Dr. Laura: Is your thyroid to blame?

One in eight women will develop thyroid disease in her lifetime and 15 Million women have a dysfunction, but don’t even know it. Men can have issues too, although at a less rate than women.

Environmental toxins are largely to blame for the rising rates of thyroid disease. Years ago, it was mostly iodine deficiency and this is why iodine was added to salt. Now we point the finger more often at the rising rates of hormone mimickers in our environment like BPA’s and their alternatives in plastics, cadmium, circadian light disrupters, pesticides, herbicides and more.

Untreated thyroid dysfunction can lead to feelings of:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Brain fog, difficulty focusing thoughts
  • Unexpected weight gain, and with it increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
  • High LDL cholesterol – the thyroid plays an important role in fat metabolism
  • Depression – as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the root cause of their depression –but their problem hasn’t been fully investigated. When I check thyroid I check more than the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).  I look sub functioning gland by checkin TSH, T3, T4, thyroid antibodies and look for how well cortisol is clearing on the DUTCH hormone test.
  • Anxiety – often because cortisol is not clearing
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of this hormone has on heart rate and rhythm.

Troubles in the digestive track and liver can lead to poor activation of the T4 to T3 hormones. When I work with patients I am always looking for clues in the skin, stress, and sleep and how well the micro biome functions. A good clue to micro biome function is the Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Doctors Data.

If you suspect you may have a thyroid issue, get it tested!  I’ll look at results from a functional medicine perspective, which mean optimal performance, not disease levels of lab markers.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Phil Shares: The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies
 

Everywhere you turn, there are bowls of Halloween candy that are full of spooky ingredients like sugar, fat, chocolate, soy lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleate, sodium metabisulfate, resinous glaze, and carnauba wax — yum!

OK, let’s be honest — a list of sketchy ingredients isn’t going to stop anyone from hoovering a handful of [insert favorite Halloween candy here]. We’re not here to rain on your candy parade; you can still enjoy the scary good sweet stuff — if you eat them in moderation and if you know which ones you really should avoid (or eat less of).

Use this guide to tally up your sugary treats and don’t let the “fun-size” options fool you: They may be smaller, but the calories, fat, and sugar content still pack a significant punch.

For reference, when it comes to added sugars, the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) for women and kids aged 2 to 18, and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Per day.

 

The Worst Chocolate Halloween Candies

Whether they’re stuffed with caramel, nuts or coating delicious crispy wafers, chocolate candies are hard to resist. Chocolate taps into our deep-seated love for both sweets and fats. Sadly, it’s not the good kind of fat since most chocolate candies are made with partially hydrogenated fat or palm oil. Beware of these top 10 offenders:

1. Whoppers (1 tube): calories 32, fat 1.2 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm oil, whey (milk), cocoa; malted milk (barley malt; wheat flour; milk; salt; sodium bicarbonate), resinous glaze, sorbitan tristearate, lecithin, salt, natural & artificial flavors, calcium carbonate, tapioca dextrin.

2. Milky Way (1 mini-bar): calories 38, fat 1.6 g, sugar 1 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, chocolate, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, skim milk, less than 2 percent milkfat, cocoa powder processed w/alkali, malted barley, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

3. M&Ms (1 fun-size pack): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, sugar, cornstarch, less than 1 percent: corn syrup, dextrin, coloring (includes blue 1 lake, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2), gum acacia.

4. Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme (1 mini bar): calories 67, fat 4 g, sugar 1.6 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, vegetable oil, nonfat milk, corn syrup solids, enriched wheat flour, lactose, 2 percent or less of cocoa, whey high fructose corn syrup, chocolate, lecithin, baking soda, salt, natural flavor and artificial flavor, tocopherols, PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a compound that reduces viscosity).

5. Kit Kat (1 fun size bar): calories 70, fat 3.7 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, wheat flour, nonfat milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, palm kernel oil, lactose, milk fat, contains 2 percent or less of: soy lecithin, PGPR, yeast, vanillin, artificial flavor, salt, sodium bicarbonate.

