Thieves Oil for autumn & winter immune boost

thievesherbs

A number of you enjoyed the blog post I recently wrote on yogic tips for navigating the change of season into Autumn. Now is definitely the time of year for preventative self care to keep ourselves healthy and happy as we make our way towards winter.

Since colder days are on their way, Michael and I have started using an essential oil blend to stimulate immunity and help with any stress, tiredness or lack of ‘oomph’. This blend includes highly antibacterial, antiviral and anti-infectious essential oils and is known as the “Thieves Oil”.

Thieves Oil is fantastic in an oil burner; used diluted as a cleaning solution for laundry, floors, surface disinfectant, bed linen/mattresses, cell phones; or rubbed into the chest, back and neck with carrier oil at the first sign of a cold.

Our blend was created with organic and wildcrafted oils by Kasia Degler-White, an extremely knowledgeable aromatherapist and massage therapist (who also made the beautiful lavender eye pillows we use during Yoga Nidra).

10ml bottles available for $40 (a little goes a long way!!). We have a tester in the studio so you can experience this delicious blend yourself.

We asked Kasia to share the fascinating history of Thieves Oil:

Once upon a time there were Four Thieves…

The thieves were actually spice traders and merchants who imported spices, including cinnamon and clove from India. When the Black Plague hit in the middle of the XIV century, all international trade and shipping came to a halt, and these spice traders had to find another way to support themselves.
Since everyone was afraid to touch the dead bodies, they decided to loot the homes and bodies of the plague victims. They knew they wouldn’t get sick if they rubbed vinegar, oils, and certain spices all over their bodies.

Their plan worked well until the King found out… He wanted to know their secret – how they were able to touch dead bodies without getting sick! He sent his constables out to capture them. Four of the thieves were caught and brought before the King. Having to choose between life and death at the stake, the four thieves decided to share their secret formula with the King, who immediately posted it all over the town.
The secret components of this highly antibacterial, antiviral and anti-infectious blend are –

  • Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) organic
  • Lemon (Citrus limonum) organic
  • Cinnamon Leaf (Cinnamonum verum) wild
  • Eucalyptus Australiana (Eucalyptus radiata) wild
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) organic

Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) contains up to 70% eugenol, 22% esters, and 5% sesquiterpenes. Clove buds have been used both as a spice and natural remedy for over 2000 years. Essential oil of clove has an impressive range of action against pathogens and illnesses of all kinds. It has antiviral and antifungal effects. It is also antiparasitic and works for gum infections, toothaches, and tonsillitis.

Cinnamon Leaf (Cinnamonum verum) was traditionally used in the East to help with common complaints such as cold, flu, digestive problems and joint inflammation. It is said to be effective against 98% of all pathogenic bacteria. It is also effective against yeasts, candida and fungi. It is antiparasitic and prevents fermentation in the intestines; it is effective against diarrhea, colitis, amoebic dysentery, bacterial cystitis, and urinary tract infections with E. coli and tropical infections accompanied by fever.

Lemon (Citrus limonum) has a long history of use in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. Essential oil of lemon has strong anti-infectious and antiviral activity due to its high content of limonene. It supports healthy immune function when fighting infection, and is also used to promote cleansing in the lymphatic system and to help relieve muscular aches and pains.

Eucalyptus Australiana (Eucalyptus radiata) has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and expectorant properties. Essential oil of eucalyptus is traditionally used by indigenous communities in Australia for skin problems like insect bites and sunburn. It has been commonly indicated for treating colds, respiratory ailments, as well as muscle, nerve and joint pain.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is well documented in recent history. The French hung rosemary in their hospitals during World War II due to its antiseptic and purifying properties. During the plague, bunches of rosemary were hung and burned to help fight off infection. Essential oil with high cineole and camphor content has strong anti-infectious and expectorant effects, and can be used to assist healthy breathing and digestion. Rosemary Cineol also aids regular circulation and is helpful with joint and muscle pain.

How to use Thieves Oil

Diffuser

This method of essential oils diffusion by nebulization (micro droplets) purifies the air and helps defend against infectious pathogens. Diffuse 15-20 drops of Thieves Oil for 15 minutes three to four times a day.

Household use

Dishwasher, laundry, floors, surface disinfectant, bed linen/mattresses, cell phones. Prepare cleaning solution by adding 15 drops of Thieves oil into 200ml spray bottle and use when needed.

Common Ailments

  • During cold and flu season – at the very first sign of any symptoms – dilute 15 drops with 15 drops of carrier oil and massage into lower back, chest and back of the neck.
  • For immune support massage 2-4 drops diluted in 4 drops of carrier into the bottom of feet. Apply twice daily, morning and night.
  • At the very first sign of sore throat add 2-3 drops of Thieves oil to 2 tablespoons of water and gargle. You can make lemon, ginger and honey drink, add 1 drop of Thieves and drink as a tea.
  • For extra support during cold and flu season, place 2-4 drops in an empty capsule with 4-6 drops of vegetable oil (EVO, avocado, sesame seed) and swallow daily to boost immune system.

