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Benefits of Yoga
Adrenal Fatigue
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Trauma-Proofing Your Kids







by Jennifer Mehochko


Anyone can do yoga-no matter what age we are! Size and fitness level do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose. The idea is to explore our limits, not striving for some pretzel-like perfection.


Yoga strengthens our mind, body, and spirit, in so many ways! Here are just some of the benefits of yoga:

  • The Physical Benefits: Yoga creates a toned, flexible, and strong body. Improves respiration, energy, and vitality. Helps to maintain a balanced metabolism. Promotes cardio and circulatory health. Relieves pain. Helps us look and feel younger than our age. Improves our athletic performance.

  • The Mental Benefits: Yoga helps us relax and handle stressful situations more easily. Teaches us how to quiet the mind, reduce the "chatter", so we can focus our energy where we want it to go - into a difficult yoga pose, on the tennis court or golf course, activities with our kids, or in the office. Yoga encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance. Yoga is widely accepted and know for its healing benefits to assist with depression, sadness, anxiety, stress and trauma, to name a few.

  • The Spiritual Benefits: Yoga builds awareness of our body, our feelings, the world around us, the needs of others. Promotes an interdependence between mind, body, and spirit. Helps us live the concept of "oneness."


Yoga is an ancient practice that helps create a sense of union in body, mind, and spirit... it brings us balance.​


Yoga Becomes Part of Our Physical Life


Yoga becomes part of our physical life. Our body grows stronger, more toned, and more flexible as we move from one asana-or pose-to the other. According to one yoga participant, "I spent a week in Mexico at a yoga retreat, and it was the first vacation on which I lost weight."


"Rather than building muscle, yoga builds muscle tone," says Shakta Kaur Khalsa, author of the K.I.S.S. Guide to Yoga. "Because yoga helps maintain a balanced metabolism, it also helps to regulate weight. Additionally, yoga stretches muscles lengthwise, causing fat to be eliminated around the cells, thus reducing cellulite."


Yoga advocates more attuned eating, so as we become more connected with our bodies, we feel what our bodies really want and need to eat. We’re more likely to eat when hungry than not.


We can do yoga poses throughout the day! After sitting at a computer, we can stretch our stiff shoulders and arms. When we need a boost of energy, we can do energizing poses. When we are feeling exhausted at the end of the day, restorative poses are a wonderful option!

Yoga Becomes Part of Our Mental Life


Yoga teaches us to focus on breathing while we hold the poses. This attention to breath is calming; it dissolves stress and anxiety. We can use yoga breathing at work, in the dentist's chair, when we’re stuck in traffic, anywhere!


We should always leave a yoga practice feeling energized, not tired. If we feel tired after yoga, it means we may have spent the time "fighting" ourselves, trying to force our bodies into poses. In yoga, we learn to "surrender" to the poses by letting go of our expectations, judgments, and sense of competition (i.e. tension).


Yoga Becomes Part of Our Spiritual Life


Yoga is practiced by people from all religions; it is nondenominational. Yoga teaches "right" living in how we deal with ourselves and others. As we work on a difficult pose, we learn patience, compassion, forgiveness, and the value of gentleness.


At the end of a yoga class, we have at least 3-5 minutes of quiet time (sometimes more!) for meditation, relaxation, prayer, self-reflection, or just simply rest. Most yoga participants say this is their favorite part of yoga, since it is so peaceful and relaxing, and we may not normally give ourselves this much-needed time otherwise!


Once we discover the benefits of yoga, and just how fun it is to practice, we just might begin to consider yoga to be part of our daily life… because after awhile we will no longer just practice yoga – we will live it.

Yoga's Effects On the Body

The following is only a partial list of yoga’s benefits:

  • Reduced stress

  • Sound sleep

  • Reduced cortisol levels

  • Improvement of many medical conditions

  • Allergy and asthma symptom relief

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Smoking cessation help

  • Lower heart rate

  • Spiritual growth

  • Sense of well-being

  • Reduced anxiety and muscle tension

  • Increased strength and flexibility

  • Slowed aging process




by Kalidasa


Do you feel tired all the time? Maybe you get plenty of sleep and just don't feel rested. Or maybe you have trouble sleeping. Low energy? Difficulty thinking or focusing? These are all symptoms of adrenal fatigue. This article explores the adrenals and the causes of adrenal fatigue. Included is a simplified explanation of how diet affects the adrenals and some suggestions for what you can do to restore them, and you to health.


The 30 symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  1. Excessive fatigue and exhaustion, chronic fatigue

  2. Non-refreshing sleep

  3. Sleep disturbance, insomnia

  4. Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope

  5. Craving salty and/or sweet foods

  6. Sensitivity to light

  7. Low stamina and slow to recover from exercise

  8. Slow to recover from injury or illness

  9. Difficulty concentrating, brain fog

  10. Poor digestion

  11. Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS

  12. Low immune function

  13. Premenstrual syndrome

  14. Menopause symptoms

  15. Low blood pressure

  16. Sensitivity to cold

  17. Fearfulness

  18. Allergies

  19. Frequent influenza

  20. Arthritis

  21. Anxiety

  22. Irritability

  23. Depression

  24. Reduced memory

  25. Low libido, sexual drive or interest

  26. Lack of lust for life and/or food

  27. Excess hunger

  28. Low appetite

  29. Panic/anxiety attacks

  30. Irritability, impatience, quick to anger. If quick to anger, the person will often tend to back down quickly if confronted.


