Scentual Flow Workshop at Yoyo Yogi

I am happy to announce a soothing, soulful workshop at Yoyo Yogi on Sunday, February 23rd from 2:30-4:30p!

Join me on a Sunday afternoon for a healing workshop to capture your senses and soothe your soul.
Start with a strong total body flow that will revitalize, restore, and balance your body.
Then, surrender into an extended massage savasana, a gift from our own massage therapists, Krista Radetich and Ashley Hensel.
Throughout the practice, bask in aromatherapy as I treat you with essential oils, teas, and mists to awaken your healing power within.
A scentual experience you don’t want to miss!

**Sign up online at Yoyo Yogi or call the studio at 503.688.5120
Email me for questions! 

New Schedule for Winter 2014

Here is my Winter Schedule:

9:30a Weekday Warrior at Yoyo Yogi * $9 drop in
12p Yoga at 24 Hour Fitness-Pearl
4:30p yOMazing Flow at Yoyo Yogi *$9 drop in

9a: Bodypump at 24 Hour Fitness-Pearl
4:30p Pilates & Yoga Fusion at OHSU March Wellness
5:30p Power Vinyasa at OHSU March Wellness

9a Hatha Yoga at OHSU March Wellness
12p Bodypump & Cx Worx at 24 Hour Fitness-Pearl

12:15p Bootcamp at OHSU March Wellness

8a Hot Detox Flow at Yoyo Yogi
6p Weekend Warrior at Yoyo Yogi (75 minutes)

My Fall Schedule

Happy Fall! I cannot believe that the summer has flown by and now I am staring at leaves falling off trees and quiet rain. I am delighted to be teaching more and enjoying more down time in my life. My classes have yet changed again. Here is my new fall schedule!
Mondays: 9a Chiseled at Yoyo Yogi//12p Yoga at 24 Hour Fitness (Pearl)//4:30p yOMazing Flow at Yoyo Yogi//6:30p Yoga at 24 Hour Fitness (Downtown)
Tuesdays: 9a Bodypump at 24 Hour Fitness (Pearl)//4:30p Pilates + at March Wellness//5:30p Power Vinyasa at March Wellness
Wednesdays: 12:30p Chiseled at Yoyo Yogi
Thursdays: 12p Bodypump and 12:30p CxWorx at 24 Hour Fitness-Pearl
Fridays: 12:15p Bootcamp at March Wellness
Saturdays: 6p Weekend Warrior at Yoyo Yogi

So many fun, new classes. Email me if you have questions! I would love to see you in class!

I am back!

After many life changes such as a career change, getting married..I am back to my blog and more teaching. It has been a whirlwind of changes and a time of taking a deep breath and asking "What next?". I have come to the answer that for now it is to pursue my passion of teaching and that is where I shall start. I hope to connect with many of you again. My new last name is Case and so you may be wondering who Jill Case is?!
Here is where I teach weekly:
Mondays 12p Yoga at 24 Hour Fitness in the Pearl
Mondays at 7p Vinyasa Yoga 2/3 at The Bhaktishop in SE Portland
Wednesdays at 6:15a Vinyasa 2 at The Bhaktishop
Thursdays 12p Bodypump and CxWorx at 24 Hour Fitness in the Pearl

Here is where I will be subbing in the next few weeks:

Wednesdays at 12p Yoyo Flow at Yoyo Yogi (5/29, 6/5, 6/12)
Thursdays at 5p Detox Flow at Yoyo Yogi (5/30 & 6/6)
Tuesday 6/4 Yoga at 4p at 24 Hour Fitness in the Pearl
Sunday 6/9 11a Yoga at 24 Hour Fitness in the Pearl

Both the Bhaktishop and Yoyo Yogi offer drop ins and new student trial packages.
I hope to see you! More to come....

For Equilibrium

This is what I read in Yoga a couple Sundays ago..

By John O'Donohue from "To Bless the Space Between Us"

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the depths the laughter of God.

Migraines: Sometimes What Doesn’t Kill You

By Dr. Peter Borten, LAc, DAOM, Acupuncturist and Herbalist at The Dragontree Spa and Creator of Imbue Pain Relief Patch

