Traditional Chinese Medicine for Migraine | Cupping & Acupuncture

I just wanted to share my migraine treatment journey. For those who have been following my blog, you will have no doubt read about my migraine issues and my treatment journey.

For the past 2 years, I have been seeing a neurologist. I’ve been on strong pain relief medication. I’ve also been on migraine preventative medication, which I hated the side effects of and has since stopped. 

I am now trialling a Traditional Chinese Medicinal treatment, which encompasses massage, cupping, acupuncture and Chinese herbs. 

Firstly, there have been some new findings based on the cupping treatment. Interestingly, the findings align with my yoga therapy findings. 

And that is my kidney area or “hormonal function” is malfunctioning. TCM based this off the cupping markings and yoga therapy is based of the fact that my backbends are stuck around the same area. Obviously there are other diagnostic questions that lead to this hypothesis, such as my menstruation cycle, whether I had migraines during my pregnancy etc. 

So the latest is that I should consider seeing an endocrinologist to rule out any hormonal dysfunctions that may be triggering these migraines. 

So far, since starting the TCM treatment, I haven’t had any major migraine attacks. Praise God for finding me some relief through this. At the same time though, it’s as if my body is washing out all the toxins from inside, my immune systems seems to be undergoing some cleansing. I’ve been struck with the flu and feeling a little weak lately. On saying that, I’m pleased with the TCM treatment. It has only been 2 months. I hear that after 6 months, the body should start settling into ‘balanced’ health. 

Here are some progress pics of my cupping!

First time – notice the stagnation (deep red) in the lower back, kidney area. 

Second time – 2 weeks after 1st treatment: improvement 

Third time – 5 weeks after 1st treatment:  significant improvement

Photo source below : CuppingTherapy.org


[UPDATE : I’ve brought my TCM’s recommendation to see an endocrinologist to my Western GP. He isn’t in agreement with it but is happy to put a referral through to a gynaecologist. His basis was that ‘hormonal issues’ is too generic a diagnosis. Everything that controls are body has to do with hormones so he didn’t buy into my TCM’s prognosis. The conclusion? I have an appointment with my neurologist coming up and my GP has asked me to get a second opinion from him. After all, my GP says, “THEY are the migraine specialists!”  Let’s see… ]

[SECOND UPDATE : And after seeing my neurologist and bringing to him my TCM’s findings, he was grateful that I was seeing a practitioner who had genuine interest in the root cause and lateral thinking. At the same time, the suggestion of migraine being a “hormonal” and hence treating this dysfunction with “hormone” therapy is not new. It is also well-documented. Research suggests that hormone therapy yields the same results in the long run. I.e. No long term cure. There have been extensive studies carried out in this area. Essentially, my neurologist was not in agreement with going down this angle. However, he was very pleased to hear that my body seems to be in agreement with the acupuncture. Now, that [sic acupuncture], has seen a lot of proven success for migraine sufferers and I’m glad you are one of them. Keep that going and hopefully, it will provide good relief for a couple of years until the body gets used to it (and migraines return again, as can happen sometimes). And we can assess then. I guess by then, I might be more comfortable with finally trying the Botox treatment that was originally recommended. 

That’s it, folks! I hope this gave you some well-rounded information or at least, you may relate to this!] 

Advertisements

First Year of a Holy Yogi


A year ago, I taught my first Holy Yoga Class. From not knowing how to get started, to growing the student database and teaching hours to 3 digits, to media coverage, to workshops… This is a blessed journey.

I still remember my first class of 4 friends in the community room in my estate. God opened doors for me. Then I struggled to find a place to teach and God opened a door again and I held my second public class with 30 people at the Mowbray School hall where I had little teaching experience. I remember having to write down every pose and cue on a sheet of paper together with my sharing and intention for every single class. Class prep consumed my waking hours for the first few months. Now, over 100 classes later, I am far more natural and comfortable teaching without notes. I allow for laughs and tongue-ties when I’m stuck, knowing that students will have grace for me.

I remember making bracelets and praying over those who would receive them, asking God to pour His blessings over them.  Now, these bracelets are part of my memories and although I don’t give them out anymore, they have made a mark in my journey.

I remember the excitement I got when someone who finds my classes online emails me about my classes. Now, I need to set aside time to reply emails about classes and instructor training every second day.

I remember when I wouldn’t have a venue to teach after Christmas because the school hall was going under renovations. God opened doors again and found me a proper yoga studio locally. I didn’t even need to flinch. He just gave me what I asked for. All I needed was patience.

