Bone Matters | Wesley Mission School for Seniors

It was my honour and pleasure to be holding this holiday workshop for the students at Wesley Mission’s School for Seniors.  My heart was so full after today’s workshop as I saw happy souls walk away with courage and confidence in themselves both inside and out! Well done to all the speakers today and also the seniors for showing up! 

It’s a common misunderstanding that bones are like ‘dead matter’. That time is your bones’ worst enemy and that there is NOTHING you can do about it. 

Well, that’s NOT entirely true. In fact, bones are ALIVE and far more than the common misbelief. If they are alive, it means they need care! 

Bones are organs and continue to rebuild until you die. It’s just that their growth slows down as you age. As you age, bones do lose their strength (also measured as Bone Mass Density), which is why older people are more prone to breaking their bones. And even more frequent in female than in males. However, with dedicated care, you can prevent rapid loss of bone mass and even make changes to your (perhap, rigid) posture. Age is no limitation! 

For this workshop today, my audience was senior people all over 55+. The goal of the session was to help them understand that we are not ‘withering’ away with brittle bones. In contrary, the goal is to help them learn how about bone density, techniques to increase bone mass (particularly using yoga) and how correct postural alignment can be achieved over time. 

I’m not going to share the presentation on this blog post but for those who are interested, send me an email for further information. 

Some key takeaways from the session:

1. There are 206 bones in a fully grown adult body, representing 15-20% of body weight. 

2. Our body is continuously removing OLD bone and replacing it with NEW bone through a process called ‘remodelling’, all throughout our lives. 

3. Starting as early as 40 years old, the replacement of new bone becomes SLOWER than the removing. This is when bone mass density (BMD) starts decreasing. 

4. BMD is the highest between 20-45 years old with men having both larger and stronger bones than women. 

5. Women experience more rapid drop in BMD during their menopause years due to hormonal changes that stagnates the the speed of bone remodelling. 

4. Increasing BMD is important all throughout our lives through a healthy diet and exercise.

5. Yoga is a great way to increase bone density for the senior population due to its gentle and weight-bearing nature of the physical activities. ^However, please note that common ageing osteo or rheumatoid dysfunctions can have implications on the types of yoga poses one should avoid or practise. It’s is highly recommended that you work with a trained yoga therapies for a tailored yoga program and get clearance from a certified medical practitioner. 

6.  The recommended calcium intake for women over 45 is 1200mg and for men over 45 is 1000mg. Vitamin D is 1000ug for both groups. A common practise is to “increase” the calcium through taking calcium oral supplements. In a healthy diet for this population should see enough of calcium intake. So, it’s best to check with your doctor (drawing bloods) to see whether supplementation is required. Meanwhile Vitamin D may be the more prominent mineral that is lacking to help with bone growth, seeing the need for supplement intake.

7. Last but not least, we spent much time discussing the important of our anatomical alignment. How our muscles will naturally recruit the correct ones and find balance when we are able to bring ourselves closer to alignment. For most people, perfect alignment is not possible. In fact, I personally believe we all suffer from some sort of chronic holding pattern. But being constantly aware of anatomical alignment properties helps us identify chronic issues we may be experiencing and alleviating symptoms of them. 

8. Final note, we can trust that the bones will dry but the spirit never does. Therefore, remember always:

“A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ” ~ Proverbs 17:22

Resources:

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Holy Yoga | Wasn’t so simple as a “Story on rising popularity of Christian Yoga”

Many are asking about my thoughts on the controversy of the article that I contributed to. This article was published across the different news publication properties of Fairfax Media. 

You can read the one from Sydney Morning Herald here   

Currently feeling: THANKFUL, VULNERABLE, ENCOURAGED

1. God is sovereign and has allowed whatever to be published be published. Everything I do is in His Glory. If He didn’t allow it, I could be knocking on every journalist’s door for a write up and it wouldn’t happen. This is my belief. 

2. I responded to a set of questions with good intentions to participate in a ‘story covering the rising popularity of Christian yoga’, as was how it was described to me. The rest of how the story was used commercially or how the video and story was cut is outside of my control and my intentions. The journalist covered it fairly and opened up a forum for healthy debate. 

3. Did I get paid for it? No. 

4. Was that class real? No. I was given a location for the photoshoot and we did a mini-flow to demonstrate how a class would look like. 

5. Is this PR? Looks like it became so without me even trying! ūüėú But I would prefer to relate to ‘raising awareness’ of what Holy Yoga is. 

