Here are a few of my favorite things! Last week Yin Yoga, this week Yoga Nidra. I have to admit, when I went into Yoga Nidra for the first time, yes with an open mind and ready for some good ol meditation, I never expected what I got. And what I got blew my mind. I have spent most of my adult life doing some sort of yoga and meditation, and quite honestly I like guided meditation, but hadn’t really found one that made me tingle — that was until my Dear yoga instructor extraordinaire Sylvia brought me Yoga Nidra. I resonated with Yoga Nidra like no other meditative practice I have ever tried. And the more I learned about this practice well … I was and am totally hooked. It is interesting to me to say that a practice so calming and relaxing is powerful, yet that is exactly what Yoga Nidra is powerful!
Yoga Nidra or Yogic Sleep is a simple yet profound practice developed from traditional Tantric practices. Yoga Nidra is a meditative technique with evidence-based, scientific research backing its effectiveness. The intent of Yoga Nidra is to create full body relaxation and a deep meditative state. We live in a world of chronic exhaustion and overstimulation, Yoga Nidra is a simple practice of inducing complete physical, mental & emotional relaxation. I am absolutely fascinated by the science behind Yoga Nidra, yet it is the results that keep me practicing! More energy, quiet mind, and better sleep, are a short list of the top results I have received from Yoga Nidra. Bottom line: Yoga Nidra makes me a better human! And a human that feels better : )
With yoga nidra you are invited to recline in a comfortable position. Most of us enjoy Yoga Nidra lying down, however it can be practiced in a sitting position if that is more available to you. You are then guided (similar to a guided meditation) to a state between sleep and wakefulness. It really is one of the most effortless practices I have experienced. Yes very simple, easy to practice and available to everyone!
So a huge heartfelt Thank you to Syliva for bringing Yoga Nidra into my life! It has changed me for the better. Spa Eir has added more Yoga Nidra to our schedule. During this busy summer season it is great to add a bit of calm to the hectic, and Yoga Nidra is the perfect solution. Check out the new class times online or give us a call and we will be happy to give you more information.
My love letter to Yin Yoga.
Yes yes yes! I am truly and unbelievably in LOVE with Yin yoga! I sing songs about it - remember Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street and his song “I love trash?” Now just insert Yin instead of trash and add words like yummy and gooey and yiny! I have said yin yoga is the doughnuts of yoga. I know comparing a healing yoga with doughnuts may sound strange but stay with me. My sweet Grandmother Blessing always made us doughnuts on our yearly visit. As I remember, there were hundreds and hundreds of warm yummy soft comforting doughnuts. The aroma blanketed the house with love and warmth, bringing us together in the kitchen sharing love and joy. This was healing. So when I say Yin is the doughnut of Yoga, this is the past that I bring it from. Yin Yoga makes me feel warm, happy, free and at ease, hugged and safe, just like Grandma Blessing and her doughnuts, only with Yin I can bring this feeling to myself and bypass the gazillion calories of the doughnut!
So what is Yin yoga? Yin is a yoga practice that is done primarily lying or sitting on the floor with props such as bolsters, blocks and blankets. The pace is slow and gentle so wear comfortable clothes and you may even want to keep your socks on. The asanas or postures are held for a longer period of time than in most yoga practices, sometimes up to 3 to 4 minutes. This allows for your body to completely relax into the postures, targeting connective tissues, ligaments, and joints. This simple yoga style is suitable for all levels, both beginners and experienced yoga students. Yin is about finding stillness in the mind and body, finding the stretch and finding the release! Yin allows us to completely drop down into our parasympathetic nervous system, and in doing so it is deeply healing and nourishing. And while Yin is a simple quiet mindful practice, make no mistake it is not always comfortable. However, the benefits of staying with the discomfort, despite your unease, is where the magic happens for both your mind and your body.
To understand Yin Yoga or any form of yoga, you must experience it. Like Grandma and her doughnuts, you can read about them, get her recipe, think and dream about them, but until you have had the total experience of walking into the kitchen, seeing Grandma’s warm smiles, hearing her laugh and being overwhelmed by all the sensations, until you can partake with all your senses, you can’t fully embrace the power of well Grandma or Yin Yoga : )
Spa Eir is an oasis located in downtown Kirkland named after the Norse Goddess of Healing. At Spa Eir you can find Yoga, Massage, Reiki, Meditation and Sound Spa Healing. Open 7 days a week. Visit www.spaeir.com to learn more.
Over the last few weeks I have been asked by several clients what type of massage technique I practice. One young man from Europe told me he wanted to go back home and find a therapist who practiced my technique! I was also told that I have empathy for your muscles! Love that one : ) I believe that by quiet mindfulness and concentration, one can hear with one’s hands, what clients bodies most need. When you hear what the body is saying, a massage therapist (and nurse) can respond with the touch, pressure and technique that each specific body needs. And even more specifically, what the muscles, tendons, or joints are asking for. I can’t tell you exactly what my technique is, as I use a combination of techniques I learned through rigorous massage and nursing education and 25+ years of hands on practice. But I can tell you some massage technique basics. The two most commonly known types of massage and two that played a large part in my massage education and my practice, are Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage.
Swedish massage was developed by a Swedish man, Per Henrik Ling and introduced to the US in 1858 as the “Swedish Movement Cure.” The main goal of the Swedish massage is to relax the whole body by massaging the muscles with long gliding strokes. As well as overall relaxation and tension release, Swedish massage can increase the level of oxygen in the blood, decrease muscle toxins, and improve circulation and flexibility, all of which benefit your health, wellness, and mood. A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Volunteers also had an increase in their number of lymphocytes, the white blood cells that are part of the immune system, this boost in the immune cells may help fight infections such as colds and flu.
Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage, yet uses deeper pressure to produce release. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that participants blood pressure fell after just one 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. And, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage like deep tissue reduces stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by increasing the release of oxytocin and serotonin (feel good hormones).
These are two of the most common massage practices and two that I use routinely and have studied and practiced for many years now. Remember it is always important to fill out your massage intake form completely and have a conversation with your massage therapist before, during (don’t be afraid to speak up during a massage), and after each massage to ensure that your massage needs are being fully addressed. And really finding a massage therapist that you click with and can work with you to get the results you are looking for is the bottom line! Leave the training and techniques to us! Just relax, enjoy, and feel good!
I am going to tell you a secret about me! There is a reason I am so unbelievably excited about the Sound Bath’s we present to you each week at Spa Eir: Musicians! I have always loved musicians, and, honestly, I probably deep down have a desire to be a punk rock star. But my dabbles in music as a child, culminating in ultimate frustration with my metronome, which I dramatically, forcefully, and without any regret whatsoever, threw out the window, did not a musician make. I did however marry a musician and had 2 beautiful daughters with him. I loved to hear him talk about music, the art of music, the technicalities, the possibilities, the science of it, and especially the love of it! Oh and of course to hear him play! My passion for live music exploded as the wife of a musician. There is really nothing like the heart pumping buzz one gets from live music.
Musicians see the world differently from the rest of us, as they have learned another language which allows them to hear, see, and touch the world around them differently than folks like me, who decided the metronome and it’s evil ticking ways needed to pack its bags. I have found that music as a second language is a humble secret most musicians share. There is plenty of research that shows how music changes the workings of the brain, especially if you study music young. Luckily for the rest of us who don’t possess the mastery of the art, the gift of music, it is known to positively affect our health and wellbeing.
So let me now briefly share with you the music backgrounds of the Spa Eir Sound Healing Team. Each of them has a solid background of music training and additional training in sound healing. Please see the Spa Eir website for more details.
