Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Unexpected yoga.... the best practice

This morning after dropping my son off my mind was racing a thousand miles per hour. I was thinking about my 3rd graduate class I registered for and whether or not I really feel like going through with it, worried about how am I gonna make time for it. I knew I needed to clear my mind and get grounded yet I did not feel like practicing asana.

I decided to sit in meditation for ten minutes. Prior to meditation I prayed and set the intention for me to be shown what it is I am supposed to be doing with myself. I keep going back and forth between postponing grad school until I am finished with YTT, but at the same time I am learning so much in grad school and discovering so many opportunities. Grad school so far along with yoga and meditation is really opening my eyes to what I believe my ultimate goal is. Its funny because I really do enjoy writing and the assignments for grad school.  Most of the time I can relate assignments to holistic nursing and/or yoga :) The main issue is time management, of course my time is tight but I have to remember what my dear friend told me one day... " i have just enough time to do everything that is important to me".  Whenever I think about that, I calm down and realize that it is true. My other issue is worrying that I may not do "good enough" I will be so glad when this doesnt bother me as much, lol I know I will do just fine, because that has been my history, but the mind likes to try and play games  sometimes.

Anyways, back to the point. After meditation my body naturally decided to do a little cat/dog flow, after that I did a few more warm ups, then standing poses, cobra, locust, wind-releiving, and then a 12 minute savasana!  The asana part was not planned!  After meditating, I guess thats what  I needed so I just went with it. Once my practice was over, I felt so light, calm, and less "flighty". I am still not 100% sure grad school is what I am supposed to be doing right now, but something inside of me says to keep going.  I will just have to learn to be a little more confident and manage my time for effectively.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another "A"

Finally, a week after my research class ended, my instructor posted our grades. This was a seven week course online- graduate level research. Now, for the record, I love research and writing but this class was so much work! I couldn't wait for it to end. Many times during the course I was overwhelmed trying to get assignments completed in time. But one thing remained constant, every single time I received feedback either from my classmates or grades from my instructor and even just reviewing my own finished product, I felt so proud and accomplished.  This class along with many other factors gave me the inspiration and confidence to begin to share my writings. 

Recently, I contacted  a few nursing/holistic websites for information on being a contributing author. To my suprise, so far I've made one contact and will be posting my writings to their site soon😊

As I sit here this morning drinking my coffee ,I felt the urge to get this blog out. I never really wanted to stop my grad school classes but realize my life is very busy at this time. However, since acquiring my new role as a contributing author and receiving yet another "A" in a graduate level class, I'm ready to register for another course. I am finally seeing the potential that an advanced degree can bring. Not only professionally, but it's starting to matter to me on a personal level. I can't explain how proud I am recieving such positive feedback throughout my recent courses. I've admitted before, I have that history of always doubting myself and thinking "I'm not good enough" Thank God for yoga because that mindset is slowly transitioning to one of "I can do whatever I put my mind to"

So, grad classes start today, but I know it's my vata being off balance that's making think I should rush and register for another class....even though I know my plate is already pretty full....

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What can we learn from our SAPS (stress, anxiety, pain, suffering)

I have always believed that pain is present to teach us a lesson. Disease, especially I believe is the bodies way of letting us know that we did not pay enough attention to earlier, subtle signs from the body. Disease also is the bodies way of crying out for help and attention. Nothing gets our attention faster than pain or recent diagnosis of chronic disease.

Personally, I have had my own battles with stress, pain, anxiety, and suffering. I talk all about it in my  yoga storyhttp://holisticlifern.blogspot.com/p/yoga.html . I was successful in relieving a lot of my back pain, digestive symptoms, stress, and anxiety.

Currently, I have been facing some chest discomfort for months now. Its not severe enough to convince me that its something serious. I had a visit with my nurse practitioner who seems to think my chest pain is related to my relax. Over the summer, I started eating any and everything, more fast food, tons of coffee,etc. I was also very busy over the summer, always traveling here and there. Around July, in addition to my chest discomfort, I started having reflux again and trouble swallowing. This is what prompted me to seek my NP. I was given scrip for omeprazole. I never finished the 30 day treatment, but I did go back to eating healthier and decreasing my stress.

Here we are in October and I still have the chest discomfort. It seems to only surface while I am at work, or when I am expressing a lot of emotion (good or bad). Since my healing touch session wednesday and learning that my throat chakra was off balance, I began to learn more about the throat chakra. The throat chakra is all about communication, speaking your truth and listening to others. I have to say I am not the best with communication, historically I hold back how I feel and can never really get my words out verbally. I have been journaling more, and blogging more over the last year. I have also started to share more about myself and my truths with the world. I can remember being embarrassed to talk about holistic nursing and yoga at work. I was so worried about what people would think about me. I thought they wouldn't recognize my specialty and think of me as "less than" Somewhere over the last few months, I stopped worrying about what anyone would think and began to share all that I am passionate about. Creativity and expressing creativity is another characteristic of the throat chakra. I have never been creative, I remember dreading arts and crafts in school, again I always thought I wouldn't do as great of a job as everyone else.  Even to this day, I get a little nervous when I have to do something with arts. However, I have learned to express my creativity  in other ways, my hair, styling my daughters hair, blogging, writing, picture editing, etc. Ive also designed my business cards and flyers for my private practice.

