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As the weather cools and the cold and flu season gets well underway it’s important to look after ourselves.  Exposure to viruses is unavoidable, unless we live like a hermit!

Working with children or in air conditioned offices can increase our exposure to many winter viruses

So if we can’t avoid coming into contact with ‘bugs’ the only solution is to strengthen our immune systems to work effectively when we do encounter something ‘nasty’!

 

Here are some tips (for adults) that will see you through the cold and flu season……………….

Wash your hands regularly

Whether you have been holding hands with the children, shaking hands in business meeting or simply opening a door simply adjusting your hands will be carriers of germs. It’s when we rub our eyes, noses or scratch the side of our mouths that we transport these germs to our own bodies

Gargle with a diluted Tea-Tree solution (1 cup of boiled water, left to cool then add 1 drop of tea-tree pure essential oil).  

This is great practice after coming into contact with a roomful of germs i.e. hospitals, doctors surgery, schools and aeroplanes.

Inflammation or a tingling sensation in your throat usually means that an infection is trying to enter your body. Gargling with Tea-Tree can stop the attack going any further! Tea-Tree oil has antibiotic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic, expectorant and anti-fungal properties!

Keep your home healthy by diffusing oils.

Not only will be enhancing the atmosphere of your home but you can kill germs at the same time.

There are a number of ways to do this:-

– Place a glass/ceramic bowl on top of a radiator filled with water and 10/20 drops of pure essential oils.

– Use a specially designed ‘aromatherapy burner’. (These can be candle based or electrical )

– Place a small bowl of water and 20 drops of your chosen oils on top of a radiator

 

You can have loads of fun mixing your desired oils to create an aroma which is pleasing to you. 

 

Here are 4 great oils that every home should have!

 

Lavender –           antiseptic, antiviral, antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, deodorant & insect repellent

Lemon      –           antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, disinfectant, detoxifying and insect repellent

Tea-Tree   –           antiseptic, antiviral, antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, disinfectant & expectorant

Eucalyptus –          antiseptic, antiviral, antibiotic, antibacterial, decongestant, deodorant, disinfectant & insect repellent 

 

In 1925 experiments proved tea-tree oil to be 13 times stronger than carbolic acid!!!

Lemon oil has been shown to neutralise, the micro-organisms which cause the bacterial infections of typhoid, diphtheria and Tuberculosis within 5 -20 minutes! When vaporised it takes less than 3 hours to neutralise the germ that causes pneumonia!

CAUTIONARY NOTE: Some oils are toxic, some are skin irritants and some promote menstruation (emmenagogue) so should not be used by pregnant women. If in doubt consult a qualified Aromatherapist.

 

Keep yourself healthy and your immune system in tip-top condition

Optimum Nutrition plays an important part in developing a healthy immune system. Sugar, alcohol, stress and lack of sleep all rob our immune system and leave us vulnerable to picking up any bugs that are around. 

 

At the first sign of a cold (usually a scratchy throat or eyes)

–  Take Sambucol (this is an elderberry extract) 

In double blind trials (results published in 1995) Sambucol was tested on people diagnosed with any one of a number of strains of flu virus. 20% of patients showed significant improvement in symptoms within 24 hours and a further 73% showed improvement within 48 hours. After 3 days 90% had complete relief of their symptoms. The group on a placebo took at least 6 days to recover!

–  Take sufficient Vitamin C to stop a cold/virus from taking hold.

1000mg of Vitamin C a day helps reduce the incidence of colds. For a cold virus to ‘take hold’ it must get inside the cells and program them to replicate the cold virus. If the body’s tissues are saturated with Vitamin C the virus cannot survive. Tissue saturation is likely to be achieved by taking around 10 – 15 grams of Vitamin C in a day or 3000mg (3g) every 3 hours ( this dose would only be recommended for a couple of days at the start of a cold/flu).

Note:  this is nearly 400 times the RDA. Recommended Daily Allowance is the amount suggested to stop deficiency, not achieve optimum performance from the body. Vitamin C is water soluble and not toxic though too much may result in loose bowels.

 

Drink 2/3 cups of Cat’s claw Tea. Cats claw Tea is a powerful anti-viral and immune boosting plant from the Peruvian Rainforest. 

 

Do Yoga!

The following Asanas (yoga postures) are very useful in relieving stress, stimulating the immune system while balancing the endocrine system.

 

Supported Supta Baddha Konasana

This restorative pose not only calms your nervous system but also stimulates your immune system.

Stay for 5-20 minutes as long as you are comfortable.

Note: if you suffer from backache sit further from the bolster or just lay flat on the floor.

– Place a bolster or cushions on the floor

– Sit on the floor, in front of the bolster (your sacrum a fist distance away from the bolster)

– Place the soles of your feet together in Baddha Konasana then lie back onto the bolster support under thighs with cushions or blocks

– Place a folded blanket or cushion under your head so your chin is slightly lower than your forehead

– Lay cushions (or blocks) by your sides and rest your arms and hands on them

– Finally lay an eye bag or a folded strap across your eyes then relax and enjoy

 

Supported Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)

Like Supta Badha Konasana this pose calms your nervous system and stimulates your immune system. It also has the additional benefit of balancing your endocrine system (your hormones).

