by Cassie Harrison RYT RYPT
You May Not Control All the Events that Happen to You, but You Can Decide Not to Be Reduced By Them – Maya Angelo
My miscarriage at 43 wasn’t just the loss of a baby, but the realization that my baby years might be behind me. Having suffered from infertility, it never felt like they were with me. I spent almost all of my 30s and part of my 40s trying to have a baby. In the past, I would’ve trudged forward and tried again, but after this loss it occurred to me it might no longer be an option. Sure, all women at some point face the fact that their baby making time is over, all for different reasons. What felt different, at least for me from an infertility point of view, was this was just something else I didn’t have control over. It also occured to me that I identified with trying to have a baby. I’d spent over a decade thinking, planning, and working on my family. My future suddenly looked more like a blank slate, rather than timelines. Up until this point, I’d avoided planning much of it, such as my next career move or even a big vacation, having thought there might be a baby to interrupt my plans. The idea that I could make future plans without interruption was exciting to me. Simultaneously, I was filled with regret. The dichotomy of my emotions was intoxicating.
Similar to my infertility journey, I found it challenging to speak about my newest realization. When I did manage to speak about it, either it felt like no one understood or it was Déjà vu all over again as I found myself greeted with insults disguised as well intended advice. Yes, I was sad I lost my baby just when I thought I beat the odds of getting pregnant again. After that loss, it did feel like it was time to move on…but to what? On one side, I didn’t want to let go and on the other I celebrated my infertility journey being over!! Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t really me deciding, but somehow infertility was. That it again had the upper hand. The fact is, had I not struggled with it, I wouldn’t have been forced up against the pane (or do I mean pain) of my baby window by still trying to push out another baby at 43.
Where does this leave me? I’m not certain yet, my loss was only 5 weeks ago. There is a new lightness underneath my thoughts when I see my future no longer being held by the chains of infertility that for so long infiltrated my life. To help me through this change, I’ve used breath work (Try this Yoga Breathing Video to get you started!) and a very simple yoga practice. I dream of attending (not just teaching) a full yoga class, but recent life has been hectic and I’ve not prioritized time to do this. Which lead me to my Nook and Cranny practice. I’m literally fitting it into the nooks and crannies of my life. If there’s a 5 minute slot between tasks, you’ll find me in a forward fold or downward dog. My Nook and Cranny practice has done wonders and I highly recommend it. Just as with starting anything new, start small. That’s the great thing about Yoga, it can be done anywhere for any amount of time and you will benefit from it. I’ve practiced while the kitchen sink filled with water. Heck, I’ve done it in the driver’s seat waiting in the carpool line (my car was off and I was 10 minutes early!). Hello to neck circles and Sama-vritti (balanced) breath. My Nook and Cranny practice relaxed my tensions, cleared my thoughts, and opened my mind. Take time to find your nooks and crannies wherever you are on your journey (Try Yoga Poses You Can Use Now! to get started) as I know it will make a difference!
If you struggle to do this on your own, let us help you with our upcoming Holiday Survival Online Yoga starting just after Thanksgiving that will get you through the stressful holiday season or plan for a series in the new year! Save during the holiday week with the Holiday Survival Online Yoga Series (12/8-1/12) available for only $50 on Cyber Monday (save $100) or get the $99 Wild Card this month towards a full in-center series in January (save $111)! Call us to learn more at: 312-321-0004 today!
Hello beautiful readers! My name is Christie Frisch and I’m delighted to introduce myself, having recently joined the team at Pulling Down the Moon, River North. As a postpartum doula and licensed massage therapist specializing in fertility, prenatal and postpartum care, I am a passionate advocate for women and the women-identifying, especially when it comes to supporting new, expecting and trying-to-conceive mamas in experiencing each unique journey into parenthood to its fullest. I feel incredibly fortunate to get to do what I love every day.
My own entry into motherhood was a crucial turning point for me in so many ways, inspiring me eventually to redirect my professional focus into holistic wellness. In those richly transformative early weeks following my daughter’s birth I recall feeling that no one around me seemed to “get it,” despite my having numerous family and friends nearby. An internet search led me to a new moms group, where the universal complexity of our experiences impressed upon me deeply. What other dimension of the human condition could offer the potential for such beauty, and also such rawness? I was fascinated. And I wanted to help support women in tapping into as much of the beauty as possible, despite the natural stress and challenge each journey brings.
I’ve lovingly refined my signature treatment, energy balancing massage, which I tailor to each client’s needs over the expansive course of the childbearing journey. From fertility enhancement all the way through the “fourth trimester” I seek to lift up and understand each client’s evolving needs, listening actively throughout consultation and each treatment as I integrate sound, reiki energy work, aromatherapy and guided meditation to create the ultimate massage experience (I like to think of it as a “massage plus”). My approach is inclusive and empowering, and we are all about incorporating time-honored healing arts from around the world to enhance our clients’ experience at each juncture.
2019 has been an exciting year for me for a host of reasons, not least of which has been joining the fabulous community of wellness professionals at the Moon. It is with much gratitude that I am now offering the five-part Fertility Enhancing Massage protocol to Pulling Down the Moon clients on Tuesdays and every other Friday at the River North location. I received extensive training in the FEM protocol under Meredith Nathan, which I found to be both complementary and enriching to the modalities I’ve previously employed.
It’s already been abundantly rewarding to work with Meredith and the massage therapy team at the Moon, where I’ve found so much like-mindedness among us. My approach has always been grounded in the view that at its best, massage therapy has the potential to activate and enhance the body’s self-healing ability, producing real results that can positively impact our clients’ lives. I view my work as nothing short of guiding my clients toward realizing this potential for themselves. There’s no greater privilege than working with others who share such belief in the value of our work and I greatly look forward to the chapter here ahead. I look forward to taking care of you when you schedule your massage therapy appointment! Take time for your this season and let us support your journey at each stage! Book Now
by Chrissy Langford LMT
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” ~Georgia O’Keeffe
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton
Drawing and painting has been a form of therapy for me since I was a child. It was a way to escape, a way to calm my mind and spirit and a way to express myself when I couldn’t find the words to do so. I could spend hours just lost in a creative zone.
After every Unwind the Mind session, I tell my clients to make sure they are practicing their favorite relaxation techniques at home to ease stress and anxiety post massage during the 2 week wait. The two week wait can be a time where anxiety levels are high and emotions are heightened. It’s important to take time for self-care and relaxation.
Creative art therapy can help one reduce stress, improve self-esteem, explore emotions hard to explain with words, improve symptoms of anxiety and depression and cope with a difficult or traumatic life event. It is known to calm the nervous system. It can create a quiet and meditative state of mind.
I like to use art as a form of meditation. After a long day and usually right before bed, I will take a moment to do some deep breathing exercises and then get to doodling. I put on some music and light candles and incense to set a vibe. Sometimes I just sit in silence and really check in from within. I try not to think about what I am drawing/painting and I just let my mind/pencil/paintbrush just flow. The art I produce in these moments is for no one but myself to see so there is no fear of judgement. I use colors that fit my mood in the moment. Blues and greens can be calming and healing. Reds can stimulate energy and passion. Yellows and oranges are bright and radiate warmth. I love drawing eyes and lips, leaves and flowers, different patterns and random shapes. At the end, I often am left feeling lighter and free of whatever was hanging over me that day.
Again, you don’t have to be an artist to use art as a way to unwind. Try picking up an adult coloring book, doing a collage, origami, beadwork, knitting, embroidery, vision boards and even dance. All are great ways to just let go and quiet the mind. You can also keep an art journal using collage and doodles as a form of self-expression when words are not easy to come by.