I remember when my donation-based pricing caused tension for students and for me. God again, poured His grace, and gave me a way to introduce fixed pricing. Now, everyone is happy with the pricing. (I hope 😜)

I remember wanting to be able to teach at my church. I prayed hard enough that He gave me a volunteer role at the church’s senior school. Now, this time is one of my favourite times of the week; to spend it with the elderly and bring a smile to their face.

I remember when I prayed for more exposure for the ministry here in Australia. I didn’t understand why God sent me down the path of mainstream media, 3rd page of Sydney Morning Herald plus video all over the Internet when I wasn’t prepared for the opposition. I prayed to God for help, only to find more media outlets picking up this controversial topic and my voice, face and words being misconstrued in certain instances. I cried to God for help and realised this was His great plan when a Salvation Army journalist picked it up and covered my story in Truth, finally. And since then, has brought on some more Christians into my class and allowed for my students to come and stand in faith together with me. God graces me. Media coverage with more students? Can’t be right? He is a good good Father.

I remember when my sudden passion and devotion for serving threw my family off balance. Then God sent me a sister to remind me of my priorities as mother and wife. “Family is number one ministry.” She said. And was she right!

I remember when I was called into Holy Yoga Therapy training during this first year and how that added a wealth of knowledge and spiritual depth to my life. Growing up, I’d always wanted a career in health care and wellness. Anything is possible with Him. Even switching careers. God fulfilled that childhood dream. And on the topic of dreams, I really needed one from childhood to be fulfilled

I remember when this Holy Yoga thing consumed me so much that my husband sat me down and said, “Babe, I support you and how our family is serving in Holy Yoga.  But you are one person and can’t do this alone. Either you dial down what you do…” (I nearly stopped him right there)”or you find someone to help you.” We prayed on this together and God sent me a partner to work through this together.

I remember getting upset with my husband on the several occasions he was home late or forgot to inform me that he was going to be travelling. (Not unusual in this household. But really something that gets to me). Yet God’s grace shines upon me and I learned to share that grace on others. So, I addressed it with my husband with patience and compassion.  My husband learned grace too. He received and gave it back. Often.

I remember the occasions when I had to deal with conflict. Some of which were interpersonal. Some of which were intrapersonal. I experienced, first hand, the power and impact of prayer on my life. I learned about letting go and leaning in.

I remember at points when I felt lonely on this journey in the past 12 months. I remember about the enemy trying to get through the cracks and his dumb illusions. God rescues me by reminding me of this community I am part of. Church, friends, family… My hubby has been so pivotal in this. Together, we stand strong for what we believe and lift each other up when the other falls.

All of this is part of only a beginning.

My biggest joy in serving is being able to touch the lives of those who love yoga and being able to share Scripture with them along the way.
Thank you to my dearest friends and family who have supported my calling and entrusted in me to lead your yoga classes.

God has taught me a thing or two about leaning in to Him, faithfulness and opposition. This Holy Yoga thing has really given me a taste of what the fruit of the Spirit is – love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control ❤️
For as long as God allows, I’ll serve in this way. Thank You, Heavenly Father!

Here’s to striking a few poses and having fun!

Yoga for Asthma | Yoga Therapy

largespacer

Image: The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne – http://www.rch.org.au

I’m not asthmatic but this topic interests me because my elder son is.  My son loves his cardio and team sports.  He plays tennis. He’s an avid soccer player and swims.  He also loves to dance and practices Karate, too.  It’s heartbreaking to see his performance being limited by his asthma, especially in his younger years.  He is now 7 and the asthmas seems to have progressively improved but during the winter months, especially during his sleep, the coughing spells occasionally makes their way back.  Yoga isn’t something that my son likes to do at this point in his life but I’m certainly hoping to help his asthma by encouraging him to do 10-15 minutes of a tailored program like this in the coming season, especially as we enter into winter.  I hope this piece is interesting and helpful to you.  Feel free to leave me comments.

