What is Scoliosis?

There are three normal curvatures of the spine:

spine labeledthe lordotic Cervical, the kyphotic Thoracic, and lordotic Lumbar curves which help you to stand upright, walk and absorb impact and shock during activities of life.

Some people have one or two additional curves of the spine, when shown from the back appear in almost an “S” form. This is one marker of Scoliosis.      scoliosis2

There are two types of Scoliosis: Structural and Functional.

Structural Scoliosis is typically diagnosed at a young age. During a forward bend forward test a Health Care Professional will notice on one side the rib or scapula sits higher. This curvature can be Idiopathic, meaning cause unknown, or because of a bony fusion or change in the body during growth.

Functional Scoliosis is typically diagnosed later in life through similar forward bend test by a Health care Professional. This type of Scoliosis can be corrected when changing positions, or alignments of the body. Functional scoliosis can occur due to a difference in leg heights, muscle spasms, avoiding pain or through a repetitive task occurring over a long period of time.

For both types of Scoliosis, if no corrections are made the curves worsen over time. X-Rays or imaging maybe required to determine the severity of the mis alignment. Depending on the degree  of Scoliosis a patient will experience different severity of symptoms. Some symptoms include back pain; which can either be in the upper back or lower, tightness in the shoulder region, difficulty sitting or standing in one position for a long period of time, or a difference in height or the pelvis or shoulders.  Treatment depends on the direction of curvature, and severity. In some cases a brace or even surgery is required.

Both Physical therapy and Yoga can help prevent further worsening of the Scoliosis and in some cases reverse the misalignment helping to ease pain. From personal experience I can tell you both work, and helped reduce my discomfort tremendously.  If you have any questions e-mail me at berryhappybodies@gmail.com

For information view NIH’s resource page.

The Power of Breath

We do it every day, whether we are conscious of it or not. However, most of the time we only pay attention to our breath when there is a lack of it. Without it we would not be here, and it should not be taken for granted.

Recently, many studies concluded that deep breathing, and meditation can assist to heal the body, and relax the mind. Both are so important during these busy times, and especially when you are in pain.

kauai hike meditation

Don’t let the word meditation scare you off. It does not necessarily mean clearing your head of all thoughts. This is one form, but there are other varieties offering the same benefits with a little more flexibility. You just have to experiment and find a form that works for you.

When I have thoughts coming at me rapid fire, I focus on a picture or scene that calms me.

bird sunset2As I concentrate on the picture in my mind, I take deep inhalations and exhalations. Sometimes it helps to count during the inhalation and exhalation slowly increasing the length of breath.

If you are having pain in a certain area of the body, arrange yourself in a sitting or supine position using whatever pillows, bolsters or props are needed. Bring your attention to the area of discomfort. Here you can listen to what it may be telling you, or you can think of breathing into this area bringing blood flow and nutrients to heal and release whatever maybe stagnant there.

Start slow, 2-3 minutes maybe all you can tolerate. Over time you will be surprised at how fast you can build the length of time, and how easily it can be to let go of all thoughts and

Just be julian lake



Unleashing your Inner Warrior Giveaway

Everyone has those days when they need to find strength from within. Sometimes, these days extend longer becoming a bad week, or month. Or sometimes, like in the case of Bhava Ram, several years.

I had never heard of Bhava Ram until his team contacted me for a book review, and invitation to his book release event.  I was a little skeptical at first because not only did Brad Willis change his name to Bhava Ram, but he developed his own style of Yoga: Deep Yoga.  However, I set aside judgement since the event was in San Diego, and he is a Yogi after all.

Bhava’s book release event ended up being an inspirational night for my husband and I. Bhava’s skill as a Correspondent truly shown through as he read some highlights and summarized his story and book.

And, the book. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy before the event so I had a little history on Bava before attending the Event. If you are ever having a down day, this book will pick you right up. In fact when I finished I could immediately count on two hands the number of people who I would recommend this book to.

It is inspiring , uplifting and reads like a fiction novel. But, it’s not – it’s non ficition- Bhava’s eventful life. How could one man go through so much: wars, a failed back surgery and Stage IV Cancer, and come out still being so optimistic and positive?   After reading the book and hearing him speak there is not a doubt in my mind he will continue to inspire others, and developing and practicing Deep Yoga is exactly what he should be doing right now.

