sites for deep meditation and renewal. In April 2018 over 15,000 tulips will bloom at the Crystal Hermitage where Swami Kriyananda used to live. It is sacred space. Many people will come to enjoy Springtime in Ananda. Our Ananda communities in Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland are hosting the Choose the Light speaking tour.”  

You don’t have to EAT PRAY LOVE in India and Indonesia to become enlightened. You can do it all right here in your backyard.

I asked my esteemed guests what can be done to help people around the world and in our country, the United States, who are feeling great uncertainty and anxiety during these troubled times. Jyotish explained how “the present chaos is a precious spiritual opportunity.” Yoga is an answer.

Yogananda taught the practice of Kriya Yoga as a powerful tool to still the reactive process and talks about yoga in Autobiography of a Yogi as a science.  A quiet Yoga mind allows you to choose to respond rather than to instinctively react.

“We’re teaching people to step back from conflict and confusion, meditate first, and then choose an action that generates peace and harmony in the world.”

Devi explains,“Many people think of Yoga as doing a physical stretching, but KriyaYoga is a meditation practice. The audience may recognize some of the people who practiced Kriya Yoga as; Mahatma Gandi who was initiated by Yogananda himself. He lived a life completely devoted to change from within, radiating peace and harmony, as Yogananda taught.”

Beatle George Harrison was a disciple of Yogananda and practiced Kriya.
“Geroge Harrison put pictures of Yogananda, and his gurus on the cover of Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band,” Devi says.

So, I pulled out a picture of the old album cover, held it up to the camera,  and we had a great time finding all the hidden gurus, goddesses, and people, which included Sri Mahavatar Babji, a doll of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi, Sri Yukteswar Giri, American actress and sex-symbol May West, and Dr. Carl Jung, to name just a few.

It was like having a great game of “I spy the Yogi!”

I asked Devi how our audience can start on a path of Kriya Yoga and she invited us to join in with her as she shared a quick and effective meditation focusing on the breath, that anyone can do anytime they feel stressed. You can even use it in traffic.

“We are also inviting people to pledge their meditation hours so that together, we will radiate one million hours of peace and harmony into the world this year. Just go to www.MeditationPledge.com  We are just getting started but currently have over 500 pledges from around the world, with about 30 people pledging every day.”

“Together we’ll radiate a million hours of peace and harmony into the world.”
In Portland, Oregon on July 21, 2017, Dhamacharya Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi will be at the historic Multnomah Hotel, where Yogananda once spoke. These new gentle leaders will talk about “A World United.” What a wonderful way to be the change you want to see and Choose the Light you want to be.

Photo credit: Show Poster is the copyrighted property of Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos. All pictures on it and in the post are used with the consent of the guests.

About the Author: Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos-three-time cancer survivor whose guided dreams diagnosed her illness as seen on Dr. Oz, & NBC News, and detailed in her book Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing. She’s a Contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul, TV/Radio Host/Producer- Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod™, the Kat Kanavos Show, Internationally Syndicated Columnist, and Lecturer who promotes patient advocacy and Spiritual guidance.  www.KathleenOkeefeKanavos.com

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Lymphedema After Mastectomy: Learn About Breathing Exercises & Restorative Yoga

It is not unusual for a woman to develop lymphedema after a mastectomy. Lymphedema is a sometimes-painful swelling in the soft tissues.  This can be due to the removal of lymph nodes, scar tissue, strictures, and other factors.

Manual lymph drainage massage is the usual recommended technique to treat this swelling.  It may be surprising to know that another therapy that benefits lymphedema is yoga, especially restorative yoga. When the lymphatic system is at its optimum, it is like a free flowing river, running without obstacles.  However, when the lymph nodes are removed or damaged, that same river meets obstacles and begins to slow down and this creates a pooling of fluids.  This build up in the tissues can cause swelling and inflammation and reduce oxygen in the lymphatic tissues. The white blood cells, or immune soldiers of the body, can be impaired in their function in this situation.  This may increase the risk of infection and create a possible permanent disability.  Edema is often found in the arms and legs, but can be found in other parts of the body.

Knowing how important it is to keep this fluid running like a free flowing river, we need to foster relaxation and gentle movements that encourage its increased flow.  This is especially important after breast surgery or removal of nodes, when it is paramount to undertake new activities to increase impaired lymphatic function.