I was working an office job about 20 years ago with a nice guy about ten years my senior. We were getting to be friends, and this helped break up the dreary routine of the place. Then he started missing work. A day here and a day there, at first. Then a few days at a time. Then he was absent more days than he showed up. I assumed something was wrong, but I didn’t want to pry. Finally, he told me he had been having severe migraine headaches. They were so crippling, he was considering quitting his job. This was just before I started school in Chinese medicine. I didn’t have anything useful to tell him. I just remember feeling bad for him, and being surprised to find out that migraines could be that bad.
I wish I knew then what I know now. My attitude toward migraines has changed quite a lot. Nearly every case is completely treatable with natural medicine. In this article, I’m going to share a handful of key approaches that can make a huge difference. Here they are:
  1. Acupuncture. I’d estimate I can control 80% of migraine cases with acupuncture alone. Other acupuncturists may fare better or worse than that. Ask if this is an area of focus for your acupuncturist. If not, you might consider someone else.
  2. Massage. Get regular deep tissue massages. Have them focus on the base of your skull, the front, sides, and back of your neck, and especially the upper back, between your spine and shoulder blades. Between massages, or instead, get a lacrosse ball, lie on your back on a carpeted floor with bent knees, and place the ball under you, against the inside edge of your shoulder blade. Find every tender spot, put the ball there, relax for about 2 minutes, then go to the next one.
  3. Hydrate. Drink half the number of pounds you weigh as ounces of water each day, evenly over the course of the day. (For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water a day.)
  4. Avoid Caffeine. Even though caffeine is an ingredient in some headache medications (because it constricts the blood vessels in the head), it is a known trigger of migraines. Many migraine cases improve when caffeine is cut out.
  5. Figure Out What Foods You’re Sensitive to, and Avoid Them. The only reliable way to figure out your food sensitivities is by doing an elimination diet (ask a natural healthcare provider knowledgeable in this area for guidance) and then systematically reintroducing foods, one at a time, to see what your reaction is. It’s a good idea to reintroduce foods at least 2 days apart, since the migraine may be delayed by a day. Figuring out your sensitivities and eliminating those foods is often a total cure for migraines. It’s worth the work.
  6. Clean Up Your Diet. Cut out processed foods and eat more live, fresh, healthy, chemical-free foods, prepared by you or someone with a good heart.
  7. Avoid Getting Hypoglycemic. Many migraines are triggered by a drop in blood sugar. This is common a few hours after eating a meal with lots of simple carbs or sugar. In some folks, the blood sugar goes way up and then comes crashing down, in what is known as “reactive hypoglycemia.” Besides potentially triggering migraines, reactive hypoglycemia can be an early precursor to diabetes, so there are multiple reasons to get this under control. Each protein with every meal, and eliminate juice and sweets.
  8. Avoid Aspartame (Nutrasweet). Some migraines are triggered by this toxic stuff. Avoid it even if it doesn’t give you migraines.
  9. Reduce Your Stress Level. Exercise, breathe, do yoga, have fun, get counseling, take breaks, get acupuncture and massage . . . just do whatever you have to do to reduce the impact of your stress.
  10. Avoid MSG. While not a trigger for all migraine sufferers, many people have fewer headaches when they cut MSG out of their diets. Anyway, it’s not good for anyone, so it’s worth avoiding.
  11. Try Magnesium. Many migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium. Try taking 600mg (you can gradually go up to 1000mg) in divided doses over the course of each day. (Watch out for bowel loosening. If it gives you loose bowels, reduce the dose or spread it out more evenly over the course of the day.)
  12. Try Direct Pressure on Your Head. One study had participants with migraines wrap an elastic band (with Velcro at the ends, so that it could be secured tightly) around their head, covering the most tender spots. They would then place soft rubber discs under the head band at the places of greatest discomfort to apply extra pressue in these areas. Eighty percent of the headaches were improved by more than fifty percent. Of these, seventy-three percent improved by more than eighty percent.
  13. Take a Good B Vitamin Complex. Several of the B vitamins have been shown to be useful for migraines. Just take all of them in one capsule, once or twice a day.
  14. Try a Chinese Herbal Formula. This should be not just any Chinese herbal formula, but one chosen specifically for you by a practitioner of Chinese medicine. The only thing I’ve seen consistently work as well as acupuncture is Chinese herbal formulas I’ve made and ground myself for my patients. They may not be the tastiest thing in the world, but they’re effective.
These aren’t the only things that are helpful for migraines, of course. I had a patient who used to stick Q-tips up her nose – the whole way up – and felt that made a huge difference. Others like essential oils, cold compresses, or decapitation. I encourage you to give my suggestions a try. Then let me know what happens, or share your own favorite remedies, on our blog.

Be well,
Dr. Peter Borten


Challenge of the Week-Drink more water!

Water makes us 60% of our body weight and is essential to keeping us alive yet somehow I tend to have a hard time finding time to drink enough of it! Dehydration can lead to headaches, loss of focus, increased appetite (you falsely believe you are hungry), sleepiness, dry/sticky mouth, constipation, and decreased urine output. None of those sound fun. Drinking adequate water can help clear your skin, eliminate cravings and unnecessary snacking, improve your digestion, and flush out toxins. Remember that tea and any beverages that add things to water is not considered part of the daily water intake that you need. Yes, they count as fluids but they do not support your body as well as clean water especially if what you are adding to your water is full of chemicals. How much water do you need? We all heard 8 glasses a day and that is easy to remember but it varies depending on your activity level, environement, gender and diet. A better way to tell if you are drinking enough is to check your urine..if is is light yellow to clear then you are most likely hydrated. I have heard the rule of thumb to divide your body weight by 2 and that is the number of ounces you need. I know when I drink enough water because I feel better and can tell that I am hydrated. Play around with it and for the most part we could all drink more!
Here are some tips to help you drink more water:

-Wake up and drink a glass of warm lemon water. This is a great way to get some vitamin C and to help cleanse the body of toxins (See one of my posts on this topic)
-Sip on a glass with breakfast
-Drink a glass of water mid morning
-Drink a glass of water 30 minutes prior to lunch
-Sip on some water with lunch
-Drink a glass of water in the afternoon
-Drink a glass of water 30 minutes prior to dinner
-Sip on water with dinner
-Drink a glass of water an hour before bedtime..maybe even warm to calm you down.
-Always drink room temp water if possible with meals. This helps your digestion working at its best!
-Add lemon oil, orange oil, or peppermint oil to your water. Ensure that your oil is of the grade that can be ingested. It adds great taste and can help with digestion.
-Add cucumbers, oranges, lemon wedges or lime wedges to your water for taste.
-When you are craving a snack, drink a glass of water first and decide if you are still hungry.
-Freeze your water for a popcicle after a run.
-Add in some watermelon juice after slicing one and freeze for popcicles or a tasty variation.

Here's to more water this week!

Don’t Use These Oils


When you buy a “cold pressed” cooking oil, do you assume that the seeds were pressed safely at a cool temperature to protect the oil from rancidity, trans fats, and other toxic processing chemicals?
Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Modern cold pressing heats the oil multiple times to staggering temperatures, rendering most oils rancid.
Additionally, unrefined oils are so delicate that even just one photon of daylight will trigger a chain reaction of free radical damage that creates trans fats and other by-products that experts believe to be even more harmful than trans fats!!

“How can they sell cooking oils in clear plastic bottles that are exposed to the light?” you may ask.
Well, they shouldn’t— but they do!
You will be disturbed to find out what happens to a seed on its journey to become your favorite cooking oil. Join me this week for a detailed look into the process, and learn how to choose oils that are good for you.