6. Snickers (1 fun size bar): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, milkfat, skim milk, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

7. Twix (1 cookie): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (cocoa butter, chocolate, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, PGPR, artificial flavors), sugar, enriched wheat flour, palm oil, corn syrup, skim milk, dextrose, less than 2 percent of food starch-modified, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, soy lecithin, artificial flavor.

8. Almond Joy (1 snack size): calories 80, fat 4.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: corn syrup, milk chocolate, coconut, sugar, almonds, 2 percent or less of vegetable oil, cocoa, whey, salt, hydrolyzed milk protein, lecithin, sodium metabisulfite.

9. Butterfingers (1 fun-size bar): calories 85, fat 3.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, ground roasted peanuts, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, molasses, and less than 1 percent of dairy product solids, confectioner’s corn flakes, nonfat milk, salt, soy lecithin, soybean oil, cornstarch, natural flavors, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone, a preservative) and citric acid (to preserve freshness), annatto color.

10. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (1 cup): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ.

 

The Worst Straight Sugar Halloween Candies

Straight sugar candies are mostly made with sugar, sugar, and more sugar, and dressed up with artificial flavors and dyes. These types of candy provide a quick sugar rush since they’re uninhibited by fat or protein, which can slow down their digestion.

11. Smarties (1 roll): calories 25, sugar 1.5 tsp
Ingredients: Dextrose, citric acid, calcium stearate, natural and artificial flavor, color (red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, blue 2 lake).

12. WarHeads Extreme Sour Hard Candy (4 pieces): calories 50, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup sugar, microencapsulated malic acid (malic acid, hydrogenated palm oil), citric acid, gum acacia, deproteinized soybean oil, ascorbic acid, artificial flavors, carnauba wax, corn starch, blue 1, red 40, yellow 5.

13. Sour Patch Kids (1 treat-size bag): calories 55, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, invert sugar, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, tartaric acid, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1.

14. Airheads (1 bar): calories 60, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, modified food starch (corn), partially hydrogenated soybean oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, water, artificial flavors, artificial colors, red 40, blue 1, yellow 6, yellow 5.

15. Apple Pops (1 pop): calories 60, sugar 2.5 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, skim milk, heavy cream, malic acid, whey, salt, artificial flavors, sodium caseinate, soy lecithin, artificial color (includes FD&C blue 1, FD&C red 40), turmeric coloring.

16. Skittles (1 small pack): calories 67, sugar 3 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, natural & artificial flavors, colors (red 40 lake, titanium dioxide, red 40, yellow 5 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6 lake, yellow 6, blue 2 lake, blue 1, sodium citrate, carnauba wax.

17. Candy corn (19 pieces): calories 140, sugar 7 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze (shellac), salt, dextrose, gelatin, sesame oil, artificial flavor, honey, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 3.

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Laura: Gluten and the Brain

 You don’t have to be celiac to be affected by gluten. In fact there are 6 fold more people negatively affected by gluten than those diagnosed with celiac disease.

How Does Gluten Affect the Brain?

Gluten consumption has been linked to inflammation and damage not only in the gastrointestinal tract, but also in the brain.
Gluten has been linked to ADHD, schizophrenia, autism, anxiety, depression, ataxia (gait or walking disturbances), brain fog, bi-polar disorder, multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optics, myelitis and neurodegenerative diseases.
The tests regularly done to diagnose Celiac are blood tests for tissue transglutaminase and anti-gliadin antibodies. Sometimes these tests are not enough to tell if you are sensitive to gluten. This is because they are markers that will show positive only when the brush border of the intestinal track is completely damaged, as it is in full on Celiac disease. But what if you are on the spectrum of Celiac – your brush border is not completely damaged?

GUT, Brain, Anything Else?

In order to find out if you have gluten or wheat related tissue injury, ask Dr. Laura about a CyrexArray3 test. It will help you understand if gluten affects your brain, your skin, your organs or your gut.
 
Below is a link to an article my friend Chris presents. It’s really well done. Also is another article I found on multiple sclerosis and gluten: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305696407_Serological_prevalence_of_celiac_disease_in_Brazilian_population_of_multiple_sclerosis_neuromyelitis_optica_and_myelitis.
You may click on the link or copy and paste in your browser:

Is Gluten Killing Your Brain?