The need to develop a deeper state of relaxation to counter the mental and physical stress of illness and its treatment is critically important to our health and well-being.

Practicing yoga, especially Restorative Yoga which targets the pectoral area, keeps the fluid moving through the body rather than slowing down and creating a back up.  This benefits the breasts by promoting drainage and healing and creating a sense of safety when expanding the chest.

Practicing Restorative Yoga daily will undo the harmful effects of too much sitting or inactivity.  Starting yoga practice with a knowledgeable Restorative Yoga teacher is as important as wearing a bandage or support garment.

An important thing to understand in your practice of Restorative Yoga is that you must to slow down enough to listen to what your body is telling you.  Any time you overwork your muscles or strain your healing tissues,  you run the risk of fluid build up.

Let this be the yoga practice of self-understanding.

More Great Articles

  1. How Breathing Exercises Can Raise Energy Levels For Breast Cancer Patients
  2. Breathing, Yoga and Cancer
  3. Breast Cancer Breathing Guidelines & Techniques During Exercise
  4. Diaphragmatic Breathing for Cancer Survivors
  5. Learn Natural Breath Breathing Exercise For Breast Cancer Treatment
  6. Yoga Pose for Breast Cancer – Root Lock KRIYA Breathing
  7. 4 Benefits of Breathing Exercises For Breast Cancer Treatment
  8. Why Start A Breathing Practice For Breast Cancer Recovery? Good Health!

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Spring Opportunities of Joy for Breast Cancer Survivors

Winter may have been especially long, cold and dark for many; but as winter turned a corner on March 20, 2017, spring caused a shift in sunlight, brightening the corners of darkness. As breast cancer survivors’ know, not all changes bring light into the darkness. Life feels permanently changed when those words resounded in your ears, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” What do you know about the word, permanently? Maybe it is that all things are truly impermanent (not permanent). Like the four seasons, we realize the idea of impermanence as one season rolls into the next, ever changing. The concept of impermanence becomes a useful tool for living our lives vibrantly. Increasingly important, using ALL of our tools to keep us moving forward and staying positive. As Bell Ruth Naparstek explained in one of her affirmations in many of her healing CDs, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.”

Spring is a time when many things begin anew again. Grass appears greener than usual, blossoms on trees dance in the sunlight and bunnies are being born. Birds even seem to border on the obnoxious side late at night and early morning hours. The birds are so happy to be alive and so happy to create what comes natural that they do not attempt to restrain their song. You too, can be like the birds. Letting the cancer be like a winter season in your life, and chose to move into spring with the light, and the birds.

It is March 20, 2017 and you are still here. What do you want to plant? What to do you want to create? All of us reading this today are still here. All of us are going to die, yes, but what are we going to do with this day to make it a song from our heart? What if we feel tired? What if we feel weak? What is it that we can do to make today a day of spring-filled blessings? The choice is ours. We are not the same person before those words, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” We are different now. Think about when Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was hit upside the head with window, her life changed. She went on an unplanned journey that had many perils. When she returned to Kansas, no one or nothing had changed. However, Dorothy was different. She had been on the journey while everyone else stayed in their own comfort zone. Cancer changes us because it throws us out of our comfort zone and into the battle with the wicked witch of the west. We begin to see the path is up to us, not the Wizard, to survive the ordeals. We must get the witches broom. The season of spring gives us many opportunities to sweep out things not working, pack up things that are no longer useful and create new and bright happy changes in our life.

Make that affirmation, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.” Regardless of your situation, stage, grade, or prognosis, create some joy in each day. Whether it is the ecstasy of the softness of ice cream in your mouth or a cool washcloth against your hot skin, push yourself to move toward joy just as a flower pushes out of the dormant cold frozen dirt toward the warmth and light of the newly arrived sunlight. Life is simple. It is what it is. You get to create joy and you can do that. Cancer did not steal that ability.

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Yoga Online Class For Cancer Patients

online yoga classes for cancerWelcome to Yoga & Healing cyber yoga class room! These are interactive classes that are offered via the platform of Fuze (which is like Skype). All you need is a computer/iPad with a camera, internet connection, your mat, blankets and a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and an online sense of adventure!