SPECIFIC ISSUE

 

Asthma is a chronic lung dysfunction where the sufferer will experience difficulty in breathing resulting from the airways narrowing and swelling/inflammed, with more mucus.  People with asthma experience periods of ‘flare-ups’, which  brings on symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing and chest tightness.
There are various triggers for asthma flare-ups that range from slow development to the more acute, sudden onset of an asthma attack. The lung likes warm, moist and clean air so when one of these 3 components are disturbed is commonly when it triggers an asthma attack, such as cold air, exposure to allergen in the air (tobacco, pets, dust).  Things that put pressure on the respiratory system can also trigger an attack, such as a cold or even exercise.
Research is inconclusive of the exact causes of asthma but shows family history, eczema, hay fever sufferers and babies exposed to tobacco smoke have a higher risk of developing or having asthma.

THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR THIS ISSUE (SYMPTOM CONTROL)

There are various pieces of research carried out on the benefits of yoga, with some showing beneficial and others being inclusive.  One 8-week study of 57 adult asthmatics revealed that those who did yoga showed a significant improvement in lung function and reduction in asthma symptoms than those who did not do yoga in the control group^.  However, another recent study published by Annals of Allergy* http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(14)00198-7/abstract concludes that yoga can only be considered ‘ancillary intervention’ or alternative therapy and not ‘routine intervention’.  More importantly,  yoga was not associated with adverse effects.
Both studies, though, are congruent to Holy Yoga therapy’s principles in that it is not ‘medical invention’ but a complementary program with the aim of relieving symptoms.
For the purposes of this project, we look into yoga therapy as a form of gentle exercise for asthmatics in light of the fact that more strenuous physical activity may bring on asthma attacks.  Breath work techniques can help asthma sufferers learn to cope with episodes of attack.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

1. When having respiratory system inflammations of any sort, e.g. bronchitis, cold, pneumonia, nasal congestion
2. Avoid poses which require ‘flexion’ of the torso and ‘closing in’ of the chest such as Boat pose, Head to Knee, Plow Pose and Seated Forward Fold.
3. Avoid long, deep breathing or ‘ujayi’ breath if new to yoga and at the beginning of the practise.  Let the body ease into deep breathing if comfortable.

15-30 MINUTE FLOW

In all poses, try to breathe in AND OUT through the nose to retain heat in the body.  By doing so, it promotes correct diaphragm behaviour and persisting can often clear a chronic blocked nose.
1. Easy Seated -> Relaxed and even belly breathing (2 minutes)
2. Butterfly Pose -> Relaxed and even belly breathing for (2 minutes)
3. Seated Twist
4. Staff Pose
5. Sage Pose
6. Bridge Pose/Fish Pose
7. Knees to chest
8. Bow Pose/Cobra Pose
9. Extended Childs Pose
10. Downward Dog
11. Hero Pose
12. Corpse pose

SOURCES & RESEARCH

  1. ^http://www.everydayhealth.com/asthma-pictures/great-yoga-poses-for-asthma-relief.aspx
  2. http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/health-and-wellness/Overpowering-asthma-with-yoga
  3. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/asthma-answers/
  4. http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/top-8-yoga-asanas-to-beat-asthma/
  5. http://www.medicaldaily.com/yoga-doesnt-help-asthma-sufferers-control-their-breathing-any-better-other-breathing-exercises
  6. https://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/national/about-asthma/what-is-asthma
  7. http://www.aihw.gov.au/asthma/what-is-asthma/
  8. http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/contraindications-modifications/asthma-contraindications-modifications/
  9. *http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(14)00198-7/abstract

*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 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’rays 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’s ‘change’ in processing ‘pain’ 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’s 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 ‘fibre fog’.
  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 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’rays 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’s ‘change’ in processing ‘pain’ 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’s 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 ‘fibre fog’.
  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.

Holy Yoga FAQ | Christian Yoga Australia

Here’s the transcript of my radio interview! So honoured to have had the opportunity to be part of it.   I’m grateful for all of your support and the number of listeners I got.

The phones were ringing off the hook with listeners calling in to ask questions, show support for Christian yoga and also showing interest for the 3 months FREE Holy Yoga pass with me!  Praise God for opening doors for our ministry but also for those who have been wanting to practise in this way.

ABOUT JOSEPHINE
“Jo” is a Christian, mother of 2 boys, currently living in Sydney, teaching Holy Yoga and running a private yoga therapy practice . Born and raised in Hong Kong (obtaining Australian citizenship in her youth), she returned to Sydney complete her final years of secondary and tertiary studies.  After graduating from Marketing and Computing in UNSW, she started her career in the flourishing industry of Digital Marketing where she met her husband, whom is also a Christian.  In 2006, a friend took her to her first yoga class.  Since then she has been practising yoga on and off, and has developed a strong passion for it. Last year, she decided to take a break from her longstanding career and digital consultancy business to pursue building a wellness ministry – bringing the Gospel to people through yoga classes and therapy.  She believes this is God’s calling for her and if God willing, her dream is to run a wellness ministry expanding into other areas of wellness and interests for the community and to bring Holy Yoga into ASIA!!