RBD Oils: Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized

Udo Erasmus, author of the book, Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, claims that, “Cooking oils are highly processed, using manufacturing methods that are destructive to oil molecules. These practices are utilized primarily to lengthen and stabilize the shelf life of oils.”
He goes on to explain the manufacturing process:
“After oils are pressed or solvent extracted from seeds and nuts, they are degummed, refined, bleached, and deodorized. The result is known as an RBD (refined, bleached, deodorized) and these oils, as a result, become colorless, odorless, and tasteless.”
In addition, valuable beneficial ingredients are removed during processing, including:
Antioxidants – like naturally occurring vitamin E, carotene, and others, which protect the oils from oxidizing as bad cholesterol in the blood.
Phytosterols – which support and protect immunity and cardiovascular function.
Chlorophyll – which fertilizes the gut with pre-biotic support for the proliferation of good bacteria, and is a rich source of magnesium, which is essential for heart, nerve, muscle, and blood sugar function.
Lecithin – which helps to emulsify fats, making sure they are easily digested.
Naturally occurring flavor molecules, color molecules, and other oil-soluble beneficial molecules.

Cooking Oils – Then and Now

Traditionally, seeds were hand pressed under very low temperatures and delivered to homes like milk, in dark amber bottles due to the volatility of these oils. Today, as a result of such massive processing, most vegetable oils are so refined that they can be sold in clear bottles. In my opinion, these should be thrown away.

Modern Cooking Oil Processing

reprinted from

Note: Cold pressed oils can legally state that they contain no additives, preservatives, or special flavorings, because the vast majority of the chemicals added during processing are subsequently taken out. The question is: which chemical residues remain, and how many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are lost?
Step 1: Cleaning and Grinding
During this process, the seeds are washed, cleaned, de-hulled and de-skinned. The coarse material is then ground into a matter from which the oil will be pressed. The grinding process adds significant heat from the grinding friction, rendering volatile oils rancid.
Step 2: Cold Pressing
The material is then put in a screw press, where temperatures can reach anywhere between 130-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Most oils go rancid when temperatures exceed 125 degrees.
Step 3: Solvent Extraction
Most seeds are not suitable for cold pressing, because it would leave many undesirable trace elements in the oil, causing it to be odiferous, bitter tasting, or dark. Because of this, a solvent extraction technique is commonly used.
Hexane is typically used as a solvent to dissolve the oil out of the seed cake after pressing, and is then reabsorbed through evaporation and distillation.
Step 4: Refine, Bleach, and Deodorize
  • The oil is then refined to remove color, odor, and bitterness, along with many minor but important constituents of the oil. Refining can heat the oil to between 107 and 188 degrees, and involves mixing chemicals, like sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate, into the oil.
  • Oils are also degummed at this time by treating them with water heated to dangerously high temperatures—between 188 and 206 degrees Fahrenheit—with steam, or a combination of water and acid. The natural gums, most of which are phosphatides, precipitate out.
  • The oil is then bleached by filtering it through bleaching clay, which absorbs certain pigmented material from the oil, making the oil tolerant to light, and thus stable enough to be packaged in a clear bottle. Again, so many more vital nutrients, minerals, and other beneficial components are lost here.
  • The oil is then deodorized, because processing incurs rancidity from significant free radical damage, giving the oil a terrible smell. The deodorizing process involves passing steam over hot oil in a vacuum at between 440 and 485 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The oil is now dead! It is refined, odorless, tasteless, colorless, indigestible, and void of most any nutritional value.

The Good OilsBye Bye Oilves, Hello Olive Oil by ChrisP

According to Dr. Erasmus, all oils, except extra virgin olive oil, have been processed by these destructive methods. Extra virgin olive oil, while not damaged by processing, is a poor source of essential fats, as it contains less than 1% omega-3s and only 10% omega-6s.
When extra virgin olive oil is fried, it is extensively damaged. It should not be used for cooking, but can be added to foods after they are removed from the heat.
Oils made with health (rather than shelf life) in mind are:
  • Pressed from organically grown seeds and nuts.
  • Protected from light, air (oxygen), and heat during pressing, filtering, and filling.
  • Sold in dark glass bottles that say “unrefined” on the label.
  • Look for expeller pressed (screw press) oils by manufacturers that make an effort to keep the pressing temperature low. A manufacturer concerned about overheating oils will mention expeller pressure temperature on the label. Look for pressing temperatures below 122 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the European standard for cold (expeller) pressing.
These oils are safe and desirable – but are not to be used for cooking!
The best oils to safely use for cooking are:
Coconut Oil Giveaway by Chiot's Run
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Palm oil
  • Cacao oil
  • Shea nut oil
  • Ghee
  • Butter

These oils are the most heat tolerant.
1. Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, Udo Erasmus. Books Alive. 1993

Additional Classes this Week

Hi friends,
I will be teaching the following classes this week..hope to see you there!
Tuesday: 6:15a Yoga at Downtown 24 Hour Fitness
Wednesday: 5:30a Bodypump at Tanasborne 24 Hour Fitness
Thursday: 6:15a Yoga at Downtown 24 Hour Fitness and 6:45p Yoga at Murray Shoals 24 Hour Fitness
Friday: 6:00a Bodypump at Downtown 24 Hour Fitness

Possibly some weekend classes too so stay tuned!
Have a great week!

8 Awesome Uses for Coconut Oil


My new favorite pair of words to drop: coconut oil. I can't stop talking about it, using it, smelling it, and eating it. And it seems, I am not alone. Whether you're a self proclaimed health nut, or a skeptic, the beneficial properties are undeniable. Below are eight of my favorite ways to use this godly grease:

1) Make up remover. Ladies, this one will blow your mind. I put this on my eyes nightly to remove mascara, and then rinse, and then, (drum roll please)....put it on again as an eye cream. Coconut oil also has anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties.

