• Meet Your Yoga Team and Learn More!

    Meet Our Co-owner and Yoga Instructor, Beth Heller:

    Favorite Pose: “No Hands” Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose

    “This pose is deceptively simple looking and may not look like a fertility pose at first glance, but it really helps students understand the sensation of pelvic alignment while stretching hamstrings, low back, quadratus lumborum, and oblique abdominal muscles. The key to the pose is a) not worrying whether the leg that is on the wall is straight, b) leveling the hip bones and c) extending upward from the waist to allow the hips to level. You know good things are happening when you start to learn how to drop the hip of the raised leg level with that of the standing leg while extending arms even higher. It’s possible to feel your oblique abdominal muscles (and sometimes the entire body) shaking while working on this “simple” pose and the feeling you get when you release is euphoric!”

    Instructions: Stand a leg’s length away from the wall, ground through the standing leg and make sure the toes of the standing foot are pointing straight to the wall. Place the sole of the opposite foot on the wall, both knees softly bent at first, and the begin to straighten both legs to the best of your ability. Reach arms high. Focus on dropping the “hip point” of the raised leg even with that of the standing leg. Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes and switch sides.

    Benefits: I love this pose because it’s a hip opener that also releases tension in the low back and pelvis. And, when you release the pose, there’s a definite “mood elevating” rush!

    Meet Yoga for Fertility and Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Diana Zic:

    Favorite Pose and Benefits : Tree Pose (or Vrikshasana)

    “It helps to bring balance in my body when the world around me feel out of control. It strengthens the feet, ankles, legs, hips, abdomen and arms. Also, gives a nice stretch to the groin area. It’s great to bring focus and patience in the present moment. Also, encourages downward and outward energy (apana) in body.”

    Meet Yoga Team Leader and Highland Park Yoga Instructor, Cassie Harrison:

    Favorite Pose: Modified Half Moon Ardha Chandrasana

    “When my students are in this pose or any standing pose for that matter, I ask them to focus all their attention on what they are feeling and doing in their physical body. To feel the muscles work and the sturdiness of their bone structure. If they are tight, begin to feel the release in the body. This pose is warm up for side angle and triangle poses.”

    Instructions: Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Ground the feet and feel the legs strengthen. Lift both arms up towards the sky with an inhale, gaze to follow. Be careful to extend from the shoulders and lengthen the spin, but not to create tension in the shoulders and neck. Grasp wrist with opposite hand and arch to opposite side of the held wrist (I.e. Grasp right wrist with left hand and reach over the head to the left, arching the right side). Gently use the hand that is grasping the wrist to gently stretch and guide the arm up over the head. Lift out of the pelvis and lengthen through the side body, through the hips and down to the outside edge of the foot. Breath into the side body allowing an opening, lengthening & warming. Inhale reach, exhale arch. Try to keep body in one plane, keeping shoulders, elbows, arms in line with the body. Pelvis down is steady, unmoving.

    Benefits: Standing poses provide grounding, help us feel confident, stretch the hips and groin muscles as well as strengthen our leg muscles. Excellent when feeling off-balance, out of sync with life.

    Meet Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Kellie Greene:

    Favorite Pose and Benefits : Tree Pose (or Vrikshasana)

    “The pose is strengthening, balancing, and allows you to feel grounded. Adding tree pose to your practice can also strengthen and stimulate bone cells to make stronger bones. Practice with your toes on the ground or a block to start and build to your heel at your pelvic floor.”

    Meet Yoga for Fertility Instructor, Alison Lautz:

    Favorite Pose and Benefits: “My favorite yoga pose is Dancer’s pose (Natarajasana- Sankrit name). We all need balance in our life and Dancer’s pose is the perfect pose to weave more balance in. When you are fully concentrated on this pose and its proper alignment, you will find that all other concerns in the world seem to dissolve, because you’re in that focused state of mind. This is an opportunity to cultivate an ability to shift out of the multi-tasking mentality the world seems to demand and move into this essential, centralized energy and space. This spine strengthener has many great benefits. It tones and lengthens the entire leg and hip muscles. Dancer’s pose opens the chest and ribcage for your lungs to create more space for your breath. It also stretches shoulders and biceps; and most importantly, this pose improves balance and concentration.