Join us for a FREE experiential event in Chicago to unwind and learn more about the benefits of Fertility Enhancing Massage for your journey! Save your spot today for Creative Expression to Unwind the Mind on Thursday, November 14th at 7pm here!
Here are some great articles and blog posts about using art as a form of meditation and to reduce stress:
If you would like to find a professional art therapist or dig deeper into what art therapy is:
10 Minute Mindfulness Drawing Meditation Tutorial you can easily do at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kcAFq7C_CA
Essential oils wonderfully enhance the spa-like experience during your acupuncture treatment. At Pulling Down the Moon we offer this additional option to our acupuncture patients. Different essential oils can be used to treat different ailments. One amazing oil is Bergamot, and I love to use it in the office on my patients. It is helpful in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to regulate the qi flow, which means it keeps the energy flowing in our bodies and minds smoothly and evenly. It is a great mood balancer for that reason. So, if your anxiety is high and you cannot seem to ground yourself using Bergamot oil will help to calm you down. If you are feeling low and depressed, it also has the ability to bring you up and help lift your spirit when you are down. It works wonders for your emotional state during the holidays and is especially useful during this season!Another oil I use to help alleviate mental tension and has a nice Christmas time scent is Peppermint essential oil. Dabbing a small drop of these oils behind the ears or at certain stress points on the body can help achieve its therapeutic effect. If a patient prefer not to wear the oil, they can take a few deep inhalations of it instead. At Pulling Down the Moon we also use specific essential oils for each phase of the menstrual cycle when trying to conceive, whether naturally or throughout a medicated fertility treatment cycle. The first phase oil is called Activate The Blood & Qi, it is meant to be used during the period. It helps detox the body by riding toxins through the shedding of the uterine lining. The second phase oil is called Nourish the Sea of Blood, it is meant to be used after the period has ended to leading up to ovulation. It helps with building the lining back up and with enhancing the quality of the developing egg/s. The third phase oil is called Lift Spirit and is meant to be used at ovulation time. It helps ensure ovulation occur. The fourth phase oil is Nourish Yin & Blood, it is used after ovulation has occurred up until the period begins (it is one of our oils used during pregnancy). This oil helps strengthen the quality of the luteal phase of the cycle, bettering the chances of implantation of an embryo where conception is the goal. The oils are safe and indicated during trying to conceive and during pregnancy when used in the correct manner as done by our experienced acupuncturists.* Another way of reaping the benefits of the oils without having to wear them is using them in an essential oil diffuser if you are concerned at all about placing them directly on the body. Of course, if our acupuncture patient requests no use of oil we respect that. Any oil used during your treatment can help boost the healing you get from the acupuncture itself.For further information or any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and to schedule an appointment for Acupuncture or any or our holistic health services, please call our office 312-321-0004. To purchase any of our fabulous oils please visit our offices in Chicago or Highland Park and/or our online store, including the Fertility Wellness Sampler(including Activate, both Nourish oils, Lift Spirit).
My parent’s were able to have my sister and I. My husband, Daniel, has parents that went through infertility, and with the help of medication, were able to conceive him and his sister. And sure, you learn things in sex ed class, but no one teaches you just what real life can bring when you find out you cannot have a baby on your own.
Dan and I had gone back and forth for many years about wanting children and how many. We both came from families in which there are two children, and although that seemed like the obvious choice, something was not settling right with me. For example, we have one dog, Mr. Big, and we love him to pieces. For nine years, he was our fur-baby, and I didn’t want another dog. And although animals and humans are not the same, my heart was in the same place…if I could have a baby, I wanted to have one. One in which I could set all my heart and efforts on.
After over a year of trying to conceive, Dan and I were referred to a specialist to look into our fertility struggles. After a surgery to clear a blocked tube, finding out about a cyst I had, and enduring many, many blood tests, it turned out that there were problems on both sides, and the odds of conceiving without medical assistance were less than 1%. IVF would give us a chance of up to 75% success in conceiving, and not knowing what I would be in for, we decided privately that IVF would be our shot (no pun intended) to have a baby.