2) Massage oil. Talk about sweet and sultry. Who doesn't love an edible massage oil? Your lover will thank you with macaroon kisses for this one. For extra stress relief, use it on your temples and rub in a circular motion. (My personal favorite)

3) Pre-shave and aftershave. Coconut oil will moisturize pre and post shave for a affordable and organic, clean shave without clogging pores. Your skin will thank you.

4) Deep hair conditioner and split end treatment. I am a sucker for hair products. There is nothing that makes me feel more feminine than awesomely soft and voluminous hair (besides some red hot lipstick, of course). I've been experimenting with putting this on my ends instead of Moroccan argon oil. The result? It works just as (if not more) effectively for about 1/4 the price. If you do nothing else with coconut oil, use it on your hair. It works miracles.

5) Burn relief and scar reduction. I had a recent run in with a coffee press. The end result....well, ended up all over me. It was not pretty, but thanks to coconut oil, my burn healed better than ever. Coconut oil in itself has a cooling effect on the skin and when applied generously will keep skin supple, moisturized and will prevent peeling, blistering and scarring.

6) Toothpaste. Holy sparkle, your teeth will love this. Measure equal parts baking soda and coconut oil and mix together. Store in refrigerator to keep it at a favorable consistency.

7) Oil Pulling. Think of it like a total-body-detox-mouthwash. Our mouth is like a dive bar for toxins. Toxins linger in your mouth waiting for that perfect other half to walk in and take home (into your body), often blocking other important minerals from being absorbed. The oil pulling method pulls bacteria and toxins from the mouth. You are not only drawing out toxins from the mouth but from deep within crevices between teeth and gums and also from the teeny tube-like structures inside of your teeth, which are rarely tended to. When toxins are absorbed through the oil, the body can start to absorb proper minerals and heal itself. Oil pulling can improve conditions such as allergies, chronic fatigue, diabetes, migraine headaches, PMS, and chronic skin problems. I have also known people with cancer to use it in their natural healing process. To do this, stick a spoon full of oil in the mouth (weird at first, I know), and pull it through your teeth. Repeat twice a day for about 20 minutes and rinse. Like anything, consistency is the only way to get results.

8) Put it on your plate. If taking a straight spoonful is not your thing (oil pulling), try working it into your pallate. Replace standard cooking oils with coconut oil. The thing about coconut oil that has my vote: it can replace almost any fat without feeling like a compromise or loss. In fact, it tastes better, more full and well rounded.

And there you have it. Happy coconut-ing grease gods and goddesses!

Published June 29, 2012 at 9:10 AM
About Linnea Jensen

I believe in authenticity, laughter, and telling the truth. I believe being yourself is the best business. Sweating is godly. Green juice heals. Tension creates new pathways for expansion. I teach you how to play and glow, one chaturanga at a time. I love connection. All kinds. "Like" Linnea Jensen Yoga, Follow on Twitter.

The Discipline of Practice in your Yoga

"The most important part of any spiritual practice is doing it. That is why we should always just “do the practice” and not be overly concerned with or focused on what we think the results might be, or even on our own state of mind. The truth is, it can’t be what we think! It just is! It is not up to us to create it—we are simply cleaning the mirror of our hearts so we can see the reflection of our own true face without distortion."
=Krishna Das

Yoga is part of my spiritual practice. Even if it is not a part of yours, this advice can be taken and applied to your yoga practice.  We can come to our mats without the focus of "what will it do for me?" or our own agendas of what we think we need to do or accomplish and just do the work. We just come and practice and remain open to what happens. When we spend enough time on our mat, our mat can become that mirror that reflects the interior of what lies within us. We see the good, the bad and the ugly but truly it is all the same soul...just our flawed interpretation of what we think we need to be. If we can look honestly at what we see with compassion we see that that bright image of ourselves that is nothing short of pure beauty. On the physical level, we start to see that the practice of the effort and the journey of understanding our body is just as fun and interesting as the destination of achieving any goal or result of the practice.

Protect Your DNA: New Anti-Aging Discovery


It’s no surprise that stress has detrimental effects on our bodies, including premature aging. New research is providing valuable insights on ways that we can protect ourselves from stress on a level as deep as our DNA. learn how in my latest article, below.

This Week’s Article

Science has now begun to make profound advances in health and longevity by working on the most subtle levels of the body – the chromosomes, which are threadlike linear strands of DNA and proteins.
Ayurveda acknowledges that the more precise a therapy is on the subtle level, the more powerful the effect is on the gross and physical levels of the body.
A new study has linked “chronic depressive stress” to the shortening of the protective caps of the chromosomes, called telomeres. (1) Damage to, or shortening of, the telomeres is directly associated with accelerated aging and chronic disease. (3)
Scientists have discovered 3 Ayurvedic herbs with unique stress-fighting properties that provide support for the body from chronic and depressive stress. (2)
Keep reading to learn how you can reap the anti-aging benefits of keeping stress at bay.

Stress and Your DNA

At the end of each chromosome is a protective cap called a telomere. It is like the plastic cap on the end of a shoe lace. When the cap gets damaged, the telomere becomes non-functional, shortens, ceases to divide, and dies. Worn Shoelace by Mass Distraction
Luckily, there is an enzyme in the body that replenishes the telomeres, called telomerase reverse transcriptase. However, scientists have found multiple biochemical pathways of chronic stress that deplete this enzyme. Without it, the telomeres will shorten. Shortened telomeres are directly linked to aging. (3)
In other words, chronic stress –> shortened telomeres –> promote rapid aging
In fact, stress has become such a major threat that one study reported that 75-90% of visits to primary care doctors were related to the effects of stress. (4)
The body’s natural defense to cope with stress is called “homeostasis,” an inherent function that makes instantaneous physiological adjustments when we are under stress, thereby maintaining a harmonious equilibrium in our bodies.