If you need that inspiration enter the Giveaway win the inspirational book. There are 4 ways to enter by:

1. Leave a comment on what inspired you below
Leave a comment below saying you did one of the following:
2. “Like” Berryhappybodies on FB
3. Follow on twitter
4. Follow on Instagram

I will announce the winner on Wednesday, June 5th. Good Luck!

To view pictures from this inspirational night click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AXJ2MxUOsg&feature=youtu.be

kauai warrior III

Finding Inspiration

I am honored to introduce Michelle Pino who offered to write an inspirational post in honor of National Women’s Week. Sweet Michelle works at Skana Spa in Upstate NY. She truthfully stated to me through e-mail: To me, the daily stresses and life’s challenges, make it so important to make health a priority and inspire us to treat our body right. That motivation morphed into habit once I knew how great taking care of myself felt!

I couldn’t agree more with Michelle. I will let her explain how she keeps health a priority:

Finding Healthy Inspiration

Typically used by wedding and event coordinators, inspiration boards are an assortment of different images that encourage you.  Inspiration boards can be used as a natural way of brainstorming.  Whether your goal is to plan a party or do a closet rehabilitation, inspiration boards will assist you in planning out the necessary steps required to make the process more streamlined.
Here are some easy guidelines to follow when creating an inspiration board:

1. Start looking for images.                                                                                                 This can be done on a poster board or electronically.  Electronically, you can search the web to search your favorite sites to find images.  If you’re creating a tangible poster board, clip images from catalogs or magazines.  The simplest way to do this is by making it a point to not look for any specific thing but rather find images that simply catch your eye.  With the right photos of fitness activities, relaxing destinations, recipes, health food or music lyrics, you can create the perfect inspiration board.

2. Find your focus.
What similarities do your gathered pictures have?  Do you notice a trend?  Is it a particular detail?  A color-scheme?  Find the picture that will be the centerpiece of your creation.

 3. Connect the images.                                                                                               Continue narrowing down your collected items to images that are a better connection to the centerpiece of your project.

 4. Mix it up.
Try a certain combination, look at it for a while and then try another.  Try different combinations of images.  Do this until you find one that satisfies you.  For fresh perspective, you may want to leave your project for a few hours, then come back to it.

 5. Begin creating your inspiration board.                                                                            You can bring your finished board with you when shopping for supplies or selecting new paint.  Don’t be shy about modifying your board as you go, particularly if you discover that some aspect of the board isn’t working and needs tweaking.

 Here is an example board:

Relaxing BoardPhoto Credit: New York Golf Club | Beach Yoga| Paintbrush | Cabin on the Lake |

What inspires me to be active and aspire to live a healthier life is the outdoors.  I love to travel and see new places.  To me, there’s no better feeling than enjoying the outdoors.  I’m really inspired by yoga for a number of reasons.  Yoga focuses the mind and body, teaching ourselves to find a spiritual balance.  I also love that yoga can be done anywhere, even the beach!  Simple yoga poses are simple stretches that can be done in the comfort of your own home or when traveling.  Yoga is great for beginners and the more advanced athlete.  I love the idea of doing yoga on the beach.  The beach is so relaxing, a great place for yoga or walking. 

The outdoors is what truly inspires me and I’ve used for the center of my inspiration.  I’ve been taking lessons near my work at New York golf club, Shenendoah, as a way to spend more time outside. Golf is great because not only is it less strenuous activity, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  Another relaxing activity I’d like to try is painting.  I think painting is a great stress reliever, even if you’re not an artist, it can be a relaxing hobby.

It’s hard to make lifestyle changes that stick over time.  The key to persisting with any healthy lifestyle is balance.  Whether you want to eat more organic food, start exercising daily or just master certain fitness goals, an inspiration board can help you figure out those goals and fine tune what makes you tick so that you stay focused on getting your health together.

Michelle Pino has provided these tips in hopes to educate others on how to lead a more motivating and less stressful life.  Michelle believes more focused approach put on our health will result in more balanced life.  Her hobbies include cooking, DIY projects and learning about healthy lifestyles.  Michelle is thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Alison and together share their ideas on “­­­­­­­­­Berry Happy Bodies”.

Thank you Michelle!