What a headache!

I don’t know about for you, but spring fever can bring along with it some major headaches.  Pollen in the air leads to stuffy noses and sinus pressure.

What else can cause headaches?  And, what can you do to combat them?

1. Your Weight.  The risk of headaches can increase with the size of your waist.  Getting below a BMI of 30 can decrease your risk of headache by 35%.

2. Your Personality.  Being an anxious and inflexible person can lead you to have a greater number of headaches.  Try yoga or meditation to boost your mood.

3.  Your Weekend.  Sleeping in and lounging about sounds like fun on days Monday through Friday, but it can mean a heck of a headache come Saturday and Sunday.  Try to stick to your regular bed routine and try to get outside the house on weekends.

4.  Your Fluid Intake.  Dehydration can lead to really, really bad headaches.  Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as these are the foods that have the highest water content.  You don’t need to drown in glass after glass of H20 — just choose to eat the right foods.

5.  Your Sleep.  Sleeping an average of six hours a night can lead to more headaches than sleeping an average of 8 hours a night.  Catch your Zzzz’s!

6. Your Food Intake.  Skipping meals can make you irritable and headache prone.  Best foods to prevent headaches: Spinach, tofu, oat bran, barley, fish oil, olive oil, white beans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

7. Your Position Relative to Sea Level.  High altitudes and flying can lead to headaches due to pressure changes.  A recent study  shows that taking 600mg of Ibuprofen prior to the altitude change can help!  (On an aside, whenever I fly, I take 4 to 8 Ibuprofen prior to boarding the plane.  I used to get killer migraines when flying and haven’t *knock on wood* since I started this routine!)

Any of you out there get frequent headaches?  What have you found works?


Yoga for Everyone…Really?

Let’s put  yoga contests, yoga scandals and the multi-billion dollar yoga industry aside for now.  Those are distractions and diversions.  I believe that yoga truly is for everyone.  It may be that the kind of  yoga that’s best for you isn’t proffered on the major news outlets and on the magazine rack at the market checkout.  Rest assured, there is a yoga practice that can bring unimagined grace and flexibility into your life, whomever you are.

You may insist that you wouldn’t be caught dead in those skin tight butt-crack-hugging leotard-looking faux jeans and you don’t fancy being crammed into a sauna-like room attempting slippery contortions inches away from a sweaty stranger.  On the other hand, you might love that.  I did (well not the tight pants part) and still love a vigorous workout.  But that’s not yoga; at least for most of the human population.

The practice of yoga has been around for thousands of years.  Though it may often be taught with references to Hindu dieties, it’s not a religion.  It’s not a creed.  It doesn’t come ladden with dogma or riddled with social clicks; at least it shouldn’t.  Again, those things are the attachments and diversions of us humans who are struggling to deal with our own peculiar kind of suffering.

There are many styles of yoga listed by various organizations (here’s one).  Some styles, like bhakti yoga involve very little focus on physical work and instead practice primarily meditation and acts of devotion and service.  New styles are “born” in the west every year.  Many of these styles fall under the hatha yoga umbrella and will fade as they are really business and marketing ventures; a slightly new take on the ubiquitous  vinyasa flow practice. There are yoga styles, like Viniyoga, that are geared towards individual practice and recent studies are proving their therapeutic benefit.

This is all to say, in the words of the UUA’s beloved yoga teacher Jovielle Gers, that if you desire a practice that will help you be a calmer, more compassionate, more joyful human being, yoga can “set you on your way.”  And while you’re at it you’ll be giving your body some lovely stretching and strengthening as well.

Give it a shot.  The best part is that you can start right now!  The UUA offers twice weekly yoga classes taught by Jovielle in the chapel at 25 Beacon St.  Get in touch with Hilary Gray or myself for more info.  There’s no obligation if you reach out to one of us with questions.

Meditative Sesamoids

from www.foothealthfacts.org

Two summers ago, I discovered (by going to the podiatrist) I had been walking on a broken foot for a few years.  I had a broken sesamoid, which helps your big toe move like a big toe should when pushing off of the ground during walking, running or jumping.  During the years I wasn’t aware my bone was broken, my big toe would feel like it was falling off for a few days at a time and then it would recover.  I was forced to go to the podiatrist, though, when the pain lasted for months and my knee and hip started to hurt.  Curse the interconnected web of our bodies!

My treatment plan went from least to most life-altering and I was able to avoid surgery in the end: