Archives: IBD

Sunflowers of summer

Sunflowers of summer

This past weekend I took part in the education symposium for the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Along with my friend and colleague Barbara Harrison Klaynan we ran the pediatric portion of the event. Typically at this event there are loads of kids, but this year there were only 2. They happened to be the same age of 15 and it was really awesome. Even though only 2 kids showed up – I believe that we managed to make an impact. Barbara had some great drama therapy activities to play with the kids and I did a few yoga stretches and breathing exercises with them. One of the kids was just recently diagnosed with crohns and he seemed to not be in the greatest place when he first came into the room. By the end, he was talking and laughing with the other kid and I’d like to think that we created a safe space where both children knew that A) they weren’t alone with this disease and B) they could open up to us since we knew exactly what they were going through.

There really is something about ‘being in this together’ and not feeling like you’re completely alone. If you haven’t been to a CCFA event yet, get yourself to one. There are walks and races all around the country and it’s a fantastic place to meet people that are just like us. Colitis and crohns are ‘silent’ diseases since you can’t see them from the outside, and that’s why it’s even more important to stick together. Spread the word to those that you know and love that there are other people out there and we need to connect and stay together.

Knowledge and friendship is power.

Have you taken your energy shower today? I teach a corporate yoga class at Healthfirst, a health insurance company located in NYC. This week we split our hour together working 30 minutes on a meditation practice and 30 minutes doing chair yoga. In our chair yoga session we practiced some energy work to get the blood flowing, release any pent up stress in the muscles and to give them easy tools in their toolbox to use at their discretion. I came up with the ‘energy shower’ and it’s awesome! Here’s a little clip of what it looks like. Practice this exercise at any time of day. If one spot feels extra good then stay there and shower yourself. Soak up the energy, you need it, we all do! Here’s another interesting past post that I’ve written.

Things I Wish I Knew Thursday's

Things I Wish I Knew Thursday’s

Things I Wish I Knew Thursday’s: T.I.W.I.K.T

I wish I knew that eating gluten free isn’t as hard as everyone says it is.

If I had known that changing my diet wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, then maybe I would have done it sooner. I was diagnosed with Read more »

The following quotes are things I always say to clients, friends, family, students, etc!! Call them Shirisms if you like.

Restore 4b

Legs up the wall

Read more »

Peace

How do you know you’re in a flare up? Here are 5 signs that I know when I’m in a colitis flare. Read more »

photo (54)

Beautiful snow filled NYC trees

Last week was a stressful week for me and in my case that means my stomach gets off balance, which could potentially throw me into a colitis flare up. Yep, it sucks and it’s totally happening right now… Yuck!

Here’s what I’m NOT doing –

- Sitting around feeling sorry for myself

- Racking my brain trying to figure out exactly what threw me off

- Getting depressed

- Eating crap because I feel like crap

Here are the top 5 most important things that I AM doing for myself during this time:

1) Exercise. Get to the gym! if that’s not possible because you’re snowbound then do 100 jumping jacks right now to sweat and get your blood flowing. The worst thing you can do is sit or lie down all day.

- If you can get to the gym use that large ball in the stretching area to roll and stretch out your body – it also gives you an inversion, which is gentle, feels great and again gets the blood flowing. OR use the body foam roller and roll your whole body out. I’ll post pictures of both of these exercises in a future post – stay tuned.

2) Go to the steam room and sweat it out. I like steam especially in the winter  time since it’s so dry out. The steam brings moisture and helps open the pores – this is also another way to help you sweat.

3) Try a soft food cleanse. What does that mean? Any food that’s safe for a baby to eat is good for you to eat, ie: steamed or boiled golden beets, potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, yam, carrot, etc. Eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for one whole day. This will help your system take a break and allows the body to heal.

*** While in a flare up watch everything that you put into your mouth. You should be eating cooked foods that are warming and easy to digest. Foods that are slow cooked are usually a great option, ie: soups and stews in a crock-pot that don’t have many spices – keep it plain and simple for now.