Overwhelmed: The Chemistry of Stress

Within seconds of a stressful event, the stress hormone, cortisol, is released, triggering a “fight or flight” response. This creates a particular chemistry in the body which turns off the digestion, stores fat, raises blood sugar and blood pressure, and causes the heart to race.
Within minutes, and lasting for days or weeks, stress responses occur that are more deadly, such as inflammation, free radical damage, decreased memory and cognition, decreased sexual function, high blood sugar levels, the release of degenerative stress hormones and the depletion of the good, mood-stabilizing hormones.
When the homeostasis pathways are overwhelmed by stress, the resultant degenerative chemistry can linger for hours, days, weeks, or longer. When the stress response is chronic, the homeostatic pathways break down and more and more telomeres become damaged and shortened.

Protect Your DNA Naturally

These degenerative stress pathways are so diverse that researchers have found not one, but a combination of herbs that may be needed to protect all of the body’s natural homeostasis pathways when under chronic stress.
Three Ayurvedic herbs were found to support the full range of homeostatic pathways:
  • Ashwaganda
  • Bacopa
  • Tulsi

Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha by DaveezaAshwaganda may be the world’s most powerful and well-documented adaptogen. An adaptogen is an herb or supplement that supports the homeostatic pathways to cope with the degenerative impact of stress. Ashwaganda supports the following homeostatic pathways:
  • Supports mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters (2)
  • Protects against lipid peroxidation (2)
  • Supports the natural anti-inflammatory response (2)
  • Promotes antioxidant activity (2)
  • Helps regulate balanced blood sugar (2)
  • Supports balanced cortisol levels (2)
In one study, 98 chronically stressed men were given 500mg of ashwaganda for 60 days. The results supported: healthy moods, cardiovascular health, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy stress hormone levels, and a healthy inflammation response. (5)

Bacopa (Bacopa monniera)

Bacopa, also known as water hyssop, has been found to support homeostatic pathways in the following ways:Bacopa Monnieri Flower by Bob in Swamp
  • Promotes mental clarity (2)
  • Supports cognition (2)
  • Supports memory (2)
  • Supports stable mood (2)
  • Helps regulate normal cortisol levels (2)
  • Is a natural antioxidant (2)
  • Supports neurotransmitters for mental health (2)
  • Promotes healthy cell membranes (2)
  • Promotes healthy protein structures in the body, which play a key role in healthy neurological function (2)
In an unpublished, but well executed double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 20 men between the ages of 60 and 75 were given 300mg of bacopa extract a day (roughly equivalent to 1000mg of whole herb bacopa per day). After 4 months, the participants experienced a 23% support in focus and attention, a 24% support for learning and memory, a 15% support in overall intelligence, and a 30% support for mental health. (6)

Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Tulsi, also called Holy Basil, has been used successfully for thousands of years like bacopa and ashwaganda. Tulsi has been found to support stress-related homeostatic imbalances in the following areas:Tulsi by Anatma
  • Promotes healthy cell membranes (2)
  • Supports the natural anti-inflammatory response (2)
  • Stimulates antioxidant activity (2)
  • Helps regulate healthy blood sugar (2)
  • Supports healthy cholesterol levels (2)
In a double blind, placebo-controlled study, 79 individuals took 1200mg of Tulsi a day for 6 weeks, while 71 individuals took a placebo. Both groups were tested for stress-related issues including cognitive function, energy, forgetfulness, sleep and sexual health. Tulsi was shown to support stress-related issues by 39% over the placebo. (7)


Scientists have found that a combination of herbs may be needed to mitigate the degenerative effects of stress due to the complex nature of the chemistry of stress, the numerous homeostatic pathways that the body employs to protect against stress and the consequent shortening of telomeres.
1. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb. 15;71(4):294-300
2. Downey, New Reasons to Avoid Stress, Life Extension Mag. 2012 June. 71-79
3. Mol Ecol. 2012 Mar;21(6):1307-10
5. JANA. 2008;11(1):50-6
6. University of Montana – unpublished (data provided by vender)
7. Evid Based Complement Altern Med. 2012:894509. Epub 2011Oct 3

Summertime Cleansing

The temperature is rising outside…have you checked your internal gauge lately? If the heat is rising, and if signs of pitta imbalance are starting to appear, or you notice that toxic residues may be building up from poor digestion, it may be time to do a summertime cleanse. Not only will it help you have a more enjoyable summer, you will also be preparing your immune system for the health challenges that come with fall and winter!
A gentle whole foods cleanse at home can be the perfect way to get rid of any left-over kapha imbalances from the spring, prepare your system for the upcoming pitta season, or wash away any pitta imbalances that have already started accumulating.
A whole foods cleanse is a simple way to reset your entire system by removing accumulated toxins and strengthening digestion. In the summer, it is especially important to give the digestive system a boost, because the digestive fire is naturally low during this season as the body seeks to keep cool by dispersing heat throughout the body. That’s why nature provides lighter and easier to digest foods in the summer season. Summer fruits and vegetables also play a role in detoxifying your liver and cleansing the digestive tract. Healthy digestion actually supports immunity, since a major part of your immune system is found in the gut (in the form of lymphatic channels). And by keeping the digestion strong and healthy in the summer, these lymphatics stay clean and ready to go when cold and flu season rolls back around in the fall.