 

WHAT IS HOLY YOGA?
Holy Yoga is a Christian ministry founded by Brooke Boon in the U.S. and has currently over 1200 instructors around the world.

Holy Yoga takes the 3 modalities of yoga, which are: breathwork, meditation and exercise, and combines it with Gospel preaching.

To each individual who practises Holy Yoga, it may be for their individual purpose and reason, such as:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Meditation
  3. Worship
  4. Exercise & wellbeing
  5. Or all of the above!

Ultimately, it is the connecting with God during the practise that is the goal of Holy Yoga’s existence.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF HOLY YOGA?
Holy Yoga exists to bring the gospel to all corners of the earth through the modality of yoga.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOLY YOGA AND OTHER FORMS OF YOGA?
The key difference between Holy Yoga and other types of non-Christian yoga is in the Truth seeking. We, Holy Yogis, seek the Trinitarian God – which exists as Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible is the only Truth and the Word of God and that He sent His only son, Jesus, to bring salvation to all who accept Him as their Saviour.

Other than the Truth seeking, the yoga poses and the breathing are the same. We do not condemn, however, do not believe nor engage in worshipping anything other than our Heavenly Father above during our practise. Therefore, it is quite common to hear poses being referred to in their English names rather than the Sanskrit names in a Holy Yoga class.

WHO IS HOLY YOGA FOR?  ARE THERE AGE LIMITS?
Well, Holy Yoga is only for those who can handstand! Hahaha! If that were the case, the grace of God would be futile….. (joking and laughing)*

Holy Yoga is for EVERYONE! It is a grace-filled practice that welcomes all. It is, however, advisable to seek out classes that suit an individual’s fitness level. As with varying levels of fitness programs in market, we offer gentle classes to power flow classes.  From kids through to seniors, there is a practice for you!  In fact, Holy Yoga offers speciality training for Kids and Chair Yoga for the less mobile or senior population.

Personally, I like teaching gentle and slow flows because I find that less physical movement allows for more space for meditation and drawing awareness to the mind and body. That’s not to say that a power class doesn’t generate a Christ-honouring experience for those who enjoy moving and worshipping with their bodies!

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU PRACTISE? 
How often? I would recommend every day for a minimum of 15 minutes! We like to practise prayer without ceasing. So, what better way to dedicate time to relax and unwind; not to mention, to hear from God and exercise every day! There is no limitation as to the time of day, although, our bodies will release different hormones in response to different activity levels and even yoga poses. So, I would be mindful not to be practising adrenaline-producing power yoga just before bedtime.
When it comes to joining classes, at least once a week is recommended for reasons of creating a habit and also following through with the theme/series for the meditation.


GROUP CLASSES OR PRIVATE LESSONS?
In terms of joining classes, it’s really a personal preference. I currently teach 4 group classes a week and spend 2 mornings in therapy consultations for those seeking a more personalised program to target specific issues in their wellbeing.

Group classes can hold up to 25 people and are a great way to experience Holy Yoga and being in community. Private lessons can also be organised, too!

WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HOLY YOGA?
Holy Yoga changed my life. Essentially, it is picking up a spiritual discipline that creates time for me to do what we are best to be doing – connecting with God!

Being a Christian is an awesome thing! But even then, unless you have a relationship with Jesus, it will be hard to understand God’s grace.  So it’s not so much the yoga as it is the opportunity for me to spend time with God.  One of my biggest learning is how to live by faith not not by sight.  Since the day I started my ministry, there are just countless number of instances where God has showed up in the most unexpected ways.  I wish I had enough time to share some individual stories but we’ll save that for the next time.  It is humbling to seek the Lord every day and I NEED IT.  I thank God, daily, for this blessing.

Beyond the spiritual development, let’s not understate the physical benefits of yoga.  In an article released recently (Feb 2016) by The Yoga Journal, it states that more than 500 research papers have been published on ‘Yoga Therapy’, which has been described as ‘modern medicine’s gold standard’.  Google ‘yoga therapy benefits’ and you’ll find numerous studies proving the benefits of yoga for the brain and the body.