This posture does require some yoga experience……

– place some cushions (or blocks) at the foot of the sofa

– sit on the sofa, place your legs up the sofa back then gently slide your shoulders to the floor, until they rest on the cushions.

– If your sofa is too low then place a cushion or folded blanket under your sacrum

– Stretch your feet towards the ceiling.

 

NOTE: The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

 

Printed in Om Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine (June 2017)

by Veronica Greene, founder of Little Greene Yoga

Little Greene Yoga a certified children’s teacher training package (3-5yrs; 5-8yrs; 8-12yrs & Teens)

 

Congratulations! You’ve passed and are now a fully qualified Yoga Instructor!

What now?

You have your 200 hours yoga qualification under your belt. You’re ready to take on the whole world and can’t wait to share your knowledge with everyone and I mean everyone – the benefits of yoga should be shared no matter age, sex, health, disability or life stage.

 

So does your yoga qualification really cover you to teach ‘everyone’?

You did attend a talk on children’s yoga as part of your course. You were also instructed to treat pregnant woman as individuals! So surely that means you are able to teach the whole world?

Absolutely – you can teach whomever you want. In fact given that there are no national standards you could’ve taught without actually having done you’re a yoga qualification, in the first place, and many people do!

But not you – you decided to arm yourself with knowledge and completed a ‘certified’ teacher training course!

So do you think that lecture on children’s yoga has equipped you to teach children; the pregnancy notes given are enough to see a student through the nine months of pregnancy and then the postnatal phase?

One could argue that a body is just a body no matter what age or what life stage; one could also argue that yoga is the same no matter who you’re teaching it to!

In part you are right ………………………let’s start from the beginning.

 

Conception!

As soon as a woman conceives and the fertilized egg becomes an embryo major, internal changes start to take place in her body. Hormone levels rise causing a range of symptoms from nausea to loosening joints. Cardiac output increases and blood pressure drops. All changes which are perfectly normal but will affect her balance, mood and body awareness. As the pregnancy progresses the weight of the baby will affect digestion, circulation, breathing not to mention the pressure on her pelvic floor.

Pregnancy Yoga

At this time many woman decide to take up yoga for the first time! Many health practitioners recommend it as they deem yoga a gentle form of exercise. This, of course, will depend on the class and the style that is being taught.

 

As 10 – 20% of spontaneous miscarriages happen in the first trimester taking up any new activity, at this stage is not recommended.

Even after the 1st trimester many instructors do not feel comfortable having a pregnant woman in their class as they have a duty of care for not only the mother but also the unborn child. This is unfortunate as yoga is wonderful physically and mentally for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Many yoga postures are deemed unsuitable for pregnant woman as they may put too much pressure on the abdomen or pelvic floor – mostly closed twists, abdominal work and strong backbends. That’s the general guidelines for a ‘normal pregnancy’ but what about the common problems that can and do occur in pregnancy – high blood pressure; gestational diabetes, prematurely dilated cervix, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction? In some yoga traditions even standing postures would be avoided especially if there is a history of miscarriage and these are the mainstay of many a yoga class!

 

After the birth yoga is fantastic to rebuild the body without any risk to the now, born child.

Again many changes have to be made:- prone positions where the mother is lying fully on her abdomen and chest could be uncomfortable and lead to mastitis; unsupported backbends can be too energizing and dry up the mum’s milk supply.

What about pelvic floor issues, painful 3rd degree tears; cesarean scar tissue, carpal tunnel, separated tummy muscles (diastasis recti). In fact the popularised photo of the mum, in a variation of Boat Pose, with her baby balanced on her shins, is an absolute no-no for a mother with separated tummy muscles – who knew!

The child grows and the parents, knowing how great yoga is, send them to a yoga class. These children are just mini people so surely the same yoga can be taught in just a more child friendly way.

No! This small person has a developing body i.e. the arches of the feet are developing; bones are still fusing, hormone surges take place especially in boys aged 4-6yrs; the lumbar curve of the spine does not fully assume it’s adult shape until the age of 10 etc. etc.

 

Many yoga teachers will teach children and teens the same postures as they would an adult and in the same way.

Although inversions are beneficial for their developing endocrine system one really does need to tread carefully.

Children do not have enough body awareness or upper body strength to perform headstands (Sirasasana 1) safely without injury to their cervical spine! Shoulderstands held, as one would in adult class, can be overstimulating to an underdeveloped thyroid gland.

‘True’ Pranayama, as taught on many training courses, should not be practiced with children or indeed teens for a variety of reasons – the most important being that their lungs are still growing until late teens for girls and early 20s for boys. Bhastrika and Kumbhaka pranayama are actually considered dangerous for this age group.

That’s quite a lot of information and responsibility!

 

In the words of Aristotle – “The more you know the more you know you don’t know”.

Legally there’s no requirement for supplemental training but to best prepare for the myriad of life stages and challenges each presents, do consider embarking on some of the specialist training courses that are now available.