And so we informed our extended families of infertility and the journey of IVF we would be headed upon. Our fertility doctor is one of the best in the Chicago land area, and we felt as positive as we possibly could in a situation of the unknown. I had seven eggs retrieved, and all seven were successfully fertilized. In the process of IVF, we ended up losing some of the embryos and were down to three to be sent for genetic testing. One did not make it, and one came back positive for transfer. There was one embryo that did not come back with a result, and I remember the doctor’s office asking me if I wanted to have the embryo retested. Dan and I decided that we did, and while that embryo was sent out, I could have the embryo that came back positive transferred.
And so we did.
A few days after a successful transfer, we were cautious and careful in everything I did. I took off work the day I went for the blood test to find out whether or not I was pregnant. I wanted to be alone.
And then I got the call…the transfer worked, and we were pregnant.
I decided not to tell Dan until he got home, as I wanted the chance to surprise him like other women got to do when they took a successful at-home pregnancy test. Except my way was through several blood tests at the doctor’s office. I had baby Air Jordan’s and flame-less candles set up in what would be the future nursery. When Dan came in, he went upstairs and was surprised with the good news. He was so happy, and I was feeling things I couldn’t believe…I was finally pregnant.
Right before the transfer it is important to note that we received information that the embryo that needed to be retested came back positive. Stunned at this news, we decided to keep that embryo frozen and would think about the possibilities later.
It was time for some additional blood tests to see how the transfer was doing and the pregnancy progressing. I remember getting the call telling me that the HCG numbers should have doubled but mine did not. They would need me to come in again for another test. Worried about what could happen, I did all I could to shield Dan for the heartache and pain of bad news. The numbers were not rising, and I had a miscarriage.
We were devastated.
Making those calls to the family members was only part of the pain. Knowing how excited Dan was about me being pregnant, and then telling him we had lost our baby, well, some moments truly make you stronger in life. That pain is something I will never forget.
Still…we still had one embryo left that could be transferred. Soon my body healed and with continuous shots and medication, I was ready for the transfer of the final embryo we had; the “surprise” embryo that was retested and came back positive. I remember that whole week acting completely different than I did with the first transfer. I was doubtful and felt like I needed to prepare myself for disappointment again. It would help me when something bad happens this time around if I already expected it. But, Dan reminded me to stay focused on this fighter embryo.
And so I tried with all I had in me.
We had the transfer, and I remember our nurse specifically telling us to do everything opposite we did with the first transfer. “You’re not superstitious are you?,” she asked. Being that I am not, we tried to be as normal as possible and not live in fear of the tiny embryo that was fighting to stick inside of me and become a positive pregnancy. And even though my body was reacting completely different with this transfer than from the first one, I did all I could to remain calm. Daniel was my greatest supporter and without him, I don’t know if I could have stayed true to my word on believing this time would be different.
Then the day came for the blood test to determine if I was pregnant. This time, I went to work and tried not to think about what the result would be. When I got the phone call that afternoon, the nurse was happy and told me the transfer was successful, and we were pregnant. Still, knowing that things could take a turn for the worse (the HCG number was still lower now than with the first transfer), I played my emotions cautiously. A few days later, I took another blood test, and the HCG number grew more than expected. I remember getting the call and this time things were dramatically different. The pregnancy was healthy and successful and although anything can happen, we were further along than before! I called Dan with the news, and I will never forget the tone in his voice or how he responded that day. It was an amazing moment of complete joy.
Speed up nine unforgettable months, and on April 19, 2018, my water broke. On April 20, 2018, after four hours of pushing, I gave birth to the most beautiful, healthy blessing in a baby boy. His name is Ferris Jobs, and Dan and I love him so much our hearts hurt. We chose not to find out the gender or tell anyone our name choice. When the nurse handed him to me and said I had a son, Daniel and I looked at each other and cried. It was the happiest moment of our lives.