Our instructors are able to watch you via the mobile device camera, offer guidance and support throughout the class just like you would have in a normal class situation. The great thing about these classes is that you can join in from anywhere. These are small group classes and spaces are limited. Bookings are required.

Yoga Online Course (live)

  • Thursday 6:00 am – 7:00 am Australian Time and Wednesday 2:00 – 3:00 pm.
  • Next 6 week course commences 9th March 2017 (cost $105)

Yoga is simply a state of being with our body in all that we do. The focus of these classes are about deeply re-connecting with one-self and enjoying a gentle movements and exercises in a way that truly supports and cares for the whole body. All our yoga classes offer an opportunity to deepen the quality of one’s presence and gentleness in all that one does, says and thinks.

Instructor: Donna Gianniotis. 6 week courses. Cost $105. For more information and bookings: Donna 0408 783187 or donna@yogaandhealing.com.au

To enjoy a free recording of our Body Awareness Meditation please click here.

Recording of the audio’s of these classes are also available for those who miss a class or for individual purchase of $20 per class.

Here is what people are saying about our online classes

I have never done yoga online before, but having been a face to face student of Donna’s I was excited to give it a try. The classes are wonderful! The connection is nurturing and deep. You really feel it in the stillness. So grateful for the convenience and connection these online classes offer! ~ Fiona Plascott

“It really is wonderful to enjoy all the benefits of a regular yoga class from my own lounge room floor. It’s also made classes accessible to me in a way they aren’t usually because of childcare & work commitments. Donna is able to provide all the guidance & support I need through this brilliant technical approach – & I love it!” ~ Gen Doyle

“Yoga Online is great for convenience – it removes that huge barrier of having to “get to the class (through the Sydney traffic!)”. The key to working online is both being live online and also having an instructor who is not only experienced but who has a high level of awareness so that the many geographically distributed class attendees can each feel their separate needs are being attended to and that the instructions are not simply robotically delivered like a canned YouTube recording. This is where Donna differentiates from other online classes –being live and online with Donna in these class sessions is really the way of the future for this form of well-being.” NG

Private yoga online sessions

Our practitioners also offer private online sessions of yoga. For bookings and appointments contact us. Cost for private sessions is $80. For bookings Contact Us →

What you need for online yoga classes

  • A computer or mobile device with a camera
  • Mat, blankets, warm clothing (for winter)
  • Comfortable clothing
  • A quiet place where you won’t be disturbed
  • Set up your computer/mobile device so that the camera is facing your mat
  • Download Fuze (free application). This is the platform that we will be using
  • An online sense of adventure!

Donna GianniotisAbout: Donna Gianniotis has been teaching yoga full time for over 14 years within Sydney and practised as an Esoteric Healing Practitioner since 2010. With a diagnosis of breast cancer at the age of 33, she started to question that there must be more to health and well-being than diet, exercise, meditation and yoga.

5 Beautiful Garden Ideas For Breast Cancer Healing

Here are 5 Ways to Contemplate in a Breast Cancer Healing Garden
Just as there are many forms of contemplation, people have a variety of needs from a healing garden. Any space where people feel comfortable and safe will be a good place in your garden to pray, meditate, contemplate or simply de-stress. This is about creating a space within your garden to focus your thoughts, calm your mind, and revel in a little peaceful connecting.

Here are 5 Ideas for a Beautiful Healing Garden:

Garden Altars: You can easily create a very focused space outside to gain some peace. Gather items that you find inspiring or calming–a candle, some flowers in a vase, smooth river stones with meditative words etched onto them, a shallow bowl of water–and put them on a bench, a tree stump or a large boulder. Whatever it is that you find restful and meditative.Garden Alter For Breast Cancer Healing

Prayer Gardens: For those who prescribe to a more biblical perspective, try incorporating plants from the Bible into your garden spot. Lilies, cypress, hyssop, mint, roses (Rose of Sharon, actually, but feel free to take some liberties), olive trees–complete lists can be found easily online to create a more encompassing garden theme. The theme may not be immediately recognizable to visitors, but this spot is for you.Prayer Garden For Breast Cancer HealingYoga Deck: Yoga is a great exercise for flexibility and stretching, but it’s also very calming and meditative. With emphasis on movement and breathing, you can easily get into a contemplative mood. Tai Chi works much the same way. If you love these forms of exercise and contemplation, why not create a space in your garden so you can do these things outside? Construct a yoga deck low to the ground, add a possible side wall for more challenging poses and have a small water feature nearby.Yoga Deck For Breast Cancer Healing garden