Wayne Marto: Wayne comes from a family of musicians and says that he has been “blessed with the gift of rhythm and an ear for music.” His first instrument was the drums and in his early twenties he moved on to the bass guitar, captivated by the powerful deep tones of the bass. We are captivated by Wayne and his Gong Baths, which happen every 1st Monday of the month at 7:30pm! And…….he has been known to sneak in a savasana at the end of the yoga class before his gong bath : )
Gail Kronberg: Gail has always had a love for music and has even spent time pursuing a music career. Gail graduated with a Bachelors of Music degree in studio music from Silver Lake College and has a Masters of Music in vocal performance from Illinois State University. We bask in the soothing vibrations of Gail’s Crystal and Tibetan singing bowls every Friday evening at 7pm and every 3rd Monday at 7:30pm.
Maria Nunez: Maria has spent a lifetime studying and performing classical music, and has played with numerous classical music groups since childhood. Maria is a graduate of the International Harp Therapy Program. We let our mind relax and rejuvenate with the sacred sounds of Maria and her Tibetan Singing bowls every Sunday evening at 7pm.
Each of these incredible sound healers has a strong history of musical studies, giving them a clear and defined knowledge of the art of music, the tone, octave, pitch, harmony and most likely a solid and tranquil, peaceful relationship with the metronome. Each moved from the principles of the art of music to the practice of using music to heal. This is the journey of a master sound healer. These three make magic and have all the right ingredients for it: a passionate love for music, years of practice and study of sound, training in sound healing, and most importantly they each have warm, open, generous hearts for the music to flow through.
Please join us for a Healing Sound Bath at Spa Eir.
For some of us, Mother’s Day is a joyful celebration: brunches, flowers, chocolates, connecting with family, filled with joy and love. It’s a day to be grateful that we are loved and appreciated, a time to reflect and honor the women in our lives who loved us, cared for us, supported us and told us to eat our vegetables, wear clean underwear and be home by 10. However, for others Mother’s Day can be a difficult day of reflection. We may have had a mother that was unable to love and cherish a child, a mother who, maybe because of her own upbringing or health issues, was unable to step into the powerful Divine Mother in herself and therefore unable to give us what we needed. For some of us, Mother’s Day may bring up feelings of anxiety, sadness, regret, heart ache, or a feeling of loss for a mother we wish we had.
We can’t change our childhood, but we can step into our own Divine Feminine and Mother ourselves. The Divine Feminine is a part of all of us. She is our honoring of birth and death, she is nurturing yet fiercely protective, she sees the beauty in all things, she laughs, she cries, she sings and dances, she celebrates our highest achievements and mourns our deepest failures. It is life changing to be on the journey to taking over the primary responsibility for filling in the spaces that our own mothers were unable to fill. Establishing a strong healthy bond with ourselves, becoming the Divine Feminine Power Source of unlimited love, caring, and nurturing for ourselves, is a way to peace and joy.
“You have to find the Mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside” Sue Monk Kidd
This Mother’s Day, I ask that you reflect on how you can bring more Divine Mothering Love to yourself, no matter your relationship with your own mother. Learn ways to celebrate mothering yourself. You ARE worth it! I am holding that for each and every one of you, inviting you to look at yourself from the eyes of the Divine Mother and let her speak to you. What is she saying? Is she whispering “I love you,” or is it more of a stern mother-to-daughter talk? Does she need you to listen for your safety? Does she know you need a good hug, a cup of tea, and a nap? Is she beaming with pride? She is there supporting you, holding that space for your truest most divine self and loving you unconditionally. Find ways to be still, for she is there. She has the answers! Mothers always do : )
Some simple ways to start. Eat your vegetables and always wear clean underwear! : ) Find a practice that brings you to silence, that calming meditative state, that nurturing inner you place. Take a moment to be proud of your accomplishments even if it is just getting out of bed in the morning. Give yourself hugs and soft caresses. Breath, sing, laugh, feed your mind and your body with love, take care of yourself when you are ill, and always do your best to play nice with your brothers and sisters.
Starting this Mother’s Day, find time to listen to your Divine Inner Mother. Snuggle in with her who would tell you that you are a loved, powerful, brave, and sacred. You are a cherished child of the Universe.
Sometimes it feels like a good night’s sleep is only a dream and living without enough sleep can be a nightmare. Insomnia, which is the inability to sleep or to sleep soundly, can be either temporary or chronic. It is said to affect up to 54% of all adults in the United States at one time or another, and insomnia that lasts more than 6 weeks may affect as many as 10-15% of us at some point in our lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared poor sleep as a public health epidemic.
Stress, anxiety, chronic & acute pain, hormonal changes, and life schedule changes can all contribute to a poor night’s sleep; however at 2 in the morning, as you are watching the clock tick away the minutes of sleep, the causes of the insomnia are secondary to the anxiety that tomorrow may be a rough day. We all know the feeling. Cortisol, which is the body’s primary stress hormone, is about 50% higher in those who only get about 6 hours of sleep a night. Activities and therapies exist that reduce cortisol levels, which ease stress, and can create better sleep hygiene. Another factor in the chemistry of sleep is serotonin. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in the body, and it is believed that it can affect mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. Serotonin is also essential for the production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. Bottom line - decrease stress and turn on your body’s natural ability to get you to a good night’s rest!
Unfortunately, to get this good night’s rest, many of us are turning to pills, both over the counter and prescription. However, drugs are not always very effective, are very expensive, often have negative side effects, and worst of all the insomnia can return when you quit taking them. Or not work well for the insomnia at all!
Massage, Reiki, Meditation & Yoga are all healthy, smart, simple and drug free ways to help us manage insomnia and improve our health and sleep hygiene. By making that mind-body connection, slowing down our minds and our bodies, we can help ourselves decrease cortisol levels (stress hormones) and increase our feel good happy hormones, improving our health and wellbeing in many ways, including better rest and sleep.
We can help you get on the sleep train at Spa Eir! We have massages (try our signature Naturopathica Rest Herbal massage for a delightful treat), specifically designed with essential oils and long relaxing strokes, or calming Reiki, and relaxing soothing Yin Yoga. Sound Baths are also a simple and effective practice to get your mind and body connected and slow down.
To all of our Sweet Dreams, Natalie
Let me tell you the secret ingredient to an amazing massage! I-N-T-E-N-T
Call it what you want - intent, focus, attitude, vibe, energy, attention, vibration, prayer. It doesn’t matter what you call it. However, It is the difference between a good massage and a great massage.
The amazing work and life experience of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor points at this directly. As a nurse and a massage therapist, her work has changed my practices and how I see myself as a healer. Jill, a Harvard trained neuroanatomist that specializes in how the brain works, suffered a massive stroke at the age of 37, which left her in a coma. It took a full 8 years for her to recover. In her book “My Stroke of Insight” Jill writes a compelling account of the stroke beginning with the day it occurred and details the process of her recovery. Her combined knowledge of the brain and her experience connecting with energy is remarkable. Jills work and experience bring us a personal account in combination with scientific understanding of how the power of our mind and the energy produced, change and affect the world and people around us. Jill writes that she could feel the energy of the people who walked into her room and could tell which nurses made her feel safe. The nurses who could make a connection with her simply by making eye contact or gently touching her foot made all the difference as opposed to someone who just came in and dealt with the machinery and ignored the warm body on the bed. Jill went so far as to have a sign posted in her hospital room that read, “Please mind the energy you bring into this space”. Jill came face to face with the reality of Intent, finding herself acutely aware that she could feel the energy of every person that came into her room and knowing that this energy was affecting her care and recovery.
Massage is more than just applying techniques to manipulate the physical body.A great massage is this and the practiced focus of healing with intention. While a solid understanding of massage techniques, including anatomy, physiology, and pathology, is vital, a clear and focused understanding of intention amplifies the healing benefits of a therapeutic massage. When you combine the knowledge of anatomy in a massage and the therapist’s energy of wholeness, wisdom, clarity, compassion, healing, joy, love and peace, you have the receipt for a truly amazing massage experience.
Knowing everywhere we go and everything we do, we bring our energy to it and it affects the people and the world around us.
"Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome. The law creates the world." - Brenna Yovanoff
Listen to your body when it whispers, and you won’t have to hear it scream. Such a powerful message, yet how many of us are able to quiet our minds, and bodies long enough to hear the vital messages our bodies are sending every day? As a massage therapist I frequently hear “wow I feel so much better, I had no idea my ___________ was so tight,“ you fill in the blank. The client may have come in knowing about the tightness, or pain in their shoulders, yet had no idea the hips were screaming for attention. Stress & anxiety, we hold them in our bodies and our minds, and nobody will argue that we all live stressful lives. The to-do list that goes on forever, the pressure to perform, the increased amounts of what has been termed “hurry sickness” a mix of anxiety and the continual feelings of urgency. These stressors affect both mind and body because as we have learned is, what affects the body affects the mind and what affects the mind affects the body.
Most of us have a good idea of what a healthy life style is as it pertains to caring solely for our physical bodies. Eat healthy foods, drink water, get 10,000 steps, 8 hours of sleep, we all know… yet despite our generally healthy lifestyle habits many of us experience so much anxiety and stress that even with our dedication to a healthy lifestyle, the anxiety and stress prevent us from paying attention to the cues our bodies are sending us. We are missing the subtle, and sometimes, not so subtle nudges and winks telling us how our own stress and anxiety plays out in our mind and affects our physical body.
We miss that tiny pressure in the back of our skull until it is a full blow migraine forcing us to our beds for hours and even days, we don’t notice that twinge in our shoulder until we wake up one morning and can’t move our necks without intense pain. We ignore the mental pressures that are building up until we have a melt down. Maybe yelling at our kids, our loved ones or co-workers, or even our pets and finding ourselves wondering why and regretting how we reacted. We all have a list and we all have a story.
Awareness that there is a mind/body connection is not new, every day we can google more and more reports about the importance of this connection to our health and wellbeing. The understanding and science of this connection is becoming very clear. Until approximately 300 years ago virtually every system of medicine through out the world considered the mind and the body when treating a patient. However, during the 17th century the western world started to see the mind and body as separate parts of a human being. While this western view has had numerous benefits, it has not left much room for the study and practice of the connection between our thoughts and our physical experiences. Often ignoring the potential ability of the body to heal itself. Thankfully in the 20th century an interest has grown in the study of the mind/body connection and the research is overwhelmingly pointing to the importance of the Mind/body connection.
Integrative psychiatrist James Lake MD at Stanford University writes that “extensive research has confirmed the medical and mental benefits of meditation, mindfulness training, yoga and other mind-body practices”
“The brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems, and indeed all the organs of the body and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and are constantly communication with one another” Dr. James Gordon ( founder of the Center of mind-body medicine)
Mind/body connection is a practice. A muscle if you will that we strengthen each and every time we allow ourselves time to practice mindfulness. These practices such as yoga and meditation can bring us to the space where we can find our self coming home. Where our breathing slows our body let’s go and our minds become quiet. This opens the door for us to hear what our wonderful, marvelous, amazing body wants to say. Your body is incredible, let’s all take some time to listen to the whispers.
We at Spa Eir believe that making this mind/body connection is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing. We strive to bring you the most effective, simple and joyful ways to get you there. To get you home because “there is no place like home”
Blessings, Spa Eir
Hello and Blessings from Spa Eir. Our Reiki program is an integral part of our services here at Spa Eir. Many of our Yoga instructors, massage therapists and staff are Reiki Masters. With this expanse of Reiki knowledge and experience, we lovingly infuse Reiki through out our services. Our Sound Baths to enhance the experience of the singing bowls, our yoga instructors add it to their yoga classes, our massage therapists combine Reiki with massage, our acupuncturist works with Reiki in her treatments, making already amazing experiences even more therapeutic and mindful. And yes! We have exceptional Reiki as a private service and monthly Reiki training levels I & II and Master level training. We also hold a free monthly Reiki Circle every second Sunday of the month that is open to all no matter what your level of experience with Reiki is! So what is Reiki? How does it work? and why?