Exploring the throat chakra is bringing up a lot of things that helps me understand why that chakra was off balance. As far as the chest pain, its pretty high in my chest, right around my esophagus. Way in my upper chest, which I  think is part of the throat chakra. I sometimes wonder if I am experiencing this chest discomfort because I am finally communicating, finally expressing myself, and finally being creative. I feel like I must have a ton of energy thats just trapped! Im getting some of it out, in the ways I mentioned above, but theres so much more creative energy left. This makes sense to me since I am on a mission to build my private practice!  I have some nay ideas and things I want to accomplish, but sometimes I feel a little trapped... either by my full-time job, fear, laziness, etc.

It is now my daily mission to get some of my creative energy out every day!

Listening.... I almost forgot to speak on this subject. I have never been a good listener. I am one of those people who prepare their response while the other person is talking. I am always anxious to get my little $0.02 out, even though most of the time I don't know what to say or how to get it out! I have to learn to be a better listener. My husband and children always say to me "let me finish" before I go blabbing off! So another mission for me will be to actively listen~

"Creating calm in your heart, creates calm in your patients"

My favorite quote from Annette Tersigni. Yesterday I had a patient recovering from abdominal surgery. She was going home post procedure. The anesthesiologist only ordered IV fentanyl ( strong short-lived narcotic) because she felt as though IV dilaudid (strong longer-lived narcotic) may delay her going home. I disagreed with the doctor but since my patient arrived very sleepy, I thought I would be able to get away with just giving her IV fentanyl . My patient was very drowsy, she wouldn't open her eyes and barely spoke to me, but when I asked her if she had pain she would say yes and rate it 9/10. Now to the eyes she looked very comfortable, but something told me to treat her pain anyway, so I did. I ended up giving her multiple doses of fentanyl and it just wasn't working. She began to clench her fist and tears were rolling down her eyes. Although she still wouldn't open her eyes or really talk to me, I believed her pain. I knew she wasn't too drowsy to handle more narcotics. I then called the on call anesthesiologist and explained the case and requested IV dilaudid for her. As I was pushing the IV dilaudid, I touched her shoulder and explained to her that she needed to try to slow down her breathing. She was breathing almost 30x/min (normal 8-20)! I let her know that the heavy fast breathing was only making her pain worse as she was using more of her abdominal muscles. At this time, I also realized I needed to take some deep breaths. I was becoming frustrated with her because I had already given her a ton of IV fentanyl, she was still sleepy, and I started to think I would never get her pain under control. I was also frustrated that she wouldn't communicate with me the way I wanted. I wanted her to open her eyes and talk, I wanted her to wake up and sit up so that she could begin to take liquids and pain pills. I started thinking, "she's never gonna go home"

After realizing how frustrated I was, I began to think my negativity isn't good for her. I wasn't providing a healing environment because my thoughts were not good. I was not focused on the task at hand. I was so worried about "how am I gonna get her home" that I wasn't focusing on what was going on with her right now. As I encouraged her to take slow deep breaths, I did too. Soon after the IV dilaudid and a little deep breathing, she closed her eyes and fell asleep for about 10 minutes. When she woke up, she opened her eyes, asked for a drink, and even scooted herself up in bed unassisted. Her respirations were down to 11/minute and she looked so much better!

Within the next hour she was discharged! I couldn't help but have a smile on my face because I knew I did the right thing for her. I know the narcotics played a major role in her pain control, but Im sure the deep breathing and the change in my attitude helped as well.

As a recovery room nurse, I don't have the chance to practice actual yoga postures with my patients. I have been practicing breathing with them however. After all, on our flowsheet one of the nursing interventions is "encourage deep breathing". Breathing or pranayama or "Sacred breath"(yoga nursing term) is often the most beneficial component of a yoga practice, well of any type of healing. I can't think of any situation in patient care or my personal practice where a few deep breaths ever did any harm. It brings calms in our patients allowing their medications to work better for them. It also helps them clear the anesthesia and medications given, as exhaling is a way of the body releasing whatever is no longer serving us :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Everyday Yoga

This afternoon I had the pleasure of practicing yoga while I waited for my daughters school bus. Normally I leave my house at 3:50 and she arrives by 4:00, however today there was construction on our main road which led her to not arrive until 4:15.