Labyrinths: Labyrinths can be created in your yard on a large or smaller scale, and for a lot of money or for just a bit of cash, depending upon the materials you choose. Pave, plant or place rocks in between the pathways, and walk your worries away til you reach the center. Stay for a bit at that point, then turn around walk the same path out. The bilateral movement is known to promote a sense of peace, calmness and tranquility. Backyard Garden Labyrinth For Breast Cancer Healing

Meditation Garden: Meditation gardens have calming background sounds such as the breeze-driven rustling of ornamental grass, the delicate clatter of bamboo, and water gurgling from a fountain. Muted foliage works along with the scent of blooms or herbs. Backyard Breast Cancer Meditation Garden

Just as there are many forms of contemplation, people have a variety of needs from a healing garden. Any space where people feel comfortable and safe will be a good place in your garden to pray, meditate, contemplate or simply de-stress.

Photo Source: Garden Alter – KyleMillerYoga.com, Prayer Garden MiniGardener.wordpress.com,  Yoga Deck – CreativeLivingIdeas.com, Labyrinth – SallyHaleyMD.com, Meditation Garden – Basilbistrow.com,featured photo – GardenGeeksOnTour.com,  Article Source: jPetersonGardenDesign.com.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

GUIDED IMAGERY- Treatment Support

Questions To Help Guided Imagery For Cancer HealiongAs a person in treatment you will need as much support around you from many avenues. We have already talked about delegating as much as possible to other folks. Our “G” word is going to introduce you to Guided Imagery. Guided imagery is an avenue of training your brain to take to you to places of healing. For instance, I have a beautiful Bengal tiger that lives within me. I have developed a relationship with my tiger over the post years of treatment. Each morning my tiger goes through my body and gathers up all the mutant cells and takes them our of my body to an abyss where those cells cannot escape. The tiger is my ally.

Guided Imagery is a way to delegate healing to your body. Scientifically we know Guided Imagery is a powerful tool to help us live our lives in more meaningful ways. Use your Imagination to create imagery. Involve all of your senses in the imagery such as your visual, tactile, kinestetic (body awareness), olfactory and auditory channels. Take as much time as you need to make the guided imagery believable.

Here are a few guided questions to help you create your ally.

  1. What symbol, character, or animal have you been drawn to throughout your life?
  2. What symbol, character, or animal is strong enough to help you with your path to healing?
  3. Ideally, who would you like to accompany you in your mind’s eye or inner soul during this journey?

Now fully develop that image. What color is it? How big is it? Describe it fully by giving it characteristics, clothes, shape, smell, and voice. What does your ally have to say to you?

Ask this ally that you created this question. “Are you willing to accompany on a healing path during this treatment?” Journal this dialogue.

Now gently close your eyes and imagine your ally providing your body with healing in whatever way makes the most sense to you. Maybe you will see your ally breathing healing light into your body and lasering your cancer cells. Perhaps your ally will feed you healing ointment that attaches itself to the cancer cells and eliminates them from your body. One woman used the seven dwarfs mopping her cancer cells up. She was a first grade teacher so that imagery was believable to her. It is important to make the imagery as believable as possible. Use the images you create three to four times a day by finding a relaxing place, close your eyes and let yourself welcome the healing power of your ally. Especially use guided imagery when you become afraid.

Your mind is a capable ally in your healing process and the body mind connection helps our bodies transcend medical science. Use it wisely!

Photo source: Livestrong Relaxation Exercises

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Health, Mood and Spirit

Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Health, Mood and Spirit For Breast CancerBy Margot Malin, Founder and CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

Contemplate: What makes you thankful?
Focus on what you have by recording at least one positive thing in your life each day. Scientific research is increasingly demonstrating that practicing gratitude daily can cultivate noticeable ongoing mental and physical benefits.

A patient faced with a difficult health diagnosis frequently feels overwhelmed and anxious. She might feel as if she stepped into a foggy quagmire. One way she can begin to see a beam of light to help guide her out of this fog is to turn to the techniques introduced in positive psychology.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity better, and build stronger relationships. “The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life” writes Dr. Martin Seligman (often referred to as the pioneer of positive psychology).

