Back Pain: How Qi Gong and Yoga Can Help

Back pain is a common issue. Many people will experience some level of back pain at some point in their life.

In this episode, Pedram and Sara discuss different causes for back pain. For some it might be the way you sit at work, but for others it may be something more serious. In this episode Pedram and Sara come together with their different perspectives of Qi Gong and Yoga. They share different ways in which you can relieve back pain and methods that can prevent it from happening in the first place.

Back PainThe Four Easiest Exercises For Back Pain Relief 

1. Downward Facing Dog Pose

A basic yet challenging yoga pose that stretches and lengthens the spine, develops shoulder muscles and can address postural conditions such as kyphosis.

2. Standing Forward Bend

Forward bends will stretch your hamstring muscles, located on the back of your thigh. If you have flat low back posture, this stretch may help prevent it from getting worse, or even to reverse the condition.

3. Child’s Pose

The child’s pose stretches the muscles of the low back, as well as the inner thighs. It promotes flexibility, stress relief and helps circulation to the muscles, joints and disks of the back.

4. Cobra Pose

While the cobra pose is a pose that many people readily associate with yoga, its not safe for all types of back problems. People with facet joint problems should approach cobra pose cautiously, if at all.

For additional yoga resources, check out Sara’s Yoga Series.

Pedram produced this video in Africa while filming the movie “Origins”. We had a couple of days off so the crew went out to the banks of the Limpopo River on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe. This is a helpful Qi Gong set from the Tai Chi Chuan tradition and is designed to help invigorate the channels and lubricate the joints. Whether you are new to Tai Chi or have an existing practice, this set is particularly helpful. 

The Monroe Institute: Connecting Science and Mysticism

 

Pedram visits The Monroe Institute, a non-profit research and educational organization that is enhancing the uses and understanding of human consciousness. There Pedram went into a sensory deprivation room where Skip Atwater led Pedram’s consciousness through an unforgettable journey.

What is sensory deprivation? It is an approach used to elicit an “Out-of-Body Experience”, which typically involves the sensation of floating outside one’s body. When an individual is placed inside a sensory deprivation room or tank, she is isolated from many forms of sensory input all at once. These rooms or tanks are absolutely soundproof and lightproof. The individual undergoes complete quietness that allows her to hear her heart beat, her breath, and the tensing of her muscles. The extreme buoyancy of the water creates an almost zero-gravity environment. The individual becomes one with the room or tank.

Sensory deprivation encourages intense disorientation by removing space and time references. The state of disorientation often permits the individual to experience vivid, spiritual out-of-body experiences. But what happens to people when they are in the experience? Can an isolation room actually transport a person to altered states of consciousness? Check out this webisode!

The Monroe Institute

Jeffrey Smith on How to Avoid GMO Foods

 

Jeffrey Smith is THE world expert on GMOs and GMO awareness. He takes us on a tour of the food served at a buffet in a restaurant to teach us what to avoid when we eat out. Many of us often wonder about the quality of the ingredients used in our favorite restaurants. Are things really 100% organic? How can we tell what is what? Please stay tuned if you want to learn how to distinguish between organic or GMO foods.

We are what we eat. The central notion of making sure what goes into our bodies is seen as fuel and not as toxic foe is critical. In this day and age of GMOs and pesticides everywhere, we’ve got to really be careful and seek out clean sources of foods- especially fruits and vegetables.

Either buy organic or at least use a non-toxic vegetable wash that will clean some of the toxic chemicals off of your food. The problem is that many foods get toxins in systemically and, therefore, we take them in when we eat them. Here’s a list of the basic foods you MUST get organic.

 

GMO

DIRTY DOZEN FOODS

1) Meat
2) Milk
3) Coffee
4) Peaches
5) Apples
6) Sweet Bell Peppers
7) Celery
8) Strawberries
9) Lettuces
10) Grapes
11) Potatoes
12) Tomatoes

 

 

 

 

The Health Bridge – The Paleo Diet

 

In this episode  of The Health Bridge, Sara and Pedram talk about the Paleo diet.

 

Is it sensible to try to eat like our distant ancestors did over ten-thousand years ago? How is this diet different from all the other diet programs out there? Pedram and Sara address various concerns and misconceptions about the Paleo diet which has become very popular in recent years.

So what is Paleolithic nutrition really about? In a nutshell, the Paleo diet is based on what our prehistoric ancestors ate back in the day. By eliminating diary products, separated fats, and refined carbohydrates, we’ll be leaner and less likely to develop cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other dangerous health problems. Those who are Paleo follow an eating plan that is high-protein and high-fiber. They consume lots of lean meats, fish, leafy/green vegetables, and fresh fruits. Processed foods are definitely not allowed. Since our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, dairy and wheat products are also not allowed. No refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, and legumes.

Sounds like a lot of rules. Does this diet work?

Increasing evidence indicates that the inclusion of processed foods in the human diet can have adverse effects on health. To learn more, tune into The Health Bridge!

Paleo Diet

The Art of Zen Tea Ceremony – How Green Tea and Meditation Go Together

Ken Cohen sits with Pedram Shojai to show him how anyone can become a tea master.

Many of us drink tea for pleasure and comfort, but this beverage can actually provide more benefits than we may think.