It was chilly outside and for the first 2 minutes I was irritable and contemplating going back to the house to get my car and wait in the car. I decided to take a seat on the grass and just chill out. It seems the second I sat down, my body somehow became warm. I no longer felt like I was freezing, and I no longer worried when she would arrive. I knew all was well. I had no idea what time she would arrive because the day before my husband said her bus didn't make it to our house until 4:30. I didn't care though, I sat on the grass feeling the occasional warmth from the sun, listened to the birds and insects,  and felt the cool wind blowing. All of these things kept me in the present moment. I naturally felt like it was a good time to meditate. I began by just watching my breath, just feeling the breath move in and out and noticing how my body felt. I felt calm, warm, and present. The sounds of nature and the sun and wind kept me present. I believe I felt warm when I sat down on the grass because the earth has healing potentials. The earth's vibration warmed my body. I couldn't help but keep a soft smile as I sat and just let myself "be".

I titled this post "everyday yoga" because this is what it is. You don't need a studio, yoga mat, or fancy poses to practice yoga.  I went from feeling cold, irritable, and annoyed to warm, calm, and happy with just breathing and becoming present. Yoga is all about finding stillness, finding peace, becoming present. I hope this post inspires you all to realize and practice everyday yoga when the opportunity presents :)

And now, heres a picture of my beautiful little girl :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My first healing touch session

A few weeks ago I met with my instructor from my level 1 Healing Touch class. She introduced me to a healing touch practitioner and yoga teacher in my area. I tried scheduling appointments with her twice before but something always came up. Well, last week we arranged to meet today and I thought again something would come up to keep me from meeting her. I did feel a little sick yesterday with aches and pains and a sore throat. I thought for sure I would have to cancel the appointment. This morning I woke up and still felt a little sick but much better than the yesterday. I decided to go for my appointment.  This was my first session!  Ive practiced healing touch at home for my own self care, but haven't had the opportunity to receive a full treatment.

I arrive at the location and could almost feel the positive energy from the sidewalk. I didn't feel an ounce of nervousness or anxiety. I had never met this women in person and had no idea what the experience would be like, but at the same time I knew everything was ok and I was right where I was supposed to be. We meet and instantly I feel like I had known her for years!

Before the session started, she asked a few questions to see if I had any physical or emotional issues I wanted to focus on today. I told her Ive had mild occasional chest pain related to heartburn for months now, although it wasn't bothering me at the moment. I didn't have any real active issues, I just wanted the experience.

Once on the table, I set the intention to allow myself to receive whatever I needed and to let go of whatever I didn't need. The session was 45minutes but it felt so much shorter, when she let me know it was over by calling my name and tapping my feet, I felt like I was waking up from a very restorative nap. I felt light and giddy, so much so that I kinda stumbled getting off the table. We sat and chatted and she let me know which chakras were "compromised" on her initial assessment. She assured me after her intervention ( spiral meditation and chakra connection) that all of my chakras were in beautiful flow. The chakras that were compromised were throat, sacral, solar plexus, and left hip. I could understand why each one of them was! My throat had been sore the day before so that made perfect sense. My solar plexus has been an issue for me for a while, I still have problems with digestion (occasionally) and I am can be very self- conscious at times. The sacral chakra had me a little confused at first because I couldn't immediately identify what could have that off balance. But after thinking, I realized I am still very shy when it comes to discussing anything sexual. Its like Im almost embarrassed to talk about it (lol). Finally, my left hip. This made perfect sense because I have L sided sciatica! Now, my sciatica wasn't bothering me this morning and hardly ever bothers me (like it used to) but I couldn't believe how accurate my energy fields were. It was just such an amazing experience.

From this day on, I will work on the chakras that were compromised as well as continue to listen to my inner teacher for guidance and answers. I am still somewhat concerned about my chest pain and was shocked to learn that my heart chakra wasn't out of balance.  A compromised throat chakra could cause some chest discomfort as this charka is related to the esophagus amongst other organs.  I guess I will be speaking up more and speaking my truth more towards myself and others!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Yoga with coworkers

Recently, I had been thinking about sharing yoga with my coworkers. Months ago, actually almost a year ago I started sharing basic poses with coworkers who were interested. This was before yoga nurse essentials and before my yoga teacher training. I always knew I wanted to mix yoga and nursing. Now, because I write and take pictures of everything, I searched my old files to find my recording of it. Here's the little note I captured on my phone from that day: 
   A little yoga with coworkers this am
Forward fold

Everyone felt "looser" one told me she felt like it put her in a good mood

I felt like I was breathing easier 

What's even more ironic about me bringing this up, is the fact that last week I mentioned to one of my coworkers that I was gonna start bringing my mat to work and practicing a few poses, meditation, or breathing during part of my lunch break. She asked if I had a mat I could bring for her! We then went to search our new second unit because there's a small vacant storage room.... The room was full of crap but we weren't discouraged. We headed back up to our unit and asked my assistant nurse manager for help, she was very supportive and said I could practice wherever and we could always move the storage items while we practice! That day I left so excited!!! Now randomly, I recorded a video today on my phone and sent it to my ipad to edit. Now because I often do this, when the message arrived to my ipad, an old thread posted as well with the picture from the day I practiced yoga with my coworkers! I had forgotten all about that picture until last week when I started making plans for yoga at work. I thought the picture was lost in cyber space forever. 