In the story of Ferris, I wouldn’t change a thing.
He will grow up knowing that he was born to do great things, that he was wanted and loved by his parents more than anything in this universe, and that there is a guardian angel always looking out for him.
He is our rainbow baby, and the greatest love of my life.
**Check out Tess’ book, I’m Very Ferris, in the tea room at Pulling Down the Moon in Chicago on your next visit and follow us on Instagram for an upcoming giveaway to win your own copy! Participate in the Candlelight Remembrance Yoga with the #waveoflight on Oct 15th and let us honor your little one lost too soon during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Entrepreneurship has always been Tess’ dream job, and after having her miracle baby boy, Ferris, she realized there was no better time than the present to follow this dream. Ferris is Tess’ last embryo and the answered prayer of faith, love, and science through IVF.
Tess made the decision to become a professional children’s picture book author and compose the I’m Very Ferris series after leaving corporate America and, once-and-for-all, jumping into the risk of starting her own company. Reading holds a very special place in her heart, and this next stage of her career has Tess teaching something she is so passionate about in the lives of children through her picture books. Tess is also training to run the New York City marathon in November 2019. She loves to host parties and celebrate life, no matter how small the occasion!
Tess earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Elmhurst College, which is also where she met her husband, Dan.
“I am a mother, first and foremost, and everything else comes second. I believe you really can have anything you want…but you are going to have to work for it and expect nothing to be handed to you. I am a do’er and believe in living the good life. Having my health, loving so hard it hurts, and remembering that life was meant to be lived – that’s what is important to me.
My husband often calls me his real-life Steve Jobs because I respect what Steve said and live my life and teach my son to believe in the following whole-hearted: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
By Christina Livas L.Ac.
As an acupuncturist working in the fertility field, I am frequently asked if Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy. I am here to answer that question! Acupuncture is a completely safe and effective treatment for minor to moderate pregnancy symptoms. It is important to know that there are many medications that are considered unsafe to take during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. That is why many patients turn to acupuncture (as I did during my own pregnancy) to treat even common symptoms unrelated to pregnancy to avoid taking medication unless it was deemed necessary.
Here is a list of symptoms Acupuncture can treat during your pregnancy journey.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation and/or hemorrhoids
- Urinary discomfort or chronic UTIs
- Headaches and migraines
- Anxiety and depression
- Carpal tunnel/arthritis
- Threatened miscarriage
- Lingering first trimester symptoms
- Sinus congestion
- Emotional Imbalance
- GERD/acid reflux/heartburn
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Rib pain
- Leg cramps
- Headaches and migraines
- General discomfort
- Sinus congestion
- Preparing the body for labor
- After pains
- Perineal pain
- Incision pain
- Breast discomfort
- Insufficient Lactation
- Baby blues/postnatal depression
While acupuncture can treat a variety of symptoms during your pregnancy there are still areas of the body that should not be needled while you are pregnant. This makes it very important that you choose an acupuncturist that specializes in fertility and/or pregnancy. Pregnancy is an amazing and exciting time in your life and you should make sure your body feels amazing too!!
Book your appointment with Christina in Highland Park or Buffalo Grove! Acupuncture support for fertility, pregnancy, postpartum care, and general wellness is available in Chicago seven days a week, too! Book an Initial Acupuncture Consultation with the $99 Wild Card and save $51 this season!
pubmed/31392990 – low back pain and pelvic painhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/30423471 – anxiety and depression pre/postnatalhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/30261764 – treating nausea and vomitinghttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/31483927 – safety of acupuncture during pregnancy
by Meredith Nathan LMT
Lately I’ve had an increasing number of clients raising a concern to me: is abdominal massage safe to receive during IVF? Some have been warned by their doctors…others have seen precautions online. And others may have intuitively wondered, as their own abdominal discomfort increased during stimulation.