Since my regular yoga practicing, I have seen huge improvements on my health.  I used to suffer from frequent migraine attacks, lower back pain and a sluggish bowel.  Yoga has really helped in relieving them.

HOW ABOUT YOUR STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE WITH HOLY YOGA?
My students? I can’t speak for each and every one of them but from the feedback I gather and my intuition, they enjoy Holy Yoga for their personal reasons. Most recently, I have seen a student so moved by the Holy Spirit, she was crying while thanking God. Other times, students are in it for the physical benefits. But I truly believe that they are there for a reason. *Smiles

 
For more testimonials from Jo’s students, see the Review section on Holy Yoga Australia’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HolyYogaAustralia


IS YOGA A RELIGION?
Yoga is not a religion.  Some religions, such a Hinduism and Buddhism, may have incorporated yoga as a spiritual discipline but yoga’s origins pre-date the inception of those religions. Much like fasting and prayer is a common spiritual discipline across various religions, yoga is just another one. To some, yoga may even be just a part of their cultural tradition without any spiritual attachment.

The direct translation of yoga is ‘to yoke’ or ’to be in union with’.  This has been adopted by different yogic philosophies to mean the union of different “higher beings” – some, seeking a higher form of themselves; for others, seeking a Divine God.  As Christians, we know our Truth is to ‘yoke with Christ’. (Matthew 11:29-30).

I would like to think it easy for us, Chinese, to understand how religious philosophies have been fused into cultural traditions and equally vice versa. Think Tai Chi and its roots in Taoist philosophies, Karate and its roots in Buddhism, and the foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It’s widely debated whether Christians should practise yoga because of its common relationship with Hinduism. But as a Chinese Christian, if I were to subscribe to that theory, I should refuse then to believe in TCM, stop giving out Red Pockets during Chinese New Year, stop eating Ho See Fat Choi, etc….. Because all of those have roots in superstition or references to Taoist philosophies.  The point I’m trying to make is that, in this context, the emphasis should not be placed on the references to the tradition but instead, be concerned with the intention, the purpose and the function.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS IN TAKING UP HOLY YOGA?
There is always the risk of injury when taking up a physical activity of any sort.  However, I would say that yoga would lie on the low end of the risk scale. Sometimes, injury can come about with incorrect alignment, often occurring when entering into or coming out of a pose.  Contrary to the intention of practising yoga, injuries are often a result of competitive or perfectionist attitudes, as in “I should be able to do it.  He/She can.”.  Part of practising yoga is to remind ourselves to be humble and to not fall into that type of mentality. Rule of thumb is to listen to your body and only stretch yourself to what your body will allow.

WHAT & HOW CAN ONE EXPECT HOLY YOGA TO IMPACT ON THEIR PERSONAL FAITH
Personal faith is a very personal thing. You are chosen by God in His time and things happen according to His plan. Everything that we have is under the provision of God. (John 3:27)

Whilst some may advance deeper into their spiritual life with a Holy Yoga practise, others may be sitting there wondering why they can only concentrate on just doing the poses and hear ‘nothing’. We only need to trust that God has His time.

Just ‘show up’ and be thankful for it. I believe that the showing up is the most important. It is the willingness to say to yourself and God, “Here I am.”

If you’re a long-time Christian, this is a riveting opportunity to live out Jesus’ greatest command: “To love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength [body]” (Mark 12:30)

And, if you aren’t a regular church goer, it might just be your weekly healthy dose of the Scriptures.  You never know until you try.

WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU NOTICED SINCE PRACTISING & TEACHING HOLY YOGA?
I think we’ve covered some of the spiritual and physical changes in the previous questions.  What I haven’t spoken about yet is the knowledge acquisition and the emotional intelligence side of things.  For fear of sounding arrogant, my hypothesis is that I have become a more intelligent person!

I guess the hours of study I’ve poured into studying the human body’s intricate systems, anatomy and to make sense of all of this within the context of God’s creation could have expanded my brain capacity.  I love Dr Caroline Leaf’s work.  If you haven’t heard of her, she is a Christian Neuroscientist with over 30 years of experience understanding the human brain; how our conscious and non-conscious mind work together within God’s purpose and original design.  In one of her talks, she speaks of a piece of non-Christian research confirming that ‘man grows intelligence through meditating on the Scriptures’.  Boy, did that confirm my hypothesis! Glory be to God!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE TEACHINGS FROM THE BIBLE?
Gosh, there are so many.  I love Proverbs as a Jesus-approved ‘self-help’ book!  I love the Gospels because they are filled with stories of Jesus and I love stories. I also love all the books written by Paul for his conviction and witness.  But my favourite verse is one that my father has brought me up memorising:

Be completely humble, and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” ~ Ephesians 4: 2

It’s an impossible verse to live out every second, unless of course, you are Jesus.  I’m so glad I have the BEST teacher.