Below are some simple ways to cultivate gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
    Write down one to three things that you are thankful for each day. On the Lots To Live For, Inc. website we sell a Gratitude Note Pad to help you to conveniently and consistently record your thoughts. This Gratitude Note Pad is easily carried in a purse or portfolio.
    Hints: Avoid fixating on material items and do not dwell on things that you do not have. Spiritually refocus on what you do have.
  2. Meditate
    Practicing mindful meditation can help you focus on the present moment without judgment.
  3. Breathe
    Mindful breathing can help relax you and cultivate gratitude. We recommend the Breast Cancer Yoga CD Breathe With Purpose to get you started.
  4. Write a thank you note
    Studies have shown that the simple act of writing a sincere note of thanks to someone from our past or present can help us cultivate gratitude. Even better, share the note or send the letter to the person you are acknowledging.
  5. Pray (if religious)
  6. Practice Yoga
    Use your yoga practice as a moving meditation. Be present while on your mat and set an intention to reflect on the things that you are thankful for.
  7. Repeat an affirmation
    Affirmations are simple: you being in conscious control of your thoughts. They are short, powerful statements. When you say them, think them, or even hear them, they become the thoughts that create your reality.
    Here are examples of powerful affirmations: I am strong, I am healthy, I am grateful, I am thankful, I am evolving
  8. Show appreciation to people you interact with on a casual basis
    This can include co-workers, your bus driver, a hospitality worker, or a friendly soul with whom you have an incidental interaction as you go about your day.

In 2003 Dr. Emmons and Dr. McCullough reported the results of an important study on gratitude and well-being which separated individuals randomly into four groups who were asked to carry out different tasks. The results of the study found that those participants randomly assigned to the group who were instructed to write about things they were grateful for on a daily basis became the happiest and most optimistic when compared to 3 other groups performing different tasks. (References and link to article at the end of this post). Other studies have shown that additional benefits of practicing gratitude can include improved mental and physical health, enhanced relationships, higher self-esteem, and overall satisfaction with life.

Typically it only takes two minutes to record thoughts of gratitude. Just two minutes a day can change your outlook on the world. Focusing on the things you are thankful for can provide a beacon of light to help you climb out of the fog created by uncertainty and anxiety.

The simple act of acknowledging the things we are grateful for can help enhance our health, mood, and spirit. Why not start today?

References and additional information:

Buy the Cancer Gift of Optimism: To help a cancer patient regain optimism and a sense of control. This gift includes two simple items to help cultivate gratitude.

Positive Psychology, Positive Prevention, and Positive Therapy, Martin E. P. Seligman, University of Pennsylvania.

Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An experimental investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp 377-89.

Sansone RA, et al. “Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation,” Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol.7, No. 11, pp. 18 -22.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness Meditation.

Related Article:

About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious and fiercely independent, Margot Malin has a passion for knowledge.  After receiving her MBA from The Wharton School, she launched her career by analyzing and evaluating businesses.  In 2002 she embarked on the “creative reinvention” phase of her career with the intention of “giving back”. Margot founded Lots To Live For, Inc., an internet retailer that sells carefully selected products to reduce and relieve the uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation.

December Healing Garden Ideas To Invite Reflection

Winter Healing Garden IdeasThe warm hearth at this beginning of the winter season invites us to look inward. We are contemplating how to keep cozy as we prepare for cold weather and the shortest days of winter solstice. We have a few winter healing garden ideas for you to try!

Winter Garden LoomGarden Loom For Winter Healing Garden

Create an outdoor loom during the winter months. This video shows how the loom was weaved and how people interact with it. Watch HERE

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Create a Backyard Wildlife HabitatAn important element of a healing garden is wildlife. Environments that elicit “soft fascination,” which “occurs when there is interest in the surroundings sufficient to hold one’s attention while allowing room for reflection. The NWF has a certification program for creating wildlife habitats; they’ll even give you this cool sign to post in your garden once you’ve completed the four basic steps of providing food, water, cover, and places to raise young. Go to www.nwf.org/backyard for more information.