4) Take it easy and relax. If you can get yourself to a restorative yoga class try it. If you’re in NYC here’s a restorative yoga class that I absolutely LOVE! Her name is Laura Wooton and it’s Tuesday’s at 8:15pm at Pure Yoga West. Get there.

5) Practice breathing exercises such as alternate nostril breathing, shown in this clip below:

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 5.36.00 PM

Click the photo to watch the video

BONUS) DE-STRESS! I’m not yelling here… I’m just trying to explain the urgency of this disease and if you don’t de-stress, let go, breathe, practice yoga, meditate, eat properly then there will be many negative consequences. Take care of yourself. When you feel it coming, (we all know the signs) then boost up your de-stressing techniques. Try this voice recording that I created below:

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 5.38.44 PM

Click the photo to listen to voice recording

I know you know how to take care of yourself – but when you’re in a flare, or period of stress, the body feels it in a bad way. You MUST balance it out. Try acupuncture, meditation, qi gong – anything to take you out of your stressed state. The whole idea here is to break the pattern – if you can do that, then you’re golden.

Listen to your body – it absolutely, 100% knows what you need – just open your ears and listen carefully.

Just because I’m feeling crappy this week doesn’t mean I get to complain about it. Instead I’m taking action and being proactive – that’s what you should be doing too!

Rock on!

SONY DSC

Recently I’ve been teaching meditation to many students all around NYC, Rockland and Bergen Counties and I love it! As much as my students all enjoy coming to class, when it comes to practicing on their own I continue to hear the same thing over and over again: no time or, I continuously forget to practice.

Meditation only works if you actually practice it – not just in class but on your own too. Meditation isn’t just about sitting on a cushion and watching your breath. Meditation is about being mindful and aware of your body, your surroundings and allowing yourself to be fully present. You can do this while taking a shower, walking down the street, sitting at your desk, etc.! I’ve found meditation to be extremely helpful when dealing with colitis, crohns, ibs & any other belly issues.

Here are some helpful tips to get you going:

1)   As soon as you wake up do some light stretching in bed such as, gentle twists, forward folds and maybe even a childs pose. Once you’ve gently moved the body then prop yourself up on some pillows so that you can sit cross legged comfortably. Practice meditation for a minimum of 5 minutes. There’s no excuse not to practice this one since it’s in bed!

2)   When you’re on the go I suggest downloading some kirtan music to listen to. Kirtan is a form of bhakti yoga, which is the yoga of love, song and devotion. There are many soothing artists you can listen to that can help get you in a meditative zone. Here are a few that I love:

Snatam Kaur

Krishna Das

David Newman

Deva Premal

Jai Uttal

Donna De Lory

Girish

Karunesh

Ravi Shankar

3)   If you’re having a hard time scheduling meditation into your life then just like you would do with any other appointment – put it on your calendar.

4)   Set your alarm to wake up 10 minutes earlier so that you can have sufficient amount of time to breathe, meditate and move gently.I know that if you adapt at least one of these tips you will already be well on your way to cultivating a life long meditation practice. Meditation has the ability to change your life forever – so let’s go, get in on it. Everyone can do it, there’s no excuse.

Good luck & let me know how it goes.

With lots of love & support,

Shira

logo copy

The start of the New Year brings lots of exciting classes and workshops for me and my yoga community. I want to share a few with you.

I am now teaching a new class in Sparkill, NY in Rockland County, which is very close to Piermont, Nyack, Northvale, Tappan & Orangeburg. The class is at Union Arts Center on Monday’s from 9am-10:15am. Open to all levels and is $15. I’d love to see you there!

I’m also holding 2 workshops at Union Arts Center in Sparkill:

Learn To Meditate with Shira Turkl-Rubin: February 3rd 7:30pm-9pm $15

Workshop write up:

You may have heard all types of buzz about meditation but you still don’t understand it. There are many misconceptions about what meditation actually is. In this class we will deconstruct meditation so that you can grasp exactly what it is and how to practice it on your own. Learn the essentials to help create a more peaceful and serene way of life. If practiced on a daily basis meditation can change your life. You’ll learn about mantra, mudra, japa, visualization, body scan and more!