So how is a summer cleanse different than other times of the year? The basics are the same. For more detailed reading on how you can benefit from an Ayurvedic cleanse and a basic 7 day home regimen, download our free cleanse Ebook, Ayurvedic Cleansing: Waste Be Gone! . Below are some tweaks that you can apply to customize your cleanse for the summer:
  • For your massage, consider Pitta Massage Oil instead of plain sesame, as this will give you the benefits of soothing herbs. Or, for a really cooling experience, try mixing it with coconut oil.
  • Add sweet vegetables and greens to your diet. You can do this throughout the summer; during the actual cleanse, be sure to eat them in a cooked form. Enjoy asparagus, beet greens, cabbage, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, kale, collard greens, summer squashes, and bell peppers. Garnish your foods with some yummy cilantro and a touch of coconut. You can also try Everyday Greens to supplement the greens in your diet.
  • Make a cooling detoxification tea by boiling ½ tsp each of cumin, coriander, and fennel in 2 cups of water. Add a few leaves of fresh mint for a refreshing treat.
  • Also try a cleansing tea made from dandelion greens boiled in hot water. Before drinking, add a little honey and lime to taste if desired. Great for the liver!
  • Use supplements to support the tissues where imbalanced pitta tends to build:
  • Blood and Skin: Cooling and cleansing herbs like neem and manjistha are great during this season. Try them together in Blood Cleanse.
  • Liver: As a predominant part of the cleansing system of the body and the major seat of pitta, the liver is not only affected by physical pitta imbalances, but also mental and emotional pitta imbalances, such as anger and hatred. You can also support a healthy liver with Liver Formula or for and added boost try the powerful effects of Kutki Liquid Extract.
  • Intestines: Pitta can accumulate in the intestines, especially the small intestine, which can lead to abdominal discomfort. Amalaki, known for its immune supporting benefits, also has an affinity for cleansing pitta from the intestines.
Once you are done with the cleanse, enjoy the light and sweet things that summer has to offer, including berries and other sweet fruits. Ayurveda recommends that summer is also the time to enjoy the company of friends and family who are also sweet and refreshing; cooling colors like green and blue; soothing yoga and cooling pranayama; and calm evenings in the moonlight. Now doesn’t that sound like just what your pitta needs?

