Elderberry To The Rescue- How We Fight Off Fall and Winter Germs

mwt-elderberry

What is Elderberry and why it’s a mandatory staple in our house for the fall and winter months?

Elderberry is one of the most common herbs used for seasonal wellness.

Used for colds and flu primarily, they contain: organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid,vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C.

They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic.

Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries.

According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Elderberries also have a really pleasant taste, are safe for kiddos and for pregnant or nursing mamas as well.

Every fall/winter we make a simple elderberry syrup to take daily

1-2TBS/day for prevention, every few hours to treat illness -roughly 1-3 tsp. for kids 2 and up.

((Though with my daughter she received it as young as 1 year.))

elderberry-syrup-recipe

Syrup Ingredients:

 * ⅔- 1 c. of dried elderberries
*3-4 c. water ( some recipes use apple cider instead!)
*2 tbs ginger
*½ tsp black pepper
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tbs licorice
*½ tsp. Cloves
*½ tsp nutmeg(optional)

 Place all herbs in a pot.

Add water.

Bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off heat.

Strain herbs using a mesh strainer and/or cheese cloth.

Combine the liquid with raw honey

(depending on how sweet you like your syrup use 1:1 ratio or ½:1 ratio.

So 1 cup of honey to 1 cup of syrup or 1 c. of honey to 2 c. syrup) or anywhere in between.

Other recipes use closer to 1 c. honey to 3 c. liquid decoction (the boiled liquid from roots/berries).

Stir.

Pour into glass jar or amber bottle.

Store in fridge for a month or so.

Make sure to label with dates for optimal freshness!

We have also loved turning our Elderberry Syrup into Gummy Snacks.

(great as a daily treat, or to munch on when your feeling under the weather)

elderberry-gummies-recipe

Gummy Ingredients:

 * Silicone Molds Or A Glass Pan
( you can cut them into squares once gelled)
*Beef Gelatin Powder
*2 Cups of Liquid

Mix 1 c. of cold syrup with 3 TBS gelatin.

Heat the other cup of syrup and then add to the mixture.

Whisk.

Pour into molds and put in the fridge for an hour or two. Voila!

Mama Wellness Tip- Finding your Happy Womb Breath

 

Use this quick and easy breathing meditation whenever you need to feel connected and restful.

Especially great to ease cramps or feelings of anxiety !

Click below to view the Happy Womb Breath Video and create your happy womb.

http://bit.ly/HappyWombVideo


Are you a mama struggling to find her way through the sea of information that is out there?

I would love to work one on one with you so you feel totally empowered and ready to make all the best choices for you and your little one.

Click here to book your breakthrough session

 

Should you practice yoga during your period?

A lot of women have this question: Should I practice yoga while I have my period?  Or maybe this thought has never occurred to you!  After all, we live in modern American.  We have tampon commercials that promise us we can ride horses, wear bikinis, and never even notice we have a period.  So why not practice yoga? Why we should stop ignoring and start loving our periods is a blog post for another day (in fact, it’s written right here.)

But let’s assume that you, the wise and enlightened woman you are, want to work with your body and not against it.  Should you practice yoga during your period? And if so, are there certain kinds of practices that are better or worse to do?

“SHE SAID IT DIDN’T MATTER”

One of my clients once told me that her yoga teacher said there were no changes that needed to be made to her practice during her period, and there were no poses that benefitted a healthy cycle or fertility.

Well, Geeta S. Iyengar (daughter of B.K.S. Iyengar – an entire style of yoga) says that’s simply not true. She’s dedicated her career to helping women overcome painful periods, illness connected to cycles and womb health.   She says in her book The Women’s Yoga Book,

“Yoga is meditation in action.  If you organize your practice in response to all phases of your menstrual cycle, it will provide you with the power and comfort of ritual and will add stability to your life by reestablishing your link with nature’s cycles.”

I agree.  So, if we know that there are certain poses to practice during certain times of your cycle, we know that during your period you want to select poses that enhance the energy that’s already happening.

APANA VATA

Apana is the downward flow of elimination that is associated with eliminating anything unwanted from the body, including shedding the uterine lining.  If we want to work with this energy and not aggravate it (and cause symptoms to worsen or appear) we want to choose poses that are:

  • Gentle.
  • Don’t compress the belly, uterus or ovaries.
  • Don’t reverse the blood flow (i.e. inversions).
  • Help reduce swelling, cramping and fatigue.

Some teachers recommend you don’t practice at all during your cycle, and you may find that this rule works well for you.  But if you choose to practice during your cycle choose a home practice so you can tailor your postures to your needs.  Follow these general guidelines:

  • Avoid standing poses – they generate too much heat that’s already being created from menstruation.
  • Avoid twists – they over tax your organs and can cause flooding or clotting of menstrual blood.
  • Try gentle seated bends – they can help reduce swelling.
  • Use seated forward folds (leaving room for belly or gently compressing on belly can bring relief from cramps depending on what feels right in your body.) They quiet the brain and reduce fatigue.
  • Avoid inversions – they reduce that apana vata flow of mala or bodily waste like menstrual blood. Can contribute to problems like heavy bleeding and endometriosis.
  • Reclining poses are wonderful – they help with feelings of pelvic pain and fatigue or headaches.
  • Avoid backbends – they overtax the system.  Gentle supported backbends like an elevated supta bada konasana are exceptions.
  • No seated pranayama- too challenging on nervous system.  Choose gentle breaths in reclining positions.

Jot down how you feel or take note of what poses feel best during your cycle. Click here for my favorite yoga poses for fertility enhancing!

sandra yoga period

Mama Wellness Tip- Spring yoga pose for happy hormones

For this Mama Wellness Tip you will start in utkatasana by stepping the feet to touch.

Bend into your knees, slightly tuck your tailbone.

Inhale and raise your arms, exhale and bring your palms to touch at your heart

as you twist to your right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.

Check that your left knee hasn’t moved forward (keep both knees in line).

Repeat for other side.

Especially useful for PMS, PCOS and endometriosis sufferers.

(Avoid this pose if you are pregnant, bleeding, or are past ovulation in your cycle.)

Interested in learning more about how yoga can improve your hormonal happiness,

schedule your breakthrough session with Sandra. 

mwtyogahappyhormones

 

The Green Kind

Hey Mamas,

Sandra here.  I want to get real for a minute, shall we?

It’s the New Moon, which is a time of planting new things. It’s a fresh start – the time women would typically start their new cycle, start bleeding. The time to start herbal tinctures and plant seeds. To be honest, this feels like a waste of time for me right now.  New seeds??  New seeds?? I can’t seem to get the ones I already planted to grow! Nothing seems to be taking root, nothing seems to be sprouting.  It’s a season of struggle for sure in many areas of my life.  (And if we’re honest, isn’t there always one area that is in the middle of some kind of struggle?)  The details aren’t even that important.

I know you can relate.  Is it trying to get pregnant for you? Does the idea of trying One. More. Time. just fill you with dread? Are you afraid everyday for the fragile life that you might be carrying?

Maybe it’s pregnancy.  You know that technically there’s your baby, your future, growing inside of you, but mostly it feels like inconvenience, pain, sleeplessness, discomfort, fear, exhaustion. It’s dragging.  Most of the time it feels like it’s getting worse, not growing something amazing.

Maybe your babies are here.  Maybe they’re even grown.  You’ve done all this work to help them grow and grow yourself and you feel like those seeds must have gotten washed away with the last storm.  Where’s the progress?  Why does everything feel hard?

Mama, I’m with you. More than you know. 

Let me join you there, in that place.  Not in a join-the-pity-party kind of way, but in a real, let’s be honest, this is how it is kind of way.