Meditation of the Four DirectionsFour Directions Pole

How often do you feel disoriented, even lost, when all you need to do is stop and open to healing love and wisdom, which is present and available north, south, east, and west.  The Four Directions Poles act as antennas for spiritual energy from Father Sky and the Heavens. Learn more HERE

Allow your garden to become a refuge from the hectic world, a haven of rest for the weary.  Find the time to protect this restful place, to see its value, to enhance it, and to make it a home for yourself and others.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

An Invitation To Walk

Labyrinth Walking For Breast Cancer HealingBy: Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer and a licensed psychologist.

I have written before about this ancient symbol, The Labyrinth. However, I want to write again as I believe in the synchronicity of all events in each of our lives and that information that we need arrives just at the time we need it. I just returned from nine days of being immersed in all things Labyrinth. I returned knowing again that the Labyrinth has something important to share, especially with cancer patients.

That is something you and I have in common. We have been touched by cancer in one form or another and we are learning together how to manage the fear as well the changes to our lives that are so necessary to help us manage the disease with adjunctive holistic approaches such as yoga, exercise, clean eating and spiritual and psychological health.

Each of us are somewhere in our journey of treatment, maybe beginning, middle, or management stage. We did not have a choice about cancer. It didn’t knock or even announce itself when it entered. The next thing that you and I have in common is we did choose to show up in life and educate ourselves about what “best and informed choices” we can make now that cancer is a part of our tapestry of life. I understand the word “tapestry” is an interesting word choice because the underlying feeling is perhaps more like, “cancer has entered my body and ruined my tapestry”. Hating has never helped any of us get better and I believe gives us the mindset of fighting the enemy. But this duality of thinking can raise our anxiety and set us up for failure when a treatment does not work the way we want it to.

Over the years, I have found a very valuable resource in my cancer journey and that is this ancient symbol I have come to know as the labyrinth. At over 4,000 years old, the Labyrinth predates Christianity and its eleven or seven circuit path is found in all parts of the world. During my first year post treatment I made a commitment to walk the labyrinth one day each week. At that time (2000) the closest Labyrinth to me was thirty minutes away in downtown Phoenix at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. On New Year’s Eve of 2000 Trinity dedicated their beautiful outdoor eleven-circuit Chartres style Labyrinth. During that year, as I made my way down to the labyrinth and reflectively walked it (it is like a walking meditation) I began to let go of some of the angst and fear. I found myself re-evaluating my life’s choices and asking hard questions like, “Why me?” or “Why now?” As I maintained my commitment to walk, I realized I walked my way into a place of inner peace, acceptance, and resiliency. In some ways I integrated my journey and it was no longer the enemy. My hatred for the illness had dissipated and I had a sense of neutrality. It is what it is. My choice became “How do I come to it since it is now here?” These harder, more uncomfortable feelings were below my consciousness during treatment because the only things there are room for during treatment are survival muscles and survival thinking. It was post treatment that had hit me the hardest. Walking out of my last Chemo and crying because, now what can I do? The labyrinth answered that question with open arms by calling me to come and walk. It was not like I heard a voice, or read a book, it was as subtle as that inner voice could be, but I knew with no doubt that I needed to walk the Labyrinth. So, I did. I was curious about this need to walk the Labyrinth and had no concrete expectation.

Now that I have shared my personal experience, I hope I have tweaked your curiosity about this ancient symbol. Let me introduce you to my friend the Medieval Chartres Labyrinth, often referred to as the “Chartres Labyrinth” because it was discovered in the congregational area of the Chartres cathedral in France. This ancient symbol is being rediscovered today and being used in many ways–walking meditation is just one of those ways. If cancer has stolen your ability to walk comfortably or steadily, don’t fret. It is possible to “walk” a Labyrinth with your fingers, a hand-held replica or even by downloading an app on your smartphone or tablet called IPause. I use this app often, especially when waiting. Your finger serves your body in the same way your feet do. Notice the Labyrinth has a pattern of back and forth, left to right. When we walk the path with our feet our brain fires back and forth. When you follow your finger with your eyes, your brain does the same thing. So your brain will respond to the movement either way, by foot or by finger.