Dr. Laura’s Rosemary Nut Recipe

Rosemary Nuts

1 pound raw unsalted nuts of your choice

(I love an assortment of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pecans)

2 tablespoons butter OR coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

½ tsp Himalayan sea salt

One serving is about 1/4 cup.

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl (set the baking sheet aside). ( Note! in our oven only took 6 min and be sure to place on lower level rack and watch closely.)
  3. Mix the melted butter or coconut oil with the rosemary, and salt, optional to add a little maple syrup, pour it over the warm nuts, and toss with a wooden spoon. Spread the nuts back on the baking sheet and let them cool on the counter for 30 minutes, or until all elements have solidified and cooled. Serve at room temperature. (They’re not as good if you try to eat them while they’re still warm.)

Nuts are a good source of magnesium, healthy fats and protein. Magnesium is critical in relaxing muscles, regulating the HPA axis and in many other metabolic transactions in the body. Brazil nuts are a source of selenium, important for thyroid health. Almonds are a source of vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, important in a healthy gastrointestinal tract, immune function, thyroid health and sperm production. Rosemary helps the liver’s detoxification process. Olive oil is a healthy fat important in cardiovascular health. Coconut oil is high in caprylic acid and helps regulate healthy intestinal flora. Sea salt is a good source of minerals.

From the kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown,  ND.

Picture from www.kitchenparade.com

Are you ready for an Emotional rEvolution?

Resolving to have more clarity of thought, speech and emotional composure?

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND, a Certified HeartMath Practitioner,

provides a 5 week stress reduction program that will revolutionize the way you experience life.

“Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a simple phenomenon that has been known for many years. I find it so fascinating that every emotion has a signature heart rate variability. The very fact that we can learn to shift this with focus and practice is so very powerful.  Through a series of step-by-step layered techniques, any one can learn how to engage and increase their HRV.  I loved this so much I became a HeartMath Certified Practitioner so that I can now teach others the techniques.” – Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Imagine being able to turn a bad day around or recover more quickly from an aggravating piece of news or a heated discussion. 

Breakthrough research has found that we can intentionally change our emotional state to find inner balance, and a feeling of ease which increases our resilience and allows us to bounce back more quickly from daily stressors.

The emotional state of inner balance is marked by a smooth heart rhythm pattern, called a coherent waveform.

5 weeks and you will learn:

  • how to retain calmness even in the most difficult times
  •  the power to self-direct and manage response and behaviour
  • how move away from negative and destructive attitudes and behaviours
  • how to move towards more positive and regenerative emotions
  • what heart rate variability is and how it relates to modern diseases
  • how to build and maintain loving relationships
  • HeartMath techniques for achieving optimal performance at home, work & sport
Here is what some folks in the top schools and business have to say: 
 

The [HeartMath] program has been tremendously helpful to me. … creating what I believe will be lifelong changes in how I respond to stressful situations. I am already experiencing better sleep, fewer frustrations at work, and a greater reservoir of patience and appreciation for the present moment. – Freya A. Sommer, Stanford University

 

… it is great learning how to deal with my stress and reduce it to be more productive. I use it every night and I am sleeping great. ..I am very impressed with this program and I would recommend it to anyone. –Margaret Lawrence, Team Lead, Travelocity Business

 

“It’s becoming clear that emotions are the primary drivers of activity in the body’s major systems, including the autonomic nervous and hormonal systems.”
~ HeartMath Institute Director of Research Dr. Rollin McCraty

No extra equipment required. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND will use the in-clinic emWave pro to monitor your physiological changes and provide live bio-feedback to monitor your progress.

Curious?

Watch a YouTube on The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence: A path to personal, social and global coherence

I want to get started! 

(Book initial appointment if new to Dr. Laura or a follow up if you are an existing patient)

 

Spiritual Side of Heart Health

Heart Stores the Spirit

The Heart stores the Spirit. When the heart and the spirit are in harmony, one sleeps well, speaks kindly with compassion and their intentions and actions are shared, as the moment is right. This is so true. When I work with people to gain more resiliency or heart coherence, other things start to naturally fall into place in their life.