People from all over the world have been drinking tea for centuries and we believe that this fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. Tea is so versatile. You can drink it hot to warm up your body during those cold winter nights. Throw in some ice and you have a cool, refreshing drink for the summer. There are more than 1,500 different types of tea (not including herbal teas), so there has to be a kind that’s right for YOU.

Research has focused mainly on the benefits of consuming green tea, because it is considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks. Green tea is known to contain more antioxidants than other types of tea. In general, teas contain high concentrations of polyphenol, which may contribute to the prevention of cancer and heart diseases. Polyphenols are also found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and even in coffee, but tea takes the gold. Tea is especially rich in catechin, which is the most powerful out of all polyphenols. Green tea contains much more Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a type of catechin, than any other kind of tea.

Not only can drinking tea bring a ton of health benefits, it can also aid in weight loss and increase metabolism. Unsweetened brewed green tea has zero calories. It’s an excellent alternative to coffee, juices and soda. People also drink tea to improve their moods and relax their minds. In the webisode above, QiGong Master Ken Cohen shares with us the Art of Zen Tea Ceremony. The tea brewing experience is definitely relaxing in itself. The flavorful aromas of tea can open your senses and that’s why tea goes hand in hand with meditation.

Green Tea

Are you Well-Rested and Ready for 2014? Why the Winter Solstice is Important.

Winter SolsticeHappy Winter Solstice!

For years I’ve been preaching to patients and students that they need to chill out and relax around this time of year. The ones that listen, really thrive.

Why is that?

The holidays were traditionally about pulling people out of a funk. In the Western tradition, peoples of the Northern hemisphere would hunker down after the fall harvest and dig their heels in for a long, cold winter. There wasn’t much to do (except make babies) so people would feel cooped up with cabin fever by late November or so. The holidays were a way to get people out of their depression and out with others- some stimulation please…

Today we live in an overstimulated world. There is no lack of information, connections, phone calls, texts, or work for us in the Winter. In traditional agrarian societies, when the harvest was over, you’d have to chop some wood and fetch some water here and there, but by and large, you were chilling out most of the winter. When’s the last time you chilled out?

We stumble through our years and keep fighting on and then have to drag ourselves to one holiday party after another- fighting lines and crowds at the mall trying to buy gifts for our loved ones. Does it sound exhausting? Well it should. How can we thrive through 2014 when we have not let ourselves properly close out 2013? We do this every year- losing Vitality, enthusiasm, and sleep each go-around.

So here’s the fix-

TODAY is the Winter Solstice. Today is the shortest day of the year…the darkest day. This is when the days start getting longer into the next cycle and giving us more light to carry us into a solid 2014. What are your goals for next year? Lose weight? Make more money? Start a family? Retire? You can’t do it without energy.

It is time to catch your breath. Hunker down and count your blessings today. Maybe take a salt bath. A nap? Sure- maybe a couple. Make this winter solstice weekend about being lazy and giving your body what it needs. I promise you, the health benefits are great but the psychological ones are even better.

Share this with the people in your life that NEED to hear this today and please…take some down time. We’re all so crazy busy nowadays that we forget to breath, check in, relax, and restore our energy when we’re supposed to. The bears hibernate. We can learn a lot from nature. Listen to your own inner nature and see what you feel like doing right now…I’m going for a nap :)

What Makes Functional Medicine So Effective At Curing Illnesses? Interview with Dr. Mark Hyman

Unlike conventional medicine, functional medicine uses a systems-oriented approach to address the underlying causes of disease.

Functional medicine is medicine by cause, not by symptom. We need to reframe how we view disease and realize that everything is integrated in the body. By shifting away from the traditional disease-centered focus of healthcare to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine is more effective in finding a true cure. Traditional approaches tend to isolate sets of symptoms, but functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients to discover the overlooked factors that contribute to disease. [Read more...]

3 Not-So-Secret Lifestyle Changes That Can Turn Back The Clock

 

Let’s face it, we don’t really think about aging when we’re young. When we are in our prime, we put our bodies through a lot and usually without considering the consequences. Remember those college days filled with all-nighters and greasy cafeteria food? Now that we’re older and wiser, we wish we treated our bodies better. Until someone brilliant invents a time machine to take us back to our golden days, there are three not-so-secret lifestyle changes that can turn back the biological clock. [Read more...]

Is Sugar Really Like A Drug To Your Brain?

 
Before we move forward with our topic of sugar addiction, let’s step back for a second and think about the role of sugar in our everyday diets. How many times have you opened a fresh pack of cookies with the intention of eating only a few but end up eating everything? One cookie seems to lead to the next and then the entire pack disappears. We’ve all been there before. This sort of thing happens all the time, but have you ever wondered why? Recent research studies show that humans are programmed from an early age to crave sugar. Scientists even go as far as to say that sugar is a drug to our brains. [Read more...]

Flush Out Toxic Heavy Metals

Heavy Metals

In today’s world, we are plagued by toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even the foods we eat. New chemicals are being produced every year and are entering our environment faster than we can react. Heavy metal pollutants such as lead and mercury can damage our cells, which then leads to altered or decreased cell function. So what can we do to minimize our exposure to toxic heavy metals? [Read more...]