Even yoga teachers can burn out

George the pug knows how to relax

George the pug knows how to relax

Even yoga teachers can find themselves on the floor, exhausted and in a puddle of tears not knowing quite what to do or how they will teach. Even yoga teachers can be caught off guard by aspects of ourselves that aren’t entirely helpful. Aspects we thought we’d figured out and healed. We are only human after all.

Its a great reminder that part of our yoga journey is the experience of getting to come closer to what makes us tick. Coming closer to the brightest parts of ourselves that we perhaps shy away from, but also coming closer to the discomfort of aspects that don’t serve us so well yet still drive us forward unconsciously.

Have you ever been in a pose and felt that drive to push harder to reach your toes, rather than let go, stay with the breath and not strive so hard? An unconscious forcing that maybe shows up in other aspects of your life outside of yoga?

Or perhaps you feel that rush of grace as you hold a balancing pose like dancer, only to catch a glimpse of someone else you think is doing it “better” than you and  have your balance go as you fall out of the pose with an inner voice reminding you that you’ll never be any good at yoga. A voice that is familiar when you get brave and step out of your comfort zone in other parts of your life?

When we stay with the breath and observe ourselves in each pose we have an opportunity to glimpse those unconscious patterns that can be running us, going unnoticed all day. Yoga is the opportunity to come closer to ourselves.

Students and readers of this blog may or may not know that before I was a yoga teacher, I was a graphic designer for around 13 years. I still do freelance design work to supplement my yoga teaching along with working one day a week at an organic store. Teaching yoga is something I do for love, not the money. I had some highs and some lows in my old life as a full time graphic designer. I truly love design work and being creative. Deadlines, working 60+ hour weeks, having no social life and endless neck, back and shoulder issues – not so much.

For me, my ability to work hard, fast and get a job done at all costs with attention to detail allowed me to be a great graphic designer. But what made me a great graphic designer also provided my biggest blind spot.

Self care.

I’ve come a long way since those old days of epic stress, chronic pain from being stuck at a desk for long hours, eating poorly, not enough rest and definitely no self care. I have put in a lot of work on the mat and off to heal my body and find balance again.

But blind spots can still sneak up on us. They serve a purpose to teach us something, reveal an aspect we still need to heal. For me always seems to come back to self care and not letting my drive to work harder make me blind to a deeper need to take good care of myself.

These days its not just for myself, its for my students, my partner, my family and friends. If I am not taking good care of myself, then I am not showing up as my best self as a yoga teacher, wife, daughter and friend. Things are out of balance. Where there is imbalance then I get exhausted, run down, sick and lose my way.

I’ve been working a lot more hours doing graphic design in the last couple of months to supplement my yoga teaching. I started out well, balancing my design work and yoga with self care to allow me to show up in all aspects of my life as my best self. It worked really well until the last 3 weeks I let my old patterns show up, that sneaky voice that says “work harder, self care is indulgent, a luxury, keep going”.

Guess what happened? I got run down, my tank got low, I got exhausted and sick. I had to cancel yoga classes for the first time since I started teaching group classes. I ended up on floor, in tears, exhausted, feeling like a failure, that I had let my students down and my graphic design clients in the lurch.

Truly though, this was an opportunity to see that above all that I had simply let myself down. I had moved away from myself. It is a gentle (and slightly embarrassing) nudge back in the right direction. Back towards truth. My truth will probably always be that I need to practice self care and that when I don’t, I pay a big price.

Teaching yoga fills me up and is an act of loving service that provides a sense of purpose that was always missing during my old career. But to teach I must look after myself first so I can show up and hold space for my students to explore their blind spots on the mat too.

So in humbleness, this week I’ve added in an extra body therapy appointment, upped my meditation, prioritised getting to bed early, planned to eat some meals with my husband and hopefully will squeeze in a walk with my dogs (something that I miss dearly but never seem to have time for). Baby steps back to looking after myself.

My hope is that in sharing my vulnerability and my truth, this blog post might inspire you to look with compassion and kindness at any areas of life that could be your blind spot. To gently ask yourself if you need to slow down. To lovingly say no (or perhaps yes) to something that will give you some mental or emotional space to show up as your best and highest self in other areas of your life. To simply pause for one full, deep, belly breath and ask yourself “what do I need?”

With love, blessings and self care

Felicity

Post Christmas dinner relaxation technique to aid digestion

Even with the best intentions, so many of us end up overindulging on Christmas day and feeling quite tired afterwards, heading to the couch for a nap. However when our body is busy trying to digest all that yummy Christmas food, having a sleep in a strange position isn’t always the best solution.