A Labyrinth is different than a maze in that it is one singular path. It is the same path into the center and when you get to the center it is the same path out again. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER and keep going. Perhaps, at first glance the Labyrinth may have reminded you of a maze but it is much different. A maze has many dead ends and many decision or choice points. As a cancer patient, perhaps you are experiencing your treatment like a maze, many dead ends and many confusing and conflicting treatment protocols. That is stressful. The labyrinth is the opposite of that as you only have to put one foot in front of the other. At times you may feel a little disorientated or lost but keep going with the confidence that moving forward will take you exactly where you need to be.

How do you do this thing called a labyrinth walk? Here are three guidelines for you:

  • Release
  • Receive
  • Return

As you stand at the opening of the labyrinth, think about what it is today that bothers you most or what it is that you are needing some help or guidance about. As you walk, just allow yourself to ponder that question and just put one foot in front of the other. Do not try to come up with an answer, just walk and ponder.

When you get to center, imagine yourself receiving a response to your pondering. Maybe you won’t have an immediate ah-ha, but imagine that here in the center there are many possibilities to your refection. Just allow a sense of acceptance and when you feel your energy shift, turn and walk out, circling your path out of the center as you did walking in. Return to your life with a sense of curiosity and let peace float around you like a rainbow. Return to your life knowing that you can take the next step of your cancer journey because you CAN, you have always had the power in you.

Other things that you might want to do as you explore your own journey with my friend the Labyrinth is to listen to music on the way in and out. You may want to carry a rock or something that represents your issue to the center and leave it there, walking out with your hands open in a receiving gesture. I find it helpful to journal before or after a walk. The writing about it for me helps me to punctuate my intention of this meditative time.

I suppose by now you are asking how do you find a labyrinth near you? Visit http://www.labyrinthlocator.com and type in your zip code. The webmasters at this site work hard to keep it updated and if you find a labyrinth near you and it is not on the site, please let them know so they can place it on there. Other helpful sites are

Enjoy your new journey as you use your curiosity to explore how this symbol might be helpful to you along your journey.

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Featured Photo: Astrolog.org

6 Complementary Therapies For Managing Breast Cancer Peripheral Neuropathy During Treatment & Recovery

Complementary Therapies For Managing Breast Cancer Peripheral Neuropathy During Treatment & RecoveryPeripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can cause numbness, tingling, pain, muscle weakness, and other changes. It can be caused or worsened by cancer and cancer treatment, as well as other conditions.

Neuropathy can be difficult to treat, there are some complementary therapies and lifestyle changes that may be helpful for reducing these symptoms and get patients through their cancer treatments more easily or improve their quality of life after treatment. Massage, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques may help decrease pain and reduce mental stress. These therapies can promote health, healing and symptom relief.

Massage: Studies have shown massage to be helpful for relieving pain (not specifically CIPN pain.) Massage may facilitate the healing of nerves by improving blood circulation to the affected tissues (increasing oxygen and nutrient flow.)

Amma Therapy: Aromatherapy massage studies also increases the production of natural pain-killing proteins (called, endorphins) in the tissues being massaged. Aromatherapy massage is a commonly used complementary therapy, and is employed in cancer and palliative care largely to improve quality of life and reduce psychological distress.

AcupunctureAcupuncture: Acupuncture has been reported to help restore nerve function in patients with CIPN. Studies have shown that acupuncture increases blood flow in the limbs (aiding in oxygenation and nutrient delivery to the affected tissues and nerves.)

Reiki: Reiki is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and keeps us healthy (mind and body.) Some studies have found that reiki provides reduction in CIPN symptoms.

Yoga For Managing Breast Cancer Peripheral NeuropathyYoga: Yoga uses movement and postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), 
and meditation to achieve a connection between mind, body, and spirit. Yoga has been studied and found to provide reduction in CIPN symptoms.

Meditation: Meditation is a practice in which an individual focuses their awareness away from the distractions of the fleeting thoughts racing through our mind and onto an activity free of distraction. Meditation has been studied and found to provide reduction in CIPN symptoms.

Managing neuropathy and relieving side effects is an important part of cancer care, treatment and recovery. Many people recover fully from the disorder over time, in a few months or a few years. Your health care provider can help eliminate the cause of your neuropathy and manage symptoms with complementary therapies.

Suggested Reading: Combination Therapy for Neuropathic Pain
Featured Photo: http://www.PositiveMed.com
Article Source: Integrative Oncology Essence

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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