Maximize Your Summer Health


Constitution Specific Suggestions for a Cool & Blissful Pitta Season

Light. Fire. Heat. Intensity. It’s summertime! Do you worship long days of bright sunlight? Do you welcome a renewed feeling of lightness and expansive consciousness? Maybe you just can’t get enough of the hot summer temperatures. Or, do you dread the heat and go out of your way to avoid the summer sun? Perhaps a dark, air-conditioned movie theater is more your speed on a hot, summer day.
Summer, like each of the seasons, arrives with its own distinct personality. Depending on your constitution, summer may increase your internal sense of harmony, or it may aggravate one of your innate tendencies. For example, a hot-natured individual who prefers a cool climate may love the winter, but will feel hotter than most – to the point of discomfort – as the heat of summer intensifies. On the other hand, someone with chronically cold hands and feet, who never seems to be able to stay warm in the winter months, will experience exactly the opposite: long, cold winters will be a challenge and s/he will relish the heat of summer. But the seasons need not be an intrinsic source of fluctuating dread and euphoria.
One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is that our habits, routines, and dietary choices should ebb and flow with the seasons. We can support an improved state of balance throughout the year by making a conscious effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature and by regularly adjusting our lifestyle and habits to accommodate the arrival of each new season. While this idea may at first seem daunting, many people find that the recommended seasonal adjustments come quite naturally and that a few simple changes can dramatically increase health and vitality.
In Ayurveda, it is said that like increases like and that opposites balance; this helps to explain why summertime stirs something different in each of us. If you know your constitution, you can actually take even more personalized steps to harmonize your internal landscape with the changing nature of the seasons.
If you are unsure of your Ayurvedic body type, try this Banyan Botanicals questionnaire to help you determine your constitution.
Summer: The Pitta Season
The most striking characteristics of summer – the heat, the long days of bright sun, the sharp intensity, and the transformative nature of the season – are directly in line with pitta, which is why summer is considered a pitta season. And, despite the fact that some climates are exceptionally humid this time of year, the cumulative effect of intense heat is to dry things out, so summer is also considered dry. On a more subtle level, summer is a time of expansion and mobility – traits more characteristic of vata. While there is plenty to celebrate about summer’s unique personality, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. A summer seasonal routine is aimed at fostering diet and lifestyle habits that will help to prevent the over-accumulation of summer qualities and allow you to enjoy the unique gifts that summertime has to offer.
Negotiating a Blissful Summer: General Recommendations for the Pitta Season
Your primary focus through the summer months will be to keep pitta balanced by staying cool, mellowing intensity with relaxation, and grounding your energy. It may also be helpful to learn to recognize early signs of pitta imbalance so that you can take steps to address those quickly, if they arise. But summer has some distinctly vata characteristics as well, so you’ll also want to stay hydrated, foster stability, and balance vata’s natural expansiveness and mobility with quiet, restful activities. The following recommendations for pitta are appropriate for most people during the summer. For additional considerations specific to your constitution, see the sections addressing each of the seven Ayurvedic body types below.
Pitta Predominant Types
Vata Predominant Types
Kapha Predominant Types
Pitta-Vata & Vata-Pitta Types
Pitta-Kapha & Kapha-Pitta Types
Vata-Kapha & Kapha-Vata Types
Vata-Pitta-Kapha Types
Pitta Season Diet
During the summer, our bodies naturally crave light foods and small meals that are easy to digest because the digestive fire – a strong source of internal heat – disperses in order to help keep us cool (1). Being fully present with your meals while savoring the flavor and texture of your food will help minimize the risk of overeating. Summer is a time to favor the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and to relish in cool, liquid, even slightly oily foods. This is the best time of year to enjoy fresh fruits and salads. It is also a great time to indulge in sweet dairy products such as milk, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, fresh homemade yogurt, and even ice cream on occasion. All unrefined sweeteners except honey and molasses are cooling and can be enjoyed in moderation during the summer months.
In the way of beverages to beat the heat, enjoy cool or room temperature water infused with mint or lime and a little raw sugar, a sweet lassi, cooling herbal teas such as peppermint, licorice, fennel or rose, or an occasional beer. Iced drinks are best avoided; they disturb the digestive fire and create toxins in the body.
Go easy on sour or unripe fruits, aged cheeses, and heating vegetables and spices such as carrots, beets, radishes, onions, garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. Try to avoid extremely spicy foods like chilies or cayenne pepper altogether. Also keep in mind that raw vegetables (as in salads) will be better digested if they are eaten at lunch, rather than at dinner. Below is a list of some ideal summer foods (3):
Fruits to Favor
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Prunes
Vegetables to Favor
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beet Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Collard Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Potatoes
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini
Grains to Favor
  • Barley
  • Rice, Basmati
  • Wheat
Legumes to Favor
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Split Peas
  • Soy Beans & Products
Oils to Favor
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
Spices & Garnishes to Favor
  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Cilantro
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Lime
  • Mint
  • Parsley
Meats to Favor (if you eat them)
  • Fish (freshwater)
  • Poultry (white)
  • Shrimp
  • Maple syrup
  • Unrefined cane sugar
  • Turbinado
Pitta Season Lifestyle Choices
Summertime is bursting with vibrant energy and most people find it easier to rise early in the morning at this time of year. This is a natural and beneficial rhythm to embrace. Early morning is also the best time for exercise. Before you bathe, massage the skin with a light coating of a pitta soothing oil, like coconut or sunflower oil, to calm the nervous system and cool the body. Essential oils of jasmine and khus are good fragrances for the summer or you may enjoy a rose water spritz to calm, cool, and refresh your mind.
Dressing in light, breathable clothing made of cotton or silk and favoring cooling colors like whites, grays, blues, purples, and greens will help you counter the intensity and heat. Summer is ideal for spending time in nature, but when you do go outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shelter yourself from the intense sun. On especially hot days, there is often an afternoon lull in energy and you may find that a short nap is beneficial.
In the evening before bed, wash and dry the feet and massage them with a light coating of brahmi oil to ground your energy and draw the heat down. It is best to retire by 10 or 11pm to avoid an overly stimulated mind, and lying on your right side will activate the lunar pathway in the left nostril, which is calming and cooling. Also be aware that sexual activity, in excess, can provoke pitta and deplete energy, so cultivate moderation in this aspect of your life during the summer months.
Pitta Season Exercise
Summer can motivate improved physical fitness and it is generally a great season to be active, provided you exercise at appropriate times and at an appropriate intensity. Exercise is very heating and, at this time of year, is best avoided during the heat of the day, especially from 10am – 2pm. Instead, try exercising early in the morning, when the atmosphere is crisp and cool. It’s also important not to push too hard. Ideally, exercise at about 50-70% of your capacity, breathing through your nose the entire time, if you can. Follow your workout with a drop of rose oil to the third eye, throat, and navel to help the body cool down.
Pitta Season Yoga
Breanna takes a pitta-soothing meditation break from the phones in the garden outside the Banyan call center. Photo by Aleia.
Pitta is fiery and intense; you can balance the pitta season by simply adjusting your yoga practice to calm pitta’s tendencies. Allow your routine to be guided by relaxed effort: move gently, fluidly, and gracefully, keeping the gaze soft and the breath stable. Cultivate a calm inner awareness rather than pushing yourself to maximum capacity with precision and sharp muscular effort. Check yourself frequently to ensure that you’re not straining in your practice. Focus on creating a sense of groundedness and flow rather than becoming static in the poses.
Since the solar plexus tends to hold heat, favor asanas that massage, strengthen, and wring out the abdominal region such as cat/cow, cobra, boat, side openers, and twists. Cooling, self-referencing poses such as child’s pose and forward bends are also very beneficial during the pitta season, as are gentle flows such as moon salutation. Always close your practice with a few minutes in shavasana to ground your energy and integrate the benefits of practicing yoga. For instructions on any of these poses and more information on yoga most suitable to pitta season, click here.
Herbal Support for Pitta Season
There are numerous herbs that support the healthy function of pitta that can be especially beneficial during the summer season. Among them are: Amalaki, Brahmi, Bhumyamalaki, Guduchi, Kutki, Neem and Shatavari. For more information on the unique role each of these herbs play, see Ayurvedic Herbs for Balancing Pitta. Many of our herbal formulations also provide support for pitta including Healthy Pitta, Liver Formula, Pitta Digest, Blood Cleanse, Healthy Hair and Mental Clarity.
1. Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. Churchill Livingston Elsevier, 2006. 51-52.
2. Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1998. 64-66.
3. Douillard, John. The 3-Season Diet. Three Rivers Press, 2000. 85-86, 109-117, 130.
4. Lad, Vasant. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. 232-238.

How to Get Rid of Your Joint Pain / Arthritis Without Drugs

By Dr. Peter Borten, LAc, DAOM, Acupuncturist and Herbalist at The Dragontree Spa and Creator of Imbue Pain Relief Patch

Wow, it seems there’s a lot to say about joint pain. You can read part one, part two, part three, and part four for background information and many more suggestions for joint pain. Let’s continue our exploration.

Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels.

For decades, vitamin D has been thought of as something of a hormone, with many authorities cautioning against getting too much. As you probably know, all that has changed in recent years, with current estimates putting 60 to 75 percent of Americans in the deficient category. We don’t get outside in the sun much, we wear sunscreen when we do, and it’s hard to get very much of it from food. Also, those who live in the northern latitudes (north of 37 degrees north latitude – or, for that matter, south of 37 degrees south latitude) rarely get exposed to sun that is direct enough to stimulate vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Except during a few months of summer, sun rays that hit the northern states come in at an angle (rather than being perpendicular to the earth) and they have to pass through a lot of atmosphere, which is full of dust that filters the intensity of the light, making it too weak for us to turn it into vitamin D.

Along with a growing recognition of our low levels of this vitamin has come a ton of research showing how critical vitamin D is to our health. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with low and/or wonky immune function, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, depression, gum disease, skin diseases, asthma, diabetes, and, the subject of this article – arthritis.