I watched a sermon the other day where the pastor brilliantly talked about the place between denial and despair.  It’s called destiny.  If we deny the reality of things, we’re not optimists, we’re crazy.  If I pretended that I was feeling awesome through my whole twin pregnancy for the sake of protecting my image to clients – that’s just a lie.  On the other hand is despair.  If I just spiraled downward into a hole and gave up hope that God could or would do anything beautiful through that experience, I’d kill any chance for growth – despair.

The place in the middle is destiny.  The place in the middle is where the seeds eventually bloom.  Where the winter eventually ends and something starts to look green.  Where the joy we’ve been fighting so hard to hold onto fills us with energy and we take one more step and finally see a breakthrough.

Take one more step, mama.

You can do it.  I’ll do it with you. Plant more seeds.  Wait on the planted ones.  Water them with your tears – of sadness and of joy.  Try One. More. Time.  God’s moving in the seasons when it looks like nothing is happening or ever will. How long ago did I plant that seed of hope for a baby? That seed of health for myself? Who even remembers at this point?  Don’t give up the hope.   God is a God of green hope.  There’s a future for you – your health, your family – even if it seems like it’s buried under a lot of *shit* right now.

Happy New Moon Mamas,  See you at Harvest time. 🙂

Mama Wellness Tip to make your house more joyful

Add this one thing to your shopping list for joy on your mama journey no matter where you are. It’s especially useful to enhance the romance of life. Make sure to choose roses or dried rose petals that are free of pesticides. Especially if you will be adding to your tea. What makes this even better, a girls night shared with a fellow mama soaking in the joy and sharing some tea time together.

Looking for on online collection of mama’s to join on this journey with, join us on facebook Happy WOMBen: Pre-conception, Pregnancy, and Mama Wellness. 

Twist for Release – Yoga Pose for Detox

Yoga Pose Tip: Marychasana C

This deep twisting pose is incredibly cleansing for your internal organs.
If you’re suffering from PCOS, blockages in your fallopian tubes or bad PMS symptoms this pose is great for you. It compresses (cutting off prana and blood flow to) the liver, ovaries, womb, and then releases, flooding with fresh energy and oxygen!

If you cannot get your elbow to the outside of the knee, just hold that knee with your hand. Don’t strain to turn the head, let it be the natural extension of the pose. Keep the straight leg active.

When to do it:

  • After you’ve warmed up your spine and practiced some breathing exercises.
  • In the morning before eating or at bedtime (on an empty stomach).
  • During the first half of your cycle (pre-ovulation) if you’re trying to conceive, or all the way up to your period if you’re not.

When NOT to do it:

  • When you’re actually bleeding.
  • If you’re during retrieval or implantation days if you’re using those methods.
  • If you’re pregnant (you can modify by sitting in easy seated pose and just gently twisting to each side with one hand behind you and one hand on your knee.)
  • The second half of your cycle (post ovulation) if you’re trying to conceive. (You don’t want to continue to overstimulate the ovaries, instead focus on poses that encourage implantation!)

ENJOY!

New Mamas – Don’t Take Your Prenatal

mama wellness tip postpartum vitamin

You’ve probably been told to keep taking your prenatal vitamin postpartum.  But did you know that breastfeeding mamas have very different needs than a pregnant mama?  Everybody’s worried about your nutrition prenatally, but a lot less worry about nutrition for postpartum mothers unless there’s a concern about food allergies for newborns. I think it’s a lot more important than that!  Paying attention to our nutrients and nourishment postpartum can help prevent postpartum depression and increase longterm reproductive health.

In fact, the amount of milk a new mom produces in the first 4 months is roughly equivalent to the same amount of energy she used the entire pregnancy creating a human being!  That’s crazy.  It was a surprising statistic to me.  Your prenatal vitamin might not cut it.  You’ll also need to increase the amount of food you eat, and choose foods that are healing for the first 6-12 weeks.