The concern is valid – during stimulation, the ovaries grow rapidly, sometimes even reaching the size of grapefruits. With this increase in weight, ovarian torsion is more likely, and so any deep contact with the ovaries would be ill-advised. Someone experiencing ovarian hyperstimulation, a condition whereby the ovaries over-produce follicles during stimulation, should be especially cautious.
There isn’t a clear-cut yes or no answer to this question. Certain types of abdominal massage should definitely be avoided: for instance, Mercier Therapy, which utilizes a deep raking technique to the uterus and direct massage to the ovaries, can be a wonderful modality in preparation for IVF, but should definitely NOT be received during stimulation. Other forms of abdominal massage might be safe, but should probably be avoided if the Massage Practitioner isn’t an expert in the field of fertility (and especially in working with IVF clients). Though their work *might* be helpful, without the proper levels of education and experience they might unknowingly put added stress on the reproductive organs during this delicate time.
The FEM (Fertility Enhancing Massage) Protocol™ developed at Pulling Down the Moon, was actually created specifically to assist IVF patients as well as clients undergoing other forms of A.R.T. Each abdominal technique was designed to decrease stress to the reproductive organs while simultaneously increasing circulation and lymph, and promoting organ oxygenation and alignment. Direct pressure is never applied to the uterus or ovaries; rather, surrounding tendons, muscles, and ligaments are worked while the fascia and connective tissues surrounding these areas are warmed and stretched. Additional techniques that don’t involve touching the abdomen are also used to boost blood flow to the reproductive organs.
FEM Massage Practitioners are trained to stay in high communication with the client during any abdominal massage techniques, and to adjust their work if the client experiences any discomfort. The work usually feels quite good (many clients fall asleep during it), and many clients report a decrease in bloating and abdominal discomfort after the work is done. There has actually never been an incident of ovarian torsion or injury to the ovaries of any kind reported by a Pulling Down the Moon client after receiving a FEM massage.
Clients who have a history of hyper-stimulating should only receive our Relax & Integrate session during stimulation, which is even gentler in its approach to working the abdomen (versus our Blood Builder sessions, which use more powerful techniques).
When dealing with your fertility, the best approach is always to stay safe and do no harm. If you have any questions or concerns, raise them with your FEM Practitioner, so you can create the most helpful and safest approach to your reproductive health.
Kelly Lyons, L.Ac, MSOM
The value of your practitioner
Why do I need to come in to the office?
One of the beautiful aspects of acupuncture is that your body is seen and understood as the complete instrument that it is. Your acupuncture point system is endlessly evolving. If you have graduated out of weekly or twice weekly acupuncture sessions, or have fallen out of the habit of coming in to the office, this post if for you. It is also for those who are at the end of their fertility focus, may be on a break, or are wondering if they can use acupuncture for different reasons.
What is important about coming to see your acupuncturist is that they will assess the current state of your health and choose point combinations that will tune your instrument, or all out repair it. It needs to be done in the office every now and then, even though we send you home more educated, with homework, or with goals accomplished.
There are ways to make this easier and less stressful. Pull out your calendar! As you assess your healthcare plan for the next year, look at the entire year ahead. Break it down into quarters, seasons, and peak stress times. Book a sequence of appointments for at least 2 weeks before an event like a holiday, a change in season, or as the quarter winds down. Book 2 appointments the week before tax season or school starts. It is great to touch base with your wellness team to be reminded of how to stay on track. This will help you be at your best.
Women have the opportunity to use their menstrual cycle, also, for scheduling structure. The frequency of office visits depends on what is going on for you, and what your cycle or the year is like. Talk to your acupuncturist to find out what fits best for you. For some, it could be coming during your period, to help keeps things moving. For others, it could be better to come in before you ovulate. Reach out and ask us how we can help recharge your wellness routine.
Come in and see us then have a great Fall! Book and save in October with our BOO-GO special that includes a FREE follow-up session ($95 value)!
By Alece Demaray, RYT500 + CPYT
I have a question and I want you to be honest (and not judge yourself for your answer)! How do you feel at the end of the week? Do you feel exhilarated …exhausted…fulfilled…or like you could dive into a large pizza? Forget about a week, what about in a day? Does the day leave you feeling happy and whole OR empty and broken (or somewhere in between)?
Life has a pace to keep up with. There are appointments to make, deadlines to meet and challenges to tackle. The constant hustle can drain you of your vigor. The fertility journey can be especially depleting. The stress can rob you of joy and the worry can overwhelm your sense of peace. Prolonged imbalance of your energy can lead to anxiety, depression, physical pain and even sickness. Not ideal for anyone, especially those trying to conceive.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to completely eliminate stress from our lives. That would be unnatural and out of balance. It is possible, however, to COUNTER the drain of energy OUT with replenishing energy IN.
In demanding times, it’s easy to forget that you are in the driver’s seat of your life. You control the speed and can pump the brakes as needed. You have the personal power to enhance your vibration in the world and boost your PRANA. Prana is a Sanskrit word that means your vital energy, a.k.a. your gas in the tank, the strength of your blood flow, the fullness of your breath, your will to thrive! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, prana is the same concept as “chi” or “qi”.
Prana is ESPECIALLY important when on the path to conception. Not only do you need enough energy to sustain yourself, but you also need enough energy to grow a human! So how can you boost your prana?
We gain prana by doing things that nourish us, both physically and spiritually. For me, that means eating vegetables and lean proteins, to stabilize my blood sugar. It means going to the lake to be by water, so I feel more balanced. It means taking a bath on a Thursday night with my favorite essential oil and meditating in the morning, before the activity of the day picks up.
What boosts my prana is not necessarily what will enhance yours, as we are all unique individuals. Here are some ideas that could help to nurture your vital essence. Which resonate with you?
- Being in nature
- Eating well – lots of vitamin rich food
- Moderate exercise that leaves you energized – NOT depleted
- YOGA is WONDERFUL 😊
- Deep Breathing
- A cup of tea with a good friend (grab a FREE cup of a caffeine-free blend for your journey while at our center!)
- A cup of tea by yourself
- Listening to music that soothes you
- Taking a rest
- Getting good sleep
- Treat yourself to a massage
- ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL MORE WHOLE, REFILLED AND REPLENISHED WITH YOU.
You can call it Self Care, you can call it a Prana Party… they are the same wonderful thing: Taking time to slow down and take care of YOU. Build your energy reserves so you are capable, creative and authentically you – radiating out in the world, with a sense of balance and ease.
If you are inspired by this concept of Prana and harnessing it to support your fertility journey, inquire about the next Yoga for Fertility series at Pulling Down The Moon!
- Try a FREE Yoga for Fertility class in Chicago or Highland Park on Monday, October 21st at 7pm!
- Interested in joining the series? New sessions are starting: Thursday, October 10th at 6pm for Online Yoga for Fertility; in Chicago on Saturday, October 12th at 12:15pm and Wednesday, October 30th at 7pm (with me)! For Highland Park, the new session will start on Monday, October 28th at 7pm!
by Christine Davis, LAc MSOM
With each passing year, things seem to get busier. More appointments, more work requirements, more life events, more things to do. Then there’s the well meaning family members and friends: why aren’t you pregnant yet? My friend tried This Thing and it worked for her, so you you should try it, too! Then there’s social media and the internet: EVERYONE seems to be happier and more successful than you – here’s what you SHOULD be doing to do to be happy ALL THE TIME. It’s all a never ending stream of NOISE. Where does it stop? How can you simmer down and quiet the stream of mental debris that constantly stimulates worry, fear, anxiety, and frustration?