FINAL SHARING
This is how founder of Holy Yoga, Brooke Boon, describes the Holy Yoga Lifestyle in her book, Holy Yoga.

  1. Prayer without ceasing
  2. Confess, repent and forgive
  3. Practise contentment
  4. Practise obedience
  5. Do everything with love

That’s the kind of lifestyle I try to live out every day.  Please don’t judge me if I fail often.  Oh, that’s right!  Thank God, for Jesus my Saviour 🙂

Yoga for Plantar Fasciitis | Yoga Therapy

img_1868My husband is an IRONMAN and his ‘racing comrads’ often suffer from all sorts of muscular-skeletal issues.  A common one is plantar fasciitis.  When he first told me that one of his comrads was affected by this, and asked for me a remedy, I frankly had no idea how to approach it.  With much research, practise on students and personally using this to relief my ‘shopping feet’ (ok, I’m a bit dramatic now.. my shopping feet are just tired feet, not plantar fasciitis but you get what I mean..), I’ve found the below flow to be quite soothing.  Feel free to leave me your comments!
SPECIFIC ISSUEPlantar Fasciitis

THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR THIS ISSUE (SYMPTOM CONTROL)
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the ligament (plantar fascia) on the sole of the foot that connects the heel to the toes.
The inflammation is a result of over-stressing the plantar fascia, commonly caused by a factors such as:
  1. take up of a new (usually weigh-bearing) exercise or increase intensity of an exercise, e.g. running
  2. obesity causing the foot to carry more weight than it can handle
  3. poorly fitting shoes, creating chronic holding patterns in the feet
  4. flat feet or unusually high arch
  5. uneven leg length or any chronic holding pattern that puts strain on one side of the foot abnormally
  6. switching from a long wear of heels suddenly to flat shoes
  7. tight hamstrings, calves and/or Archilles tendon
Ligaments have lower vascularity than muscles so yoga poses stimulates movement to the affected area, hence increasing the blood flow and speeding up recovery.
Aside from stretching out the culprits muscles causing the dysfunction, yoga draws awareness to any chronic holding patterns, allowing the sufferer to be conscious of his/her posture and alignment in their every day lives; not just when they are ‘in treatment’.

The breath work in yoga is particularly helpful for sufferers of plantar fasciitis to deal with the pain in the mornings, learning to breathe through the pain and allow the body to relax.

CONTRAINDICATION

1. If professional medical practitioner has advised against yoga
2. When the inflammation is very painful, do not engage in any yoga or weight-bearing activity to allow the affected area to rest and heal.
3. 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. Staff pose (while in pose, repeat 10 sets of the following: 1. point toes forward  2. flex the foot)
2. Seated forward fold, using strap or hands to wrap around the ball of feet to flex the feet
3. Hero pose
4. From Hero pose (with both hands on the ground behind you for support, lean back and lift knees off 3-5 inches off the ground)
5. Garland pose (palms together, using elbows to push open from the inside of thighs)
6. Toe Squat (Kneeling with toes tucked under and let body weight sink into the heels, walk knees forward a few steps)
7. Hero pose (hold both hands into fists, press the fist onto the sole of the foot, using the weight of the body to massage the sole of the foot with the knuckles)
8. Childs Pose * Seek God and His power of healing

9. Legs up the wall *Final resting pose (10 breaths)

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.evolationyoga.com/can-practice-yoga-plantar-fasciitis/
  2. http://www.webmd.boots.com/foot-care/plantar-fasciitis-symptoms-diagnosis-treatment
  3. http://www.dailybandha.com/2013/09/plantar-fasciitis-myofascial.html
  4. http://myfiveminuteyoga.com/633/five-minute-yoga-challenge-reverse-the-curve/
  5. http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/yoga-and-plantar-fasciitis/
  6. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/plantar-fasciitis-cause
  7. http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/what-is-plantar-fasciitis
  8. http://www.runnersworld.com/training-video/toes-pose
  9. http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/health-and-wellness/Heal-heel-pain-with-yoga
*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.