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Gentle, yet powerful, it compliments western medicine, and stimulates the body's natural ability to heal itself. Reiki is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing, wellness and relaxation. Reiki treats the whole person - Body, Mind, and Spirit - and helps the recipient restore overall health and balance, while also providing focused energy to alleviate a variety of health conditions.
A Reiki treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows thorough and around you, treating the whole person including the body, emotions, mind, and spirit, creating the healing effects that many include relaxation, a feeling of peace, security and wellness. With soothing and gentle touch, or by placing the hands slightly above the body, the Reiki practitioner will channel "Spiritually guided life force energy." This energy flows into the recipient during a Reiki treatment, transforming negative thoughts and opening the body's energy channels, improving mental and physical wellness.
Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of energy healing and self improvement that anyone can use and it works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to promote recovery and wellness. Reiki is amazingly simple to learn and is not dependent on ones intellect capacity or spiritual development and is therefor available to everyone.
The Many Benefits Of Reiki Include:
* Deep relaxation
* Reduction in depression and anxiety
* Healing from stress related disorders, including migraines,
chronic fatigue, and insomnia
* Relief from chronic pain
* Reduced blood pressure
* Improved energy
* Emotional cleansing and processing of grief
* Spiritual clarity
* Sense of peace and connection
We welcome you to join us and experience the many ways we have here at Spa Eir to experience and learn about the joy of Reiki! For more information call us and join our Facebook group "Reiki Healing at Spa Eir"
Namaste, Spa Eir
We delight in marrying holistic practices together in truly glorious combinations here at Spa Eir. One of our favorites is Yin Yoga & Yoga Nidra, taught by our amazing Jedi yogini Sylvia, Wednesday evenings at 6pm. Sylvia combines these two practices, blending the benefits of both into a yummy, spirit calming, mind body bliss, nurturing practice that calms the body, mind and spirit.
In a world that bombards us daily with stimuli, deadlines, laptops, phones, mobile devices, work obligations, family obligations etc. It is easy not to give your mind, body and spirit some downtime by switching it all off, ending up with a mind that is constantly occupied processing all that information. Whether it is good, valuable or garbage the mind, body and spirit still need to deal with it. Sadly our mind gets used to this amount of information and starts to crave it, searching out stimuli if things get quiet. Leading to browsing, searching, and longing for more stimulation. It doesn't matter what stimulation as long as the gaps get filled with something. Yet allowing for the gaps to remain empty, the silence, the quiet, is what the busy mind truly desires.
Yoga Nidra or Yogic Sleep is an ancient meditation practice which allows you to experience the state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. Allowing the body to fall asleep, while allowing the mind to become aware and shift into the alpha brain wave state. A state where the body is completely relaxed and becomes more and more aware of the inner self by following a set of verbal instructions. Yoga Nidra is different from meditation where a single focus is required, however the yogic goal of both meditation and Yoga Nidra are the Samadhi, the state of meditative consiousness. With Yoga Nidra you remain in a state of light Pratyahara with four senses interalized and only one sense, hearing, is connected through the instructors voice.
Yoga Nidra has been found to reduce tension and anxiety and calm the autonomic nervous system. Calming the autonaomic nervous system will reduce the levels of stress hormone and allows one to go into a state of self healing. While all meditation is designed to get you to an alpha state the difference with Yoga Nidra is that instructors follow an ancient road map to get you there, guiding you through layers - the physical body, the energetic body, the mental and emotional body, the intuitive and creative body and the bliss body.
Yin is the yoga practice of a series of long held passive floor poses allowing the physical bodies relatively stiff connective tissues tendons, ligaments and fascia to respond and become more flexible and strong. Yin yoga requires the bodies more mobile element muscle to release. Benefits of a regular Yin Yoga practice include:
*Stillness which calms and balances the mind and body
*Stress and anxiety reduction
*Improved joint mobility
*Balance to the interanal organs and improved flow for chi or prana through meridian stimulation.
Come join us for Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra together in one amazing class. The perfect combination! Like Peanutbutter and Jelly! A perfect match.
Blessings, Spa Eir