Anxiety is a wrinkle between the spirit and the heart

If you are feeling anxious, have troubles sleeping or can’t seem to get your timing right, then your heart and spirit are out of sync. You see, when the heart does not get enough Yin or Blood, it lacks substance and then it cannot anchor the spirit, causing the mind to wander. Countless times I have witnessed when patients restore their spiritual connection, whether that is inviting the Holy Spirit into their souls, getting outside more in nature, or bringing themselves closer to God in relationship, their anxiety dials down a notch or two. Usually I get a big hug too, which is all confirming of their gratitude and joy.

Even and Regular Pulse

The Heart is also regulates the flow of blood, and when the Heart Qi and Blood are abundant and flowing, the pulse will be even and regular. The majority of Heart problems are a result of imbalance in other systems. This is because the Heart relies on other organs for its nourishment and energy. Treating other organs to reduce heat and nourish Yin are also ways of ultimately supporting the smooth flow of Qi and Blood to the Heart.

You may trace the acupuncture heart meridian by starting at your axilla (arm pit) and travel down along the inner aspect of your bicep, across the inside of your elbow, and go along your inner forearm toward and off the inside of your pinky finger.

 

By treating the heart channel with acupuncture, your mind will calm (reduce sadness fear, anxiety, mental restlessness), your heat will clear (treat dry mouth, red eyes), and you will feel invigorated as we tonify Heart Qi and stimulate Heart Blood.

Another tool I use in clinic is a HeartMath monitor. With this we can see how thoughts can change the rhythm of your heart rate. We can also see how regulating the breath while going into a pleasant memory can bring the mind and the body into complete balance. This is something, which over a period of sessions and practice at home, can help you learn to bring yourself into a calm, peaceful state without any drugs or supplements.

Sometimes to help stimulate the body’s own innate mechanisms to heal I will prescribe a botanical short term to help calm the mind and nourish the Yin. This can help while the acupuncture is doing its thing and you are learning how to balance your energies with your breath and your thoughts. Nourishment in the diet can also help build Blood and strengthen the Heart.

So if you are feeling anxious, have troubles sleeping or can’t seem to get your timing right, maybe it is time to come in for an alignment of a different sort – one that has the love and care for your heart and spirit.

From the heart and mind of your local Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Phil Shares: Why Naps Are Good For Us

RedditPrinter Friendly

6 Reasons Why You Need to Take a Nap

Take a moment to ponder the following question (after you stop ROFL, of course): When was the last time you got seven to nine hours of good, deep sleep?

Now, ask yourself this: When was the last time you took a nap? You know, that amazing thing we used to do as children every single day?

Guilt. Shame. Peer pressure. These are just some of the reasons adults ignore their bodies’ plea for nap time and push through the day with caffeine and sheer force of will.

The thing is, a slew of scientific evidence suggests that if we could get past our societal hang-ups about napping and make it a part of our daily routine, a cornucopia of benefits may await us. And of course, we realize that depending on where you work, office naps are generally frowned upon, but hey — this may help you make the case for turning the break room into a nap room.

Read on for six of the most game-changing consequences of snooze your body can use.

1. Napping Is Better Than Coffee
When you hit the afternoon slump, you make a beeline for the coffeemaker, thinking that a jolt of caffeine will give you a much-needed boost.

But according to a 2008 study, you’d be better off finding a quiet spot and putting your head down. The study compared the effectiveness of a nap with caffeine in three areas: the improvement of declarative verbal memory, procedural motor skills, and perceptual learning. Researchers found that naps enhanced the recall of words compared to the placebo and caffeine groups, while caffeine actually impaired motor learning when compared to getting a short snooze in.

2. Napping May Help You Lose Weight
Here’s another reason why some choice shut eye may be a better option than a strategic cup of joe and it has to with something called cortisol.

Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and we produce it naturally when life is throwing you curveballs. Repeatedly. Drinking coffee can create an excess of cortisol to speed around your body. That’s less than ideal for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that extra cortisol may lead to increased glucose intolerance, which plays a role in packing on pounds.

In addition to a nice nap being better at boosting cognitive performance than coffee, a 2007 study suggests that napping does the opposite of coffee and actually decreases the amount of fat-storing cortisol in the body.