I’ve taught many beginners how to cultivate their own home meditation practice. I’m passionate about allowing the body to naturally heal itself and have found meditation to be absolutely essential when working with my own health ailments. Join me for this 90-minute intro to meditation and leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to take on your own practice!

Workshop #2 –

Valentines Day Partner Workshop/Wine & Chocolate Tasting

February 14th 7pm-9pm $25 at Union Arts Center in Sparkill, NY

Workshop write up:

This Valentines Day stretch your body, mind and soul in this partner yoga class. Bring your spouse, friend or partner to learn the ins and outs of practicing together. We’ll stretch, massage, meditate, breathe, drink, eat and be merry. Even if you’ve never stepped foot on a yoga mat before, now’s your chance to lose the intimidation and practice with your honey, friend or partner of choice. This class will be FUN. Get ready to play, laugh and most importantly have a great time. Join us afterwards for some wine and chocolates to start your evening off the right way.

I hope to see you on the mat in one of my classes or workshops! Please contact me to sign up.

Ready to roll!

Ready to roll!

Yesterday was my colonoscopy test that I typically get every 2-3 years. No, I’m not a 50 year old – however I do have ulcerative colitis and in that case I have to get checked out more often then the typical 28 year old.

How did it go? Well…. It was pretty shitty… KIDDING! It was actually fine. I mean it’s pretty uncomfortable and not fun at all BUT the results were that nothing has changed, gotten worse or better – which in my eyes is great news. I always hope that it’s gotten smaller and that one-day it will completely vanish, but not this year. Maybe in the next 3 years I’ll have accomplished that – I’m focusing on the glass half full here. I’m healthy, I feel good and that’s what matters.

Having the test done gives me some serious peace of mind. Instead of stressing about whether it’s gotten worse or if I have something more serious etc… it feels great to know that all is still good down there and I can continue down my path to health. I suggest knowing opposed to not knowing. Get your tests done, go to the Doctor and find out what’s going on. After you know what’s happening, then you can work on alternative ways to help yourself heal. When we release the anxiety about what’s going on in our bodies it’s pretty magical – a weight lifts, you feel free. Take it from me!

Flowers over fear.

 

il_340x270.276941722

This quote keeps popping into my head out of nowhere…

photo (45)

My vision board. Notice the words, colors and photos. This = ME!

The power of words… it’s almost indescribable. I was at a workshop this past week for people who want to start a yoga studio. This is what I thought my path was at this moment in time. After sitting with myself and listening to the very inspirational words of wisdom and advice from Joan Dwyer and Janis Bowersox I’ve changed my current path. We spoke about strengths, vision boards, mission statements, visions, numbers (oh the numbers…!!) and much, much more. I’ve realized that since moving to Rockland county, I need to work on cultivating and creating my yoga community here. I need to dive into giving incredible workshops, teaching more and spreading my healing love to Rockland County and beyond. Then maybe, once I’ve done all of that, which may take me quite some time, I might possibly be ready to open a yoga studio. I realize that for me – baby steps, community and feeling ready is really important. I do commend all of you who dive into things head first, but for me I think the process of cultivating myself and branding myself as a yoga teacher is a really important step that I can’t skip over.

With that being said: in the near future you’ll be hearing about fun workshops that I’ll be teaching, retreats that I’ll be holding and new classes on my schedule. If you’re ready to find your true self, let go of disease, live healthfully, naturally and with peace – then look for my posts! I want you to be there! I can’t create community on my own – and I’m really looking forward to meeting all of the incredible yogis and yogis to be in Rockland County, Bergen County and maybe even Westchester County. Stay tuned for awesomeness coming your way.

By the way, I just created a Pinterest and it’s SO MUCH FUN! It’s like digital collaging. Find me, follow me and I’ll follow you back!

Find out more about Joan Dwyer HERE

Find out more about Janis Bowersox HERE