All of this is to say that everything happens for a reason and there's always signs that the universe is working in our favor.  

Yoga Nursing and Yoga teacher training

This morning I had a lovely yoga practice. Reecently, I have been contemplating obtaining Yoga Nurse Certification. Since Ive already shared how I feel, my graduate studies aren't really fitting well into my life right now, I won't beat that horse again. But, I have to say since Ive made closure with the decision to postpone my graduate studies, I have been thinking and feeling that I must continue what I am passionate about. Since starting my yoga teacher training, Ive also become more drawn to eventually becoming a yoga therapist. What better way to become a yoga therapist than with yoga nurse certification? I completed the yoga nurse online essentials just a few months ago, but that training was so powerful and was the push that I needed to realize I can and should take yoga teacher training. The course also helped me realize that I can start my own business/private practice! I just completed a full yoga nurse session, I started with sacred breath, then movement, and did that final 20 minute long sacred relaxation. Throughout the whole practice, my mind kept exploring yoga nursing and my connection to it. It wasn't in an obsessive way, but almost like a little voice inside of me encouraging me to explore it. FInally, I just want to share a little bit about yoga teacher training. For my training I am supposed to practice yoga about 200 minutes a week and practice "teaching" The poses Ive learned so far in YTT are the exact poses included in yoga nurse essentials (give or take a few). Anyways, yoga nurse essentials has been a great review for my YTT and helped me articulate teaching! Another confirmation that I need to pursue yoga nurse certification!

Friday, October 3, 2014

You are number 1

I worked nightshift last night. I hate night shift as one shift knocks me completely off my game that it takes me a couple days to recover. Anyways, I  made plans to take my mom out after I'd slept a few hrs... Well by the time I got off, I had been awake for basically 24hrs straight. I decided to cancel our plans. I forgot my change of clothes and I was just too exhausted. Even with a few hours of sleep, I knew my body needed to go home. I felt guilty driving home especially because my mom let me know how disappointed she was. My kids were also off from school,so we were all gonna go out. Not only did I let my mom down but my kids as well. As I drove home I listened to my mind bash me  with words like " selfish, lazy, inconsiderate " . I felt so bad I almost considered going home and then going back out after I slept...mind you I live about 30 miles from my mom.

I got home and instantly felt less tired and suddenly, I didn't feel guilty anymore.  I rationalized that not only was it not safe to stay out after not getting any sleep,  but I would have also cheated myself and family out of a authentic good time. If I would have stuck to the original plan, I would have been doing so out of guilt. Most likely I would have been impatient and moody the whole time. This is just some of the negative reactions that are present when we don't put ourselves first. I used to feel embarrassed to take up for myself and listen and honor my body, but not anymore. I realize my body almost always knows best, (yours does too!) I am very thankful for my yoga practice because this is a perfect example of how yoga helps you in day to day life. Yoga is all about union, the union of the mind body and spirit. This morning my mind was upset and worried about hurting everyone's feelings, my spirit wasn't in synch,I felt torn and a little sad,my body was exhausted and begging me to go home and sleep! 

Again, as soon as I  drove onto my driveway, I started to feel the relaxation begin. I naturally walked over to a sunny spot and sat in a small pile of leaves. I sat for about five minutes feeling the sun, listening to the birds and the wind, smelling the fresh air, and literally feeling my mind body and spirit relax
 Next I went inside, took a shower, and fell asleep! The rest of my day went smoothly and my mind, body, and spirit continued to work well as one. As I finish up this post, I would just like to stress the importance again of listening to your body and putting yourself first. The putting yourself first may sound  selfish, but it isn't. We can not be our best selves if we ignore what we first need. We can't help or take care of anyone unless we've got it together.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


For months I had been contemplating resigning from my home care job. It's a very hard decision because I love spending one on one time with patients and teaching. I love being outside and driving around on my own schedule. Unfortunately, with my full time job, yoga teacher training, grad school, and my family I had to let something go. I handed in my resignation today and it's bitter sweet. I'm happy to have more free time but feel somewhat like a failure. I hate to "quit", even though I know it's not about being a quitter. I will miss home care nursing and would still love to venture into home care in the future. I can say that I learned so much and I think the experience will help a lot when I ready to start my private practice.