3. Napping Can Help Reduce Mindless Food Cravings
The next time you get less than your normal amount of shuteye, keep tabs on how much you eat the following day. If it’s more than usual, the culprit could be an imbalance of the “hunger hormones” ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin triggers appetite while leptin signals that your body has a sufficient amount of food energy to work with.

A Stanford study suggets that lack of sleep can lead ghrelin to increase and leptin to decrease — ideal conditions for overeating and over time, weight gain. A solid 20 to 30-minute nap can help to restore a balance of ghrelin and leptin, resulting in fewer zombie-like trudges to the fridge.

4. Napping Is Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
For “optimal health,” the American Academy of Sleep Science and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults get at least seven hours or more of sleep a night. Every night. Not just the weekends. A 2016 CDC study showed that 1 in 3 American adults aren’t getting their seven or more hours of sleep in. And the consequences aren’t limited to an afternoon slump and habitual yawning: A 2006 study by the Institute of Medicine called sleep deprivation among Americans an “unmet public health problem,” linking the chronic lack of sleep to a “deleterious health consequences.”

5. Napping Can Reduce Stress
Researchers at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny College investigated whether or not a 45 to 60-minute nap in the middle of the day can help the cardiovascular system recover in the wake of stressful events. They subjected nappers and non-nappers to psychological stress and found that while both groups’ pulse rates and blood pressure rose during the stimulus, the nappers’ blood pressure was significantly lower in the recovery phase. So, if you know you have a stressful week ahead, pencil in some nap time to give your brain a rest.

via GIPHY

6. Cat Naps Count, Too
By now, you may be persuaded that there’s a lot to be gained from a nap. But the fact remains that most people don’t have the time or opportunity to fit in a 20 to 30-minute snooze in the middle of the day. Well, it turns out all you need to do is follow the example set by our feline friends: A 2008 study showed that even a mere six minutes of shut-eye is enough to enhance your memory.

So, grab a pillow, find a quiet corner/chair/couch/bed and dream about all the ways you’ll benefit from a few more zzzzs

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks To Beachbody.com for sharing

Relax Pack: 5 Week Stress Reduction Program

More Skills, Less Pills

Sometimes the brain can grow comfortable with common emotional experiences, even if they are stressful or negative. There is a dynamic interaction among the brain, the heart, nervous system, hormones, and yes, also our emotions. In order to shift our experience to a more positive state, we need to replace old unhealthy patterns with new healthier ones.

This is why Dr. Laura is introducing this new series for positive health change.

Relax Pack – 5 Week Program to Reduce Stress:

Useful for athletes, artists and professionals  to get “in the flow”; helpful for students to increase focus and concentration and acts as a tool for those struggling with anxiety, depression and emotional regulation.

A value of over $400 is offered to you for $250. If you or your spouse or parent has employee benefits, naturopathic services may be covered under your plan. Check it out! Rates are valid from September through December, 2016. Details below.

Shift your physiology from stress & anxiety to calm + energy.

calmenergy

Details : Relax Pack – 5 Week Program to Reduce Stress

  1.  Start with a full one hour naturopathic intake ($160): There are forms to fill out in advance to help make our time together more effective. This will provide a global perspective on your health history, your family medical history, a record of your existing supplements and medications, collection of physical symptoms of pain, fatigue, stress, review of any recent laboratory or imaging, and what you may have tried in the past that has worked or not worked so well. In this intake, we will take a heart rate variability base line measurement. If you are an existing patient with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND then you have already met step 1.

 

  1. Weekly 15 minute sessions for 4 weeks. Over the course of the four weeks, we will train your brain and your heart to intentionally stimulate a positive emotional shift.  Progressive coherence techniques will be shared to help you learn how to make more conscious choices. Additionally, in each session resources and personal practice guidance will be made available to you on the three pillars of diet, sleep and exercise. Biofeedback using the HeartMath Emwave Pro device will help track and monitor your individual progress. Heart rate variability is a key measurement of health.  Each session cost of $22.50 ( value of 4 x $45=$180 ).  

Sessions must be completed within a 2 month time frame from initial appointment for the special rate to apply. (I recognize that weekly appointments are not always feasible). This helps to ensure frequent interactions for optimal skill acquisition.