    Instructions: Starting from Tadasana (Mountain pose), release your right elbow to your right hip. The elbow crease faces outward and the palm faces up. Bend the right knee and grab the inside of the right foot with all five fingers of your right hand.Find balance by bringing your knees to touch and find your drishti, your point of focus.With every inhale, lengthen through the spine and all the way through your left fingertips. And with every exhale, slowly begin to kick your right foot into your right hand. Naturally, your torso will lower down and your left hand reaches out in front of you. Remember, to keep your hips leveled. So even kicking, even stretching.Hold this pose for at least five breaths, then repeat on the other side.”

  • Pesticide Intake Associated with Fertility Treatment Outcome

    We often discuss the importance of choosing organic fruits and vegetables when possible to minimize pesticide exposure with the idea that pesticide exposure may negatively impact fertility and a developing baby. Animal studies have shown that ingestion of pesticides reduces litter size. Until now the studies in humans were limited to studies of women with occupational pesticide exposure or those who lived in or near agricultural areas. In these studies, pesticide exposure was linked to increased risk for infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes. A new study published in October 2017 looked specifically at women going through fertility treatments to determine the impact of pesticide exposure from dietary fruits and vegetables on pregnancy and live birth rates.

    A group of 325 women underwent 541 ART (assisted reproductive technology) cycles. Prior to initiation of fertility treatment, the women filled out a food frequency questionnaire to assess their intake of specific fruits and vegetables. Each fruit and vegetable was assigned a scored based on the pesticide residues from US Department of Agriculture data. Intake of organic versus conventional fruits and vegetables was also assessed.

    Here were the results. Total fruit and vegetable intake was unrelated to probability of implantation, clinical pregnancy, or live birth. Women with highest intakes of high pesticide residue fruits and vegetables (≥ 2.3 servings/day) had an 18% lower likelihood of clinical pregnancy and 26% lower likelihood of live birth compared to women with the lowest intakes of high pesticide fruits and vegetables (<1 serving per day). High pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake was also associated with increased risk of pregnancy loss. Higher intakes of low pesticide residue fruits and vegetables intake were associated with lower risk for early pregnancy loss. The authors then used a model to estimate the impact of replacing high pesticide fruits and vegetables with low pesticide fruits and vegetables. Based on this model, replacing 1 serving per day of high pesticide fruits and vegetables with 1 serving of low pesticide fruits and vegetables would result in a 79% higher odds of clinical pregnancy and 88% higher odds of live birth. The possible mechanisms for the effect of pesticide exposure of pregnancy and live birth rates include the possibility that pesticide exposure may cause placental dysfunction induced by oxidative stress, and/or may cause decreased cell division, cell death, and/or impaired implantation.

    The bottom line is, according to these results, higher intake of pesticides from fruits and vegetables may reduce the likelihood of having a live birth when undergoing fertility treatment. Taking steps to reduce your pesticide exposure from fruits and vegetables in your diet is a helpful step to optimizing your chances of success and a healthy pregnancy. How can you reduce your pesticide exposure from fruits and vegetables? Choose organic when possible. When you’re choosing which fruits and vegetables to buy organic, the Dirty Dozen are the highest priority to buy organic, while the Clean 15 tend to be lower in pesticide residues, so they aren’t as high priority to buy organic versions. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to view the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists and for more information.

    Reference: Chiu Y, Williams PL, Gillman MW. Association between pesticide residue intake from consumption of fruits and vegetables and pregnancy outcomes among women undergoing fertility treatment with assisted reproductive technology. JAMA. 2017.

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  • The Most Wonderful Time…

    The most wonderful time of the year…so nostalgic…so many memories…so much celebration…and so much stress!

    Financial stress, shopping stress, calorie stress, and in some cases, emotional stress. Though this is a time that much loved family comes together, it can also be a time to get repeatedly grilled by nosey relatives (’So…don’t you think it’s time you and your sweetie started having some kids?’) And getting together with extended family can also become a reminder of currently unfulfilled desires to create your own. When you’re trying to keep your fertility journey close to the chest, it’s common to feel alone even in the midst of dozens of people.

    If you’ve got the holiday blues, here are a few helpful hints to keep your spirits high during the next 30 days:

    Give yourself permission: Acknowledge how you’re feeling. Find someone you can share your heart with, whether a partner, a close friend, or even a journal. Though you don’t want to wallow in them, once you’ve voiced those negative thoughts, they tend not to have as much power over you.

    Focus on the future: Where do you see yourself in 12 months? Will your relationship be thriving? Will you be professionally happy? Will you have a growing family of your own? Having a vision for the upcoming year can help you get past the stumbling blocks of today.

    Focus on others: Are there other people or communities you could support during this time? Oftentimes, helping others solve their problems is an effective way to get a little relief from our own.

    Be realistic: Nobody’s holiday is picture perfect, though the seasonal movies we watch might convince us that they should be. Enjoy the moments that are precious, and have a sense of humor about the ones that aren’t.

    Maintain healthy habits (but give yourself a few allowances): You’ve worked hard to achieve the health and wellness you now possess, and should enjoy the way your body feels when you treat it well! That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cookie or slice of pie – just be intentional about what you say ‘yes’ to, and really enjoy those bites!

    Find a few ways to pamper yourself: In addition to those few delicious treats, find ways to really nurture your mind, spirit, and body. Schedule a date night, take a yoga class, or book a massage. Give yourself some things on the calendar to look forward to that can help fill up your emotional tank! Finding small ways to thank and honor yourself can give you the reserves to really enjoy (and not just survive) the most wonderful time of the year!

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  • Winter Weather Exacerbating Your Aches and Pains?

    Winter Weather Exacerbating Your Aches and Pains?

    We all have that relative who swears they can predict rain with their neck pain, but have you noticed that pain really does flare with temperature change? Whether it is just light stiffness due to dropping temperatures, or chronic pain flaring on rainy days, acupuncture is an excellent way to keep you comfortable. For most, it isn’t until that pain starts to last for a long time or stops responding to medications that they really start looking for a new approach.

    Chronic pain is the most common cause of long term disability, and part of the reason our country is experiencing an opioid crisis. Due to the negative effects of long term pain medications, many doctors and patients are seeking alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Chronic pain is the leading indication for use of complementary alternative medicine. Whether the musculoskeletal injury is from overuse, acute injury, surgery, or inflammation; Chinese medicine can offer a multimodality treatment approach. Acupuncture has the ability to tackle the multidimensional nature of pain with few or no serious adverse effects.

    A 2005 meta-analysis on acupuncture for low back pain showed that it had a positive effect on short term pain relief, long term pain relief, patients could return to work sooner and decrease pain medications faster. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends acupuncture as the first line of treatment for back pain, before resorting to pharmacological treatments.

    Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and at least as good as, if not better than, standard medical care for back pain. It appears to be particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional care, for patients with more severe symptoms and for those wishing to avoid analgesic drugs. Acupuncture also accelerates recovery time after traumatic injury and post-surgically resulting in decreased use of pain medications.

    Chinese medicine sees pain as an obstruction of energy in the body. When these obstructions are removed and free flow is reestablished, the body it can begin to heal itself. A detailed health history and assessment of symptoms is used to make a Chinese medical diagnosis. Based on this diagnosis, your acupuncturist with select points along meridians, or channels, in your body that carry out specific functions. In a more western medical sense, acupuncture can help chronic pain by:

    Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins.

    Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors

    Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.

    Reducing the use of medication for pain conditions

    Providing a more cost-effective treatment over a longer period of time

    Avoiding invasive and costly interventions such as surgery.

    Improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises

    Contact an acupuncturist today! Book Online Now

    Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, Forys K, Ernst E. Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain. Annals of Internal Medicine 2005; 142(8): 651-663. [PubMed]

    Qaseem, Amir, Timothy J. Wilt, Robert M. McLean, and Mary Ann Forciea. “Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of PhysiciansNoninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain.” Annals of Internal Medicine (2017).

    “Back Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/back-pain.html .

    Accessed 02 May 2017.

    “Chronic Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/chronic-pain.html . Accessed 02 May 2017.

    “Post-Operative Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/post-operative-pain.html . Accessed 02 May 2017.

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  • Acupuncture and Pregnancy Loss

    Pregnancy Loss Journey invited our amazing Acupuncture Director, Christine Davis to participate in their podcast. Hear this feature at: ” Episode 45: Acupuncture and Pregnancy Loss ” and learn more about the benefits of Acpuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine when coping with loss.

    http://www.pregnancylossjourney.com/single-post/Episode-45-A cupuncture-and-Pregnancy-Loss