Here are my suggestions. They aren’t a complete list, but these are the important ones. It may take time to incorporate them all:
- Say it with me: “No.” “I’m sorry, I’m not available.” It’s ok to put yourself first and say “no” when what is being asked of you will compromise your wellness. Clear a path for your ability to think clearly, breathe, and do the things you need to do to feel balanced. Much like Marie Kondo’s method for clearing physical clutter, you need to decide what’s important in your life mentally and emotionally. Say YES to the things that create the life you want (even though they may be difficult, too, sometimes) and NO to the things that are holding you back from that life.
- Disconnect. Social media has been fun over the past couple of decades, right? There are some good and some (really) bad parts, but study after study emerges showing the negative impact that it can have on your mental and emotional state. If you are having trouble completely disconnecting – especially if work or other interests require you to connect with SM – limit your interactions with these apps/websites. Give yourself a specific time frame in which you allow yourself to use them in a positive, uplifting manner.
- Get help. There is no shame in reaching out to a professional if you need help with mental wellness. This could be a mental health professional, a religious guide, etc. Someone who you trust, who is impartial, who has training in helping to guide you is ideal. This doesn’t mean you are signing up forever – sometimes a few sessions can really help to clarify and ground you. I feel like the best therapists are the ones who hold a “mirror” up, so to speak, so that you can see things as they are, then help you to appreciate the beauty that you see.
- Center yourself. This could be with meditation, prayer, yoga, journaling, long walks by the lake – whatever helps you to focus on one, two, or ten things–instead of the thousands of thoughts that are constantly flooding in otherwise. I like to think of Georgia O’Keefe’s “Sky Above Clouds” painting – the thoughts are just clouds floating past. Try not to hang on to them and instead just observe them and let them float past. There are some amazing smartphone apps: FertiCalm and FertiStrong, Insight Timer, MindfulIVF, Headspace, etc. that have tons of guided meditations for everything from general anxiety to trouble sleeping to going through an IVF cycle.
- Find gratitude. Keeping a Gratitude Journal helps with this. Write just a line or two each day about something you are grateful for. It could be the delicious muffin you had for breakfast, the painless phlebotomist experience, your favorite song coming on the radio, the friend who went out of her way to give you the support you needed. Many studies have shown that focusing on the positive aspects of life actively literally rewires the brain to feel happier and more positive.
- Try Acupuncture. A modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is a therapy for the mind, body, and spirit. With regular (once or twice per week, usually) treatment, you will see many aspects of your physical, mental, and emotional self come into balance. Acupuncture is known to be helpful for everything from pain to allergies to digestive stuff to fertility, but it can also be helpful for balancing the mental state and emotions.
Firstly, an acupuncture visit is usually very relaxing! Most who haven’t tried it don’t believe me when I say that, but when else do you take 30 min to just lie still, no phone, not going to sleep (although it’s ok if you do!), not talking or listening (except to quiet music)? This is a deeply restorative time to be quiet, soft, grounded.
Acupuncture has mounting scientific evidence showing that regular treatment can help with reducing anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders. In TCM, there is a strong connection between the physical state and the emotional state. By creating a state of harmony throughout the physical body, balanced mental/emotional wellness is the natural outcome.
In TCM, fertility is associated with the element of Water. When water is too abundant or too scarce, the earth and all forms of life suffer, including our own bodies. The element of Water shows its emotional imbalance in the form of Fear/Anxiety. When we are in a constant state of stress (life, work, family, infertility, etc), we put ourselves into a constant state of “fight or flight.” This creates a situation in which our bodies focus only on staying alive for the moment rather than long cycles like those required for fertility. By using acupuncture, we are able to break that constant loop of stress, find grounding, and reconnect with our natural cycles which can lead to improved fertility.
Choosing to find serenity in this life takes effort. Just think about when someone says, “Calm down!” or “Relax!” Has anyone ever calmed down or relaxed just by hearing that? I don’t think so. By regularly making the choice to build the space for quiet, for reflection, for balance, you are creating a foundation for the life you are searching for.
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