6. How do I feel about this whole thing? I am overwhelmed by and thankful for the support that I have received from those who have experienced my classes and know me in person. Some of the more hurtful words from those who feel strongly against it has scratched me a little but I stand firm on my faith and beliefs. (James 1:12)

7. What now? I’m excited about those who have been touched and keen to join Holy Yoga. Thank you, Jesus, for connecting us!

THAT’S IT, friends! From here, I’m channeling all the great things about this to grow the ministry.

THANKING YOU FOR YOUR LOVE & PRAYERS ‚̧ԳŹūüôŹūüŹĽ 

The A-Z’s of where I’m at now

After the explosion of interest and controversy over the media coverage on Holy Yoga on National news, it’s time for a bit of light-hearted stuff! Always with good intentions…. ūüôā

‚ÄėDo all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.‚Äô ~John Wesley

A- Age: 33
B- Biggest Fear: Anxiety
C- Current Time: 8:49am
D- Drink you last had: Coffee
E- Easiest Person To Talk to: Remiko Wong
F- Favorite Song: Happy by Pharrell Williams
G- Ghosts, are they real: Yes
H- Hometown: Sydney, Australia
I- In love with: Jesus
J- Jealous Of: Married couples with no children
K- Killed Someone?: Almost
L- Last time you cried?: Last night
M- Middle Name: Tin Oi
N- Number of Sibling?: 1
O- One Wish: Freedom
P- Person who you last called: My son
Q- Question you’re always asked: What is Holy Yoga?
R- Reason to smile: My family
S- Song last sang: Whatever the last song was during church worship
T- Time you woke up: 7:30am
U- Underwear Color: Inappropriate
V- Vacation Destination: Mykonos (Romance)/ Thailand (Family)
W- Worst Habit: Stress
X- X-Rays you’ve had: Spine, Lungs, Breasts, Foot
Y- Your favourite food: Thai & French
Z- Zodiac Sign: Cancer

Chair Yoga at Wesley Mission

Thank you, Wesley Mission! Let’s all ‚Ä™#‚Äégrowyoung‚Ĩ!

I walked into class last week when the Program Coordinator said to me, “Jo, we have some folks from the team coming to film you later to share your experience. Is that ok?” (Something like that).
In my mind immediately.. “Whooooaaa? What am I wearing? Do I look ok today??”
“Of course, sure!” I responded, all awhile convincing myself I will be fine.
Then it dawned on me… Why do I do what I do? It’s not about me… It’s about community and helping others and if I stay true to that, all will take shape. Relax, Jo. Chill out.
And as it turns out, it was super fun! And thank you to the amazing team at Wesley for allowing me to be part of this #growyoung movement. All I ask is that I will be reminded in my senior years of ageing gracefully, too.

Yoga for Fibromyalgia | Yoga Therapy

I don’t know anyone who suffers from Fibromyalgia but I know this disorder well through research. ¬†There was a stage in life when I was in deep depression and I researched on nights on end on my symptoms associated with depression. ¬†Many of those symptoms pointed towards either Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. ¬† I was so convinced that I was suffering from either from my constant physical pains and ailments that I almost did not believe my doctor’s diagnosis that I was simply suffering from depression and its manifestation into physical ailments. ¬† So, whilst I’m no sufferer, I’ve got a glimpse of what it could look like. ¬†Whilst there’s no cure, I’m hopeful that this piece here can help! Leave me a comment with your feedback.

SPECIFIC ISSUE
Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia-symptom-graphicAffecting about 2-5% of the population; mostly women and tends to develop during middle adulthood, fibromyalgia sufferers experience heightened pain sensations together with some or more symptoms such as chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, muscle stiffness, fatigue, disturbed sleep and impaired neurocognitive abilities. ¬† The disorder is diagnosed with a series of tests. ¬†A common diagnostic tool used for fibromyalgia is the 18 point test – a check on certain points of the body for pain [11/18 usually signifies the need for further pathological tests such as X‚Äôrays or blood tests].¬† Causes of fibromyalgia are not clear but physical trauma or significant psychological stresses (depression, anxiety) or genetics can all be contributing factors that lead to the body‚Äôs ‚Äėchange‚Äô in processing ‚Äėpain‚Äô from the spinal cord to the brain. ¬†Researchers believe it to be a result of an abnormal increase in the pain-signalling neurotransmitters together with the brain‚Äôs pain receptors developing a memory to the pain threshold and overreacting).

THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR THIS ISSUE (SYMPTOM CONTROL)
There is no cure for fibromyalgia but treatment can provide symptom relief.  Yoga is helpful for fibromyalgia sufferers to help with pain management, relieve muscle stiffness, manage stress and regulate sleep.

  1. Stress aggravates the symptoms of fibromyalgia.  The deep breathing and breath work techniques in yoga calms the mind and allows the body to learn how to cope with anxiety and stress.
  2. Deep breathing also helps with pain management.
  3. The meditation and mindfulness practices can help with impaired concentration or the ‚Äėfibre fog‚Äô.
  4. The yoga poses/exercises can help stretch out the muscles and alleviate muscle stiffness, also helping with regulating the sleep.
  5. Lastly, Holy Yoga is much more than just the yoga.  Seeking God and His grace is an important part to receiving healing from Him.  So, prayer and meditation on the Scriptures play a critical role in Holy Yoga’s therapy program to deliver peace and healing.
CONTRAINDICATIONS
  1. If professional medical practitioner has advised against yoga.
  2. If there are any sharp pains while doing yoga poses, stop immediately.  Consult your yoga therapist to ensure the poses have been carried out correctly and if the sharp pain persists every time you get into a pose, stop and seek medical practitioner’s advice.
15-30 MINUTE FLOW
1. Easy seated (Somatic Method -> Listen to your breath, Watch your belly rise and fall, Lengthen and deepen breaths)
2. Neck rolls
3. Lateral neck stretches
4. Seated spinal twist
5. Cow face pose but with Eagle arms
6. Seated Bound Angle/Butterfly pose
7. Extended Childs Pose
8. Son Salutation with Open Side Angle and Triangle Pose
9. Lying on back -> Knees to Chest
10. Happy Baby
10. Reclined pigeon
11. Corpse Pose -> Final Resting Position

SOURCES & RESEARCH

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia#Exercise
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/definition/con-20019243
  3. http://www.arthritisvic.org.au/Conditions-and-Symptoms/Fibromyalgia
  4. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/pain-reliever/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19632546
  5. http://www.wikihow.com/Heal-Fibromyalgia-Naturally
  6. http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/october/fibromylagia/
  7. http://www.doyouyoga.com/8-yoga-poses-for-fibromyalgia/
  8. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-art-of-surrender-yoga-fibromyalgia
  9. http://www.fibromyalgiahope.com/fibromyalgia-and-yoga.html

*Disclaimer:

These suggestions offered in the Grace x Strength With LoveJosephine yoga classes or therapy programs on www.lovejosephine.com are not intended to replace medical recommendations by your medical practitioners. It is highly recommended and, in most cases, essential that you stay compliant to the treatment advice given by a western medical professional. The suggestions and educational resource offered by Grace x Strength With LoveJosephine on www.lovejosephine.com are meant to be observed and used in conjunction with medical treatment. Neither the therapy programs nor yoga classes are designed nor recommended to replace medical treatment.

The resources offered here are intended to complement and support the medical treatment targeting the specified issue, with the goal of enhancing the well-being of the patient.

Yoga for Fibromyalgia | Holy Yoga Therapy

I don’t know anyone who suffers from Fibromyalgia but I know this disorder well through research. ¬†There was a stage in life when I was in deep depression and I researched on nights on end on my symptoms associated with depression. ¬†Many of those symptoms pointed towards either Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. ¬† I was so convinced that I was suffering from either from my constant physical pains and ailments that I almost did not believe my doctor’s diagnosis that I was simply suffering from depression and its manifestation into physical ailments. ¬† So, whilst I’m no sufferer, I’ve got a glimpse of what it could look like. ¬†Whilst there’s no cure, I’m hopeful that this piece here can help! Leave me a comment with your feedback.

SPECIFIC ISSUE
Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia-symptom-graphicAffecting about 2-5% of the population; mostly women and tends to develop during middle adulthood, fibromyalgia sufferers experience heightened pain sensations together with some or more symptoms such as chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, muscle stiffness, fatigue, disturbed sleep and impaired neurocognitive abilities. ¬† The disorder is diagnosed with a series of tests. ¬†A common diagnostic tool used for fibromyalgia is the 18 point test – a check on certain points of the body for pain [11/18 usually signifies the need for further pathological tests such as X‚Äôrays or blood tests].¬† Causes of fibromyalgia are not clear but physical trauma or significant psychological stresses (depression, anxiety) or genetics can all be contributing factors that lead to the body‚Äôs ‚Äėchange‚Äô in processing ‚Äėpain‚Äô from the spinal cord to the brain. ¬†Researchers believe it to be a result of an abnormal increase in the pain-signalling neurotransmitters together with the brain‚Äôs pain receptors developing a memory to the pain threshold and overreacting).

THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR THIS ISSUE (SYMPTOM CONTROL)
There is no cure for fibromyalgia but treatment can provide symptom relief.  Yoga is helpful for fibromyalgia sufferers to help with pain management, relieve muscle stiffness, manage stress and regulate sleep.

  1. Stress aggravates the symptoms of fibromyalgia.  The deep breathing and breath work techniques in yoga calms the mind and allows the body to learn how to cope with anxiety and stress.
  2. Deep breathing also helps with pain management.
  3. The meditation and mindfulness practices can help with impaired concentration or the ‚Äėfibre fog‚Äô.
  4. The yoga poses/exercises can help stretch out the muscles and alleviate muscle stiffness, also helping with regulating the sleep.
  5. Lastly, Holy Yoga is much more than just the yoga.  Seeking God and His grace is an important part to receiving healing from Him.  So, prayer and meditation on the Scriptures play a critical role in Holy Yoga’s therapy program to deliver peace and healing.
CONTRAINDICATIONS
  1. If professional medical practitioner has advised against yoga.
  2. If there are any sharp pains while doing yoga poses, stop immediately.  Consult your yoga therapist to ensure the poses have been carried out correctly and if the sharp pain persists every time you get into a pose, stop and seek medical practitioner’s advice.
15-30 MINUTE FLOW
1. Easy seated (Somatic Method -> Listen to your breath, Watch your belly rise and fall, Lengthen and deepen breaths)
2. Neck rolls
3. Lateral neck stretches
4. Seated spinal twist
5. Cow face pose but with Eagle arms
6. Seated Bound Angle/Butterfly pose
7. Extended Childs Pose
8. Son Salutation with Open Side Angle and Triangle Pose
9. Lying on back -> Knees to Chest
10. Happy Baby
10. Reclined pigeon

11. Corpse Pose -> Final Resting Position

SOURCES & RESEARCH

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia#Exercise
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/definition/con-20019243
  3. http://www.arthritisvic.org.au/Conditions-and-Symptoms/Fibromyalgia
  4. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/pain-reliever/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19632546
  5. http://www.wikihow.com/Heal-Fibromyalgia-Naturally
  6. http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/october/fibromylagia/
  7. http://www.doyouyoga.com/8-yoga-poses-for-fibromyalgia/
  8. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-art-of-surrender-yoga-fibromyalgia
  9. http://www.fibromyalgiahope.com/fibromyalgia-and-yoga.html
*Disclaimer:
These suggestions offered in the Holy Yoga With LoveJosephine yoga classes or therapy programs on www.lovejosephine.com are not intended to replace medical recommendations by your medical practitioners. It is highly recommended and, in most cases, essential that you stay compliant to the treatment advice given by a western medical professional.The suggestions and educational resource offered by Holy Yoga with LoveJosephine on www.lovejosephine.com are meant to be observed and used in conjunction with medical treatment. Neither the therapy programs nor yoga classes are designed nor recommended to replace medical treatment.
The resources offered here are intended to complement and support the medical treatment targeting the specified issue, with the goal of enhancing the well-being of the patient.

Yoga for Menopause | Yoga Therapy

Every week, I teach a seniors class and have a class full of mostly women well into or past their menopausal years. ¬†Whilst there are still years away for me, it’s an extremely interesting and topical subject for me as a yoga therapist surrounded by senior women students and interacting daily with my mother who is currently experiencing symptoms. ¬†I hope this is somewhat insightful to you, whether it’s you or a family member going through the unpleasant symptoms of menopause.