Things to focus on with your diet and supplementation:

  • Extra B vitamins: especially B6 for seratonin and melatonin production.
  • Organic kelp: Supports your thyroid – which decreases function usually around month 4 postpartum (why some women have hair loss).  A healthy thyroid keeps your metabolism going well and wards off mood swings.  The iodine in kelp helps to support brain development in baby.
  • Vitamin C and copper : both good for development.
  • A small amount of fermented foods: to help metabolism and digestion.  Not too much though – they can produce gas which is particularly uncomfortable if you’ve had a surgical birth.
  • Bone broths: If you’re not a vegetarian the minerals found in bone broths are irreplaceable to healing postpartum.  Stock your freezer now and have a few sips or bowls of soup made with it each day.
  • Avoid sugar:  You’re gonna want it.  You’re tired and exerting more energy now with your new little one nursing and possibly an older child or a few of them.  But just say no!  Having sugar postpartum can lead to that crash feeling, increased anxiety and feelings of depression.
  • Fish oils: Especially in the interest of warding off baby blues and keeping your immune system up, add in the fish oils.  I really think Fermented Cod Liver Oil is the way to go – the fermentation process maintains the most nutrients and it’s sourced really well.
  • Herbs:  There are too many to list here!  A good one to start with is chamomile, as it aids with after birth pains and induces a feeling of calm or even sleepiness in some.

One supplement I recommend often (and it’s a newer one) is New Chapter PostNatal.  They ferment they’re whole food sources and add in supportive herbs. You might also encapsulate your placenta, drink a little beer for hops and possibly lactation teas.  I could go on and on!

Need your New Mama Guided Meditation?  Click here.

Ready to find hormonal balance and wellness postpartum?  Click here to schedule your Blissful Mam Breakthrough Session now!

How to Squat with Purpose

malasana garland pose yoga squat

Malasana or garland pose is one of those classic poses that a lot of people can do, and has a variety of benefits. Here are a few that will likely apply to you!

  • Creates a feeling of being “grounded” and safe (as it deeply activates and connects you to the root chakra).
  • An easy pose to locate and strengthen your pelvic floor.
  • Relieves lower back pain. Especially for people who sit at a desk all day and have poor posture!
  • Opens your hips and pelvis for conception and birth.
  • Enhances circulation to the pelvis and womb.
  • Lubricates knee and hip joints.
  • Encourages deep breathing.

Here are my tips for maximizing the benefits of malasana!

  1. Use a support under your perineum (especially if you have Symphisis Pubis Discomfort, are late in pregnancy,or have knee issues. )  This helps increase that feeling of connectedness, earthiness and grounding.  You can use a blanket, pillow, block or bolster.
  2. Use your breath (in and out through the nose, or ujayyi breath if you’re familiar with it) to really use your pelvic floor. One of my teachers used to call them “elevator kegels“!  On either the inhale or the exhale, lift up on the pelvic floor (that sensation like you’re trying to stop the flow of urine), and then use the opposite breath to slowly release.   See if you can continue without pause between breaths or movements of the pelvic floor.
  3. Lean against a wall while doing this for a whole other world of support.  Allow everything to totally release.
  4. Relax your jaw.  The hips and the jaw are intimately connected to each other.  Notice what happens if you tense up your jaw, where else in your body do you feel that tension?  Now notice what happens if you release it?  Pigeon (eka pada rajakapotasana) is another great posture to notice the hip-jaw connection.  This is especially important to practice if you’re trying to get pregnant or are pregnant!  It’s why we kiss before sex – it loosens everything up down there.  The throat chakra (being able to express ourselves and our needs well) is related to the root chakra (feeling safe and provided for).  It’s much easier to conceive (i.e. welcome a new being into our bodies) when we feel that we are safe to be able to express our needs and have them met.
  5. Practice daily and hold the pose through any feelings of discomfort (emotional or physical).  *Pain and discomfort are different things.  If you feel pain, especially in your knees, stop! And ask your teacher how to modify or if you should skip the pose.*  Humans tend to carry a lot of feelings of disappointment in the pelvic/hip area, and women even more so.  Notice what emotions come up for you, acknowledge them, breathe with them, honor them, and let them go.

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