While yoga nidras are a great way to boost energy when we’re tired, they are best performed a few hours after a meal. The 8-16-32 breath technique is an excellent relaxation you can do after lunch or dinner, to recharge your batteries while at the same time aiding digestion and reducing bloating. Following a meal we want to focus on lying on the left side to help with the digestive process, so the longest part of this practice is spent on our left.

8-16-32 breath relaxation technique

  • Find a place where you can comfortably spread out and not be disturbed. Take your time and try to not rush the practice.
  • Start in Shavasana (corpse pose). Lie on your back, arms slightly away from the body, palms facing up. Legs hip width apart, feet flopped to the side. Relax the whole body. Close the eyes.
  • Take 8, deep, full abdominal breaths. Feel the belly rise on the in breath, feeling the belly sink as you exhale.
  • Roll onto your right side now, relaxing the whole body.
  • Take 16 abdominal breaths. Feel the belly rise on the in breath, feeling the belly sink as you exhale.
  • Roll onto your left side now, relaxing the whole body.
  • Take 32 abdominal breaths. Feel the belly rise on the in breath, feeling the belly sink as you exhale.
  • Gently and slowly raise yourself back to seated and take a few normal breaths in and out the nose.

I hope you can file this away in your Christmas survival toolbox and try it out on Christmas or Boxing Day! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas 🙂

If you have any questions feel free to contact me or have a chat after class.

Namaste
Felicity

Gingerbread Man Yoga image from HERE

Spring is in the air!

Even the weeds are blooming

Even the weeds are blooming

Spring is a time when the much anticipated returning warmth starts thawing out the ice and cold of winter in our environments.

Traditionally in Yoga (and its sister healing modality Ayurveda), spring is a time when we see these same effects in the body with accumulated “ice and cold” (we call this Kapha dosha) starting to liquefy and run out of the body, often leading to people getting spring colds. With an abundance of blooming spring flowers shedding their pollen, spring is also a time for hay fever and allergies to flair up too.

Here are some simple Yoga and Ayurveda based tips for navigating Spring!

  • Have light, easily digestible meals and try to avoid the larger, heavy meals we tend to favour in winter.
  • Even though the sun is teasing us with some stunning, warm days, in spring it is best to stay away from cold drinks and ice cream until summer is officially here.
  • Drink plenty of warming teas. Ginger and cinnamon is a delicious tea to try.
  • Do your best to keep warm and dry, avoiding cold drafts, damp environments and air conditioning if you can.
  • Increase your exercise gradually. Take advantage of the increasing daylight and try a quick walk in the morning or hop on your yoga mat for either some rounds of Sun Salutations at home or join us for a Satmya Yoga class and get the body moving for spring!
  • Use the uplifting spring energy to come out of winter hibernation and get stuck into some projects. Planting some herbs and veggies for summer, tackling some spring cleaning around the home, cleaning out your wardrobe or committing to regular, weekly exercise such as walks in nature or yoga so you can feel energised and healthy when summer arrives.

As a trained Yoga Therapist as well as a Yoga Teacher, I love using my knowledge of Yoga and Ayurveda to navigate the changing seasons and keep healthy. I hope these spring tips have been helpful.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me or have a chat after class.

Namaste
Felicity

 

Health benefits of winter yoga

We’ve hit the middle of winter and its a time of year we can enjoy hot soups and casseroles, snuggling up in a blanket to watch movies and spending lots of cosy time by the fire or heater staying warm. But winter can bring its fair share of gloom with less sun and warmth to energise us along with the usual colds, coughs, aching joints, dry skin and feeling lethargic.

Yoga can definitely be a powerful addition to your winter survival kit.

Fight the winter blues:
With less sunshine, shorter days and often cold, gloomy, grey weather, winter can have a significant effect on our mood and energy levels. While our natural instinct can be often be hiding away from the world, getting onto the yoga mat and moving the body can have a positive effect on mood. A Satmya Yoga class incorporates asana (phsycial postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and yoga nidra (relaxation) to get your body moving, energise you and calm the mind.

Keep moving, keep warm:
On cold nights it can be tempting to skip yoga class and stay home. But getting yourself to class and moving your body through asana (yoga poses) will get your circulation moving, increase body temperature and warm up cold hands and feet by increasing blood flow to these areas. Regular yoga during winter also reduces stiffness and joint pain which can often flair up during the colder weather.

Fighting winter bugs:
Winter doesn’t have to be a time of lowered immunity. Regular yoga practice helps to boost our body’s immune system and pranayama techniques can have a positive effect on clearing congested chests and sinuses. In particular, warming pranayama exercises can assist the body in fighting off winter viruses and infections or help us recover from a winter cold quickly.

Namaste
Felicity