Low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Studies have suggested a higher incidence of arthritis (particularly rheumatoid) in those living in the north. With rheumatoid arthritis – an auto-immune condition (confusion of the immune system, whereby it attacks the body itself) – this may arise because vitamin D is integral to healthy immune function. (This may also explain why vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in certain other auto-immune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.) However, an especially interesting revelation of vitamin D research is that receptors for this nutrient appear all over the body – including in the joints. Vitamin D receptors like to be occupied with vitamin D – good things happen when there is sufficient vitamin D to fill them. In the case of our joints, vitamin D appears to be integral to the maintenance of our cartilage. One study on knee ar thritis showed that participants with sufficient vitamin D had significantly less cartilage loss than those who were deficient in D. Cartilage loss is central to the development of osteoarthritis, so vitamin D should be a part of the nutritional regimen of anyone with arthritis.

In addition, when it comes to bone health, vitamin D is instrumental in the absorption of calcium from our intestines. When there is not enough vitamin D, even if we’re eating plenty of calcium, we won’t absorb it. This would lead to low levels of calcium in the blood, but because circulating calcium is vital for cardiovascular and neuromuscular health (including the beating of the heart), the body doesn’t let this happen. Instead, it stimulates glands called the parathyroids to secrete a hormone that causes dumping of calcium from bones into the blood stream. While this is good for the heart, it’s not good for the bones. Most studies show a connection between low vitamin D and osteoporosis. But low doses – like the “recommended daily allowance” (RDA) of 400 international units – don’t seem to help reduce the incidence of fractures. Only big doses, at least twice the RDA, appear to be beneficial in this regard.

As for supplementation, as I mentioned previously, there aren’t many rich food sources of vitamin D. The two primary ones are oily fish and eggs yolks. Eating oily fish is generally a good idea, though some of these fish – tuna, in particular – also tend to be rich in mercury, not a mineral we need more of. Egg yolks are good for you, in moderation, though I recommend only eating eggs from free range chickens. Caged chickens have poor nutrition, and, unsurprisingly, produce eggs that are significantly less nutritious than those from chickens who roam freely and eat grass and bugs. The thing is, even these “vitamin D rich” foods supply only a bit of the stuff. Harvard Men’s Health Watch reported: “You’ll have to eat about 5 ounces of salmon, 7 ounces of halibut, 30 ounces of cod, or nearly two 8-ounce cans of tuna to get just 400 IU. An egg yolk will provide about 20 IU, but since it also contains nearly a day’s quota of cholesterol, you can’ t very well use eggs to fill your tank with D.”

Therefore, most people will choose to take a vitamin D supplement. It’s important to choose vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – the form we naturally produce from sunlight, rather than D2 (ergocalciferol), a synthetic form which is less useable by the body. Unfortunately, most fortified foods contain D2. Dose recommendations vary wildly nowadays. Your best bet is to get your blood tested (get the 25(OH)D test). You should not be below 32 (ng/mL); optimal is 50-70. Doctors will often prescribe 10,000 to 100,000 units of vitamin D once a week to correct a verified deficiency. (Since vitamin D is fat soluble, your body can store it and utilize it as needed.) A more common daily recommendation, for both kids and adults, is 35 units of vitamin D per pound of your body weight, up to 5000 units. Please ask your healthcare practitioner what is the best amount for you.

According to Dr. James Dowd of the Arthritis Institute of Michigan, and author of The Vitamin D Cure, vitamin D works best when we have adequate amounts of potassium,
magnesium, and calcium in our diet. So, eat plenty of vegetables while you’re at it.

Please feel free to leave comments on our blog. We love to hear people’s stories and feedback.

Be well,

Dr. Peter Borten

Quinoa, Red Pepper & Cucumber Salad with Avovado and Lime

From Yoga Journal-August 2012

1c quinoa
1 garlic clove, pounded to smooth paste with pinch of salt
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
3.5 T fresh lime juice
1/2 c olive oil
1 medium red pepper, halved, seeded and diced
1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 c cilantro, roughly chopped
2-3 ripe avocados

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook quinoa until tender...approx 12-15 minutes.. Drain and allow to cool.
2. Put the garlic, lime juice, shallot and jalapeno in a small bowl and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  Add the oil and whisk to combine.Add more salt and or lime juice to taste.
3. Put quinoa, red pepper, cucumber, and chopped cilantro in a bowl. Drizzle half of the vinagrette into the bowl and fold to combine. Taste and add more salt/lime juice to taste.
4. Arrange the sliced avacado on top. Drizzle the remaining vinagrette.

Enjoy! This was quite tasty and was a great lunch for me!


"What is always important is that we never try to force anything in situations where there seems at first to be no way to move. We must create space for ourselves, for the mind, whether it is through surrender, or with the aid of the breath, or approaching a teacher or friend, or paying attention to our sense - whenever there is confusion in our minds we must try to create space. Ways and means can always be found for overcoming the obstacles we meet." - Desikachar ♥

My fellow yogini, Marianne posted this on facebook a couple days ago and it really spoke to me. I speak of this often in my yoga classes when I talk about the balance in yoga of force and effort versus surrender. We often think that by more effort and force, we can get deeper in a pose or open a space in our body that feels really tight. Sometimes, we have to just let the "space" happen at its own pace and in its own way. Progress is not always made in giant leaps and bounds each time, but if true space can occur as we approach our practice with that balance of effort and surrender then we allow change to happen on many different levels and on a much deeper scale.

This is true I seem to find out in life as well. We can force outcomes but rarely the result is what we intended. Sometimes taking a pause and allowing for space is just what we need to reset and gain perspective.  Sometimes the obstacle when met without resistance seems to dissipate in unusual ways. I never seem to find that resistance and forcing of anything eliminates the problem. 

I guess the lesson in all is that space although seeming to be inconsequential can be the most powerful tool we posess.