  1. During these 4 sessions, either a 50mL tincture or two homeopathic pouches individually prescribed, will be made available to you. (Value of $10)

For a limited time, this all will be available for $250. Pay as you go.

At any time, during or after the initial program, additional 15minute sessions available at $45 or 30 minute sessions are available at $75 each.

When you call to book your appointment (519) 826-7973 you are provided with the necessary intake forms for your first appointment.

Dr. Phil Shares: 5 Standing Poses for Core Strength

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength

Believe it or not, the health and fitness industry is beginning to recognize yoga as much more than just an esoteric set of stretches. In fact, yoga is now considered one of the best ways to get strong while also increasing flexibility. A solid yoga practice will address every muscle group, but two of the benefits of yoga are the improvement of core strength and stability.

Living a pain-free, active lifestyle starts from our center. The core is not just the abdominals — the “six pack” — instead, it is a complex weave of muscles that connect the upper and lower body.

When people think about getting a strong midsection, often times they imagine lying on their back and doing crunches, bicycles, leg lifts, etc. Those help strengthen the core, but the cool thing about standing core-strength poses is they not only strengthen the core, they also strengthen the lower body. In doing so, they create a synergy between the core and lower body that is much more functional than exercises that isolate just one area of the body (like crunches).

Here are five standing yoga poses that will help build core strength:

1) Half Forward Fold

Although this pose is often overlooked as a strength builder in yoga, it is one of the most important. While folded over reaching for your toes, you’re not just hanging there like a rag doll — you are attempting to take the hunch out of your back using your abdominals. Place your fingertips on the floor directly underneath your shoulders or press your hands into your shins and try to imagine the entire length of your spine extending out as you flatten your back. Don’t forget to breathe deeply while you stretch!

For this pose, many yoga teachers will say things like “flatten your back” or “come to your fingertips and glance forward,” but those are simply tools to help guide you to the main purpose of the pose — to lengthen your spine.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Half Forward Fold

2) Triangle

This classic yoga pose is a great way to strengthen your sides. The obliques are an important muscle group that wrap along the sides of your waist and help provide torso stability. Be sure to use your legs to support most of the body weight in this pose. The bottom arm should be light on your front leg or on the ground so the obliques and quadratus lumborum (another important postural muscle group located on both sides of the spine) can grow stronger.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Triangle

3) Chair

The ultimate back strengthening pose. I love chair pose because it awakens the muscles supporting the spinal column and helps to get that backside strong! A six-pack by itself isn’t healthy unless the buttocks muscles are just as strong. This pose is also a great way to strengthen the legs. Just make sure not to strain your neck as you reach up and lengthen the spine.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Chair

4) Warrior 3

This pose takes more than just good balance. Balancing on one leg demands core engagement. While in this pose, it is of utmost importance to lengthen the spine and core muscles are critical to this. It’s good to remember that in this pose, you shouldn’t completely lock the standing leg and you should keep your lower abdomen drawn and up to support the lower back.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Warrior 3

5) Twisting Half Moon

This pose has many of the same setup as Warrior 3 but adds a twist that engages the deeper abdominal muscles. This spinal twist fires up all the muscles in the core.

That said, this is an intermediate-level pose and it is helpful for many people to put a block on the ground next to your front foot. With your hand on the block, take a deep breath and elongate the spine, then slowly twist, reaching your top hand toward the ceiling.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Twisting Half Moon

If you are new to yoga, check out Beachbody’s yoga program, 3 Week Yoga Retreat, where I, along with three other yoga experts, will guide you through the foundations of yoga.

Flush Out Fatigue

Fatigue?

Chronic Fatigue?

Fibromyalgia?

 

fatigue
Feeling Run Down with Fatigue?

 

Do you know there is a spectrum of root causes of fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia?

Are you aware of the classic deep central pain processing that affects the brain’s pattern for dealing with sensory information?

Did you know that the mood, digestive and sleep issues that can go along with fatigue may be keys to resolving your issue?

Learn how to flush out fatigue and optimize the body’s energy producing capacity in this free session at Goodness Me! in Guelph on Thursday September 22, 2016 with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.