Many of these symptoms have other causes, so just because you have one or more symptom doesn't necessarily mean that you have adrenal fatigue. On the other hand, adrenal fatigue is so prevalent that if you have even one of these symptoms, it is likely that your are at least a bit run down.


Almost every client I have ever seen has come to me because of one or more of these symptoms. Stress is a major contributor to Adrenal Fatigue. We live in a busy world that offers little relief from stresses of life. Toxicity contributes to adrenal fatigue as well. But by far, adrenal fatigue is caused by a diet high in sugar and processed foods. And, the same dietary factors that contribute to adrenal fatigue are at the root of most of our major health issues today. Most major diseases start with the same factors as adrenal fatigue, and adrenal fatigue can lead to many serious conditions.


What are the Adrenals?

The adrenals are two walnut sized glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They produce three different classes of hormones at the rate of about a quart (liter) a day. One class is stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol also called hydrocortisone. Another class of adrenal hormones affect mineral metabolism especially the sodium/potassium balance. And, they produce sex hormones and their precursors. These hormones are some of the ones that make us feel good. They give us energy and a lust for life - and sex.

A Simple Test for Adrenal Fatigue

There are many tests for adrenal fatigue. Lab tests are expensive and take time for the results. However, there is a simple self-test that can be done with a flashlight and a mirror. Start in a darkened room so that your pupils dilate but have it light enough so that you can see your eyes in a mirror. Allow enough time in the dim room so that the pupils dilate fully, about ten minutes. Next, shine the flashlight into one of your eyes from the side so that the light causes the pupil to shrink down to a pin point. Do this in such a way that you can still watch the pupil as it reduces in size. If your adrenals are strong, the pupil will most likely shrink down immediately. If there is any hesitation before they react, then your adrenals are probably fatigued. I use the qualifier probably here because there are other reasons eyes may not react like this though they are not common.

Dietary Causes of Adrenal Fatigue

As mentioned earlier, sugar and refined carbohydrates are the main cause of adrenal fatigue. Sugar includes honey, maple syrup, fructose, dried fruit, fruit juice and just about anything that is sweet. Refined carbohydrates are grains that have been ground up or have had the bran removed. This include products like bread even whole wheat bread, noodles, corn chips, white rice and pretty much anything that comes in a package. Refined foods are broken down by grinding and concentration. Refined grains have more surface area exposed to digestion, so they digest more quickly. They release their sugars quickly into the blood stream causing blood sugar to go up too high too fast.

The body responds to high blood sugar by releasing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that causes sugar to move into the liver, muscles and fat tissues. The problem is that the body evolutionarily isn’t designed to deal with the large amounts of sugar in the blood that are caused by sugar and refined foods. Evolution has designed us to eat animal protein, whole grains (not chopped up), vegetables and fruits. So, the body tends to overreact to this fast sugar by releasing too much insulin. This article is about the adrenals, but high blood sugar, high levels of insulin and constant exposure to stress hormones cause their own problems that will be covered in the future.


The release of too much insulin causes the blood sugar to go down too far. Most everyone has experienced getting sleepy after a large meal of pasta, rice or some other carbohydrate. Or, the drop in energy that follows a candy high. That’s what happens after the large release of insulin. The blood sugar goes down too far. The brain eats mostly sugar, so it gets sleepy from lack.


Now we get into the adrenal involvement. One of the stress hormones they release is cortisol. In ancient times stress meant that we had to fight or run away, the fight/flight response. The muscles that move quickly use sugar, and cortisol causes blood sugar to increase. There is also a cortisol release anytime there is low blood sugar. You know how you can be really hungry, then after awhile you aren’t so hungry anymore? That’s cortisol doing it’s job. The same thing happens when low blood sugar happens because of an over-release of insulin.

The adrenals are constantly being assailed by the above reactions. Processed foods and snacks are available all the time, and they are hard to resist. Our ancestors survived because they had a sweet tooth. They craved the sweet fruits that were available at the end of winter. Insulin caused that extra sugar to be stored as fat for the lean times of winter. The ones that didn’t desire sweet fruits didn’t survive, so we inherited that craving for sweets and other foods that turn into sugar. The problem is that we eat as though it is the end of summer all the time!

The adrenals are constantly being called on to produce more and more cortisol in response to the stress caused by sugar and processed food. Eventually they become exhausted. And, so does the indulger.




Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction brings together mindfulness meditation and yoga.

Mindfulness practice is ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the unity of mind and body, as well as of the ways the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The mind is known to be a factor in stress and stress-related disorders, and meditation has been shown to positively effect a range of autonomic physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing overall arousal and emotional reactivity.

In addition to mindfulness practices, Yoga with mindfulness helps to help reverse the prevalence of disuse atrophy from our culture's largely sedentary lifestyle, especially for those with pain and chronic illnesses.

Mindfulness is a lifetime engagement--not to get somewhere else, but to be where and as we actually are in this very moment, whether the experience is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

For more information, visit

For more info on mindfulness and mindfulness in yoga, please see Rejuvenating Yoga.




Interview with Peter Levine