SPECIFIC ISSUE

Menopause
 menopause-depression-stress
Up to 70% of women experience menopausal symptoms during menopause which can last up to 10 years; although there are outliers which may extend beyond this duration.  Menopause can start as early as 40 years but most commonly experience in mid 40’s or 50’s Рwith the most commonly sighted average being 51 years.
Menopause occurs because of the sharp decrease of estradiol and progesterone production by the ovaries.   The rapid decrease in circulating estradiol levels at menopause impacts many tissues, from brain to skin.  Whether directly related to the lowered levels of oestrogen or not (contradicting research results), many women claim to experience hot flushes and other common symptoms such as:
  • Breast¬†tenderness
  • Headaches, dizziness
  • Lower sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin, itchy skin
  • Weight gain
  • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex
  • Mild loss of bladder control, frequent urinary urgency, incontinence
  • Disturbed sleeping, night sweats
  • Psychological symptoms e.g. depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, mood swings, loss of self-esteem
THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR THIS ISSUE (SYMPTOM CONTROL)
In one study, yoga cut hot flashes by 31% and other research has found that regular yoga practise improved libido, mood   and craving control. [1]
Many menopausal women agree that heat, anxiety, stress and fatigue often bring on or intensify hot flushes.  Gentle yoga poses and practising mindfulness meditation can help sedate the sympathetic nervous system, in turn, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to take over.  The PNS slows the heart rate and brings the body’s systems back into balance.
Gentle inversion poses can sometimes help with insomnia to alleviate anxiety.  When done with restorative poses, the body can feel at rest.
Heart/Chest opening poses, such as Bridge pose or Supported Reclined Bound Angle, can help with lifting the spirit and opening up the emotional blockages such as depression and mood swings, with the overall effect of rejuvenation and fighting off fatigue.
Root lock (Mula Bandha) helps regain the control of the urinary urgency and frequencies.  Even just the bringing awareness to muscle groups and help manage the symptoms.
The breath work and meditation, particularly in Holy Yoga‚Äôs biblical intentions, will help with concentration and centering the mind’s focus, ¬†lifting the ‚Äėfogginess‚Äô often experienced in hormonal fluctuations.

Biblical meditations on what The Word has to say about dealing with each of the menopausal symptoms is the most powerful tools in managing menopause.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  1. If professional medical practitioner has advised against yoga.
  2. If there are any sharp pains while doing yoga poses, stop immediately.  Consult your yoga therapist to ensure the poses have been carried out correctly and if the sharp pain persists every time you get into a pose, stop and seek medical practitioner’s advice.
  3. If suffering from degenerative bone dysfunctions, such as osteoporosis and/or osteoarthritis, or spinal dysfunctions, such as kyphosis or lordosis, ensure there is physician’s clearance before doing yoga.  Pay kind attention to reclining poses and let yoga instructor know of  any known pains.
  4. If there are any blood pressure issues, take care in getting into poses wear the head is positioned below the heart vertically, e.g. forward fold and downward dog
15-30 MINUTE FLOW
1. Easy seated (10 sets of breaths relaxed, 3 sets of breath in Mula Bandha)
2. Mountain
3. Forward fold
4. Mountain with cactus arms -> Mini back bend
5. Childs Pose
6. Downward Facing Dog
7. Bridge
8. Plow/Shoulder stand/Legs up the wall
9. Happy Baby
10. Spinal Twist

11. Supported Reclined Bound Angle Pose

SOURCES & RESEARCH

  1. http://www.prevention.com/fitness/yoga/10-yoga-poses-to-relieve-menopause-symptoms
  2. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/the-graceful-change/
  3. http://www.replens.com/FAB-Blog/Fighting-Vaginal-Dryness/23/Menopause-FAQs-When-It-Start-How-Long-Does-It-Last.aspx
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menopause#Signs_and_symptoms
  5. http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/articles/qa-what-happens-to-my-hormones-during-menopause.htm
  6. http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/treatments.htm
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/yoga-for-menopause-7-pose_n_2991865.html
  8. http://www.fitnessnetwork.com.au/resources-library/yoga-and-menopause

*Disclaimer:
These suggestions offered in the Grace x Strength With LoveJosephine yoga classes or therapy programs on www.lovejosephine.com are not intended to replace medical recommendations by your medical practitioners. It is highly recommended and, in most cases, essential that you stay compliant to the treatment advice given by a western medical professional. The suggestions and educational resource offered by Grace x Strength With LoveJosephine on www.lovejosephine.com are meant to be observed and used in conjunction with medical treatment. Neither the therapy programs nor yoga classes are designed nor recommended to replace medical treatment.

The resources offered here are intended to complement and support the medical treatment targeting the specified issue, with the goal of enhancing the well-being of the patient.