Health & Wellness

My Favorite Yoga Poses

Yoga Poses

My back has been bothering me for a couple of weeks now, which has meant no kickboxing for me. I never like missing my Saturday morning cardio workout because when I do finally return (four weeks later), I feel out of shape.

Determined to keep up some kind of exercise routine while not further aggravating my back, I turned to yoga. I have been going to yoga fairly regularly as of late, and with my back injury I have noticed an improvement in pain and mobility as a result of the stretching.

Here are the poses that have helped to ease my sore back:

1. Cat and Cow: This simple routine of rounding and arching your back while you are on all four’s is so easy to do. I instantly feel my lower back relaxing and a lot of tension leaving my shoulder and neck. To get the full benefit, remember to round your back on the inhale and arch your back on the exhale.

2. Child’s Pose: This is one of my favorite yoga poses, and I have found it to be a good stretch first thing in the morning or before bed. When the yoga class gets a bit too intense for me, this is the pose I retreat to—and my back thanks me for it!

3. Corpse: As the name implies, there isn’t much to this one. Just lie on your back with your palms facing the sky and let your body relax. You can also bring your knees to your chest and slowly rock from side-to-side for a gentle back massage. I like doing this one to conclude a yoga class.

4. Standing Half Forward Bend: Can’t quite get your hands on the floor? Don’t worry. This pose can be modified so you bring your hands to the front of your shins while stretching your torso. It is a great spine and lower back stretch.

5. Cobra Pose: The cobra pose is a gentle lower back stretch. Lying face down, use your arms to gently lift your upper body off the yoga mat. With your hips on the mat, come up only as far as you can without pain. I did this pose a couple of times in a sequence the other night and felt my shoulders, neck, and back loosen up.

As with any exercise routine, you should consult a physician before beginning. But if your doc gives you the green light, these are some easy poses to get you started and loosened up.

Low-Iodine Living

Low-Iodine Living

I will never complain about having to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner again!

That is what I’ve learned from being on the super restrictive low-iodine diet for the last five days. Oh, I’ve also learned that iodine is present in just about everything. Cereal? Yup! Dairy? You bet. All of the things that I would normally consume in the span of a day contain some degree of salt, and therefore iodine (you can read more about the low-iodine diet, here).

When the doctor’s office told me I would be going for an I-131 whole body scan, they only mentioned avoiding shellfish. Easy enough, or so I thought. Upon further investigation of the low-iodine diet, I found that there are a number of no-no’s aside from shellfish.

If you are reading this post and wondering what the heck all of this means, let me explain. Back in November, my antithyroglobulin numbers began to rise. My surgeon suggested that we wait until February and retest. So we did another round of blood work and another neck ultrasound. My antithyroglobulin went from 233 in November to 302 in February (it had been at 40 in early 2016). After a panel of physicians met and discussed my case and treatment options, they decided that I should have a radioactive scan of my whole body done to see if there is remaining thyroid tissue that is causing the numbers to increase…or something more serious.

Which brings me to the low-iodine diet. To get a proper reading from this scan, the body needs to be deprived (or starved) of iodine, so that when the radioactive iodine pills are administered, the thyroid cells will absorb the iodine (because they are starving), and glow on the scan.

Fortunately for me, I can continue taking my daily thyroid hormone replacement (Synthroid), thanks to the invention of Thyrogen, a synthetic drug that gets injected two days in a row prior to the scan.

Unfortunately for me, my surgeon is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Each day next week I must go into the City (a four-hour round-trip commute) to have blood drawn and the Thyrogen and radioactive iodine pills administered prior to the scan. Then I must undergo the scan itself.

Let’s hope that this anticipated Nor’Easter (predicted on the East Coast for next Tuesday and Wednesday) decides to go elsewhere, that I can last another week on this dreadful low-iodine diet, and that Friday, March 17th comes quickly.

Thyroid Yoga Functional Nutrition Intensive: A Recap

The Ash Center View

This is turning into quite the Wellness Week here on Living in Steil, with the introduction of the Thyroid Yoga Functional Nutrition Intensive earlier and then Heather’s incredible story of surviving mesothelioma. I am excited to give you all a recap of the amazing seminar with Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon that I went to last Saturday at The Ash Center.

The Ash Center is a tranquil space with breathtaking views, in Midtown Manhattan; although located in a bustling metropolis, it has an oasis-like atmosphere that is conducive to healing. When I first walked through the door I immediately began to feel my energy shift. The stress from the nearly two-hour commute from Long Island dissipated as I made my way to a cozy recliner by the window and began filling out a health questionnaire.

Upon arriving and seeing Fern’s warm smile and meeting Dr. Lyon and the other women who were about to embark on this wellness journey, I knew it was exactly where I should be—where I needed to be.

When I think back to this seminar, words like much-needed, life-changing and game-changer come to mind. I was excited to meet Dr. Lyon and I realized how much I needed to hear her words once I was there. One of the first things that Dr. Lyon said to our group of “wellness warriors” was that secrets keep you sick.

Want to know my secret? I am terrible when it comes to taking care of myself. Eating and proper nutrition have always been a struggle for me, and one which I preferred to avoid for longer than I should have. There, I said it.

Despite knowing better and being a cancer survivor, I buried my head in the sand when it came to food. Why? Because it seemed easier to just laugh it off and continue on my Starbucks diet; I didn’t want to be bothered learning how to eat right; picking up whatever was around on my way home from work was easier; and cooking seemed like a huge chore. Those were all of the lies I told myself to justify my actions. But who was I spiting? No one but myself, as I suffered and my body failed.

But I could no longer ignore how I was feeling—tired, sluggish, irritable—all the time. Of course, I immediately blamed my Synthroid and lack of a thyroid for these symptoms. However, the truth was that it was time to face the music that I was so desperate to tune out. My body was screaming—yelling at the top of its lungs—trying to tell me that despite its best efforts, it could no longer function on the lack of sleep and infrequent eating schedule that I had imposed on it.

When I went to The Ash Center last weekend, I walked in knowing that I had to change my ways—before it was too late. I was aware that I needed to be open, honest, and willing to accept that I would have to learn about nutrition and implement new eating habits.

Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

{Fern & Dr. Gabrielle Lyon}

Together, Fern and Dr. Lyon created an inviting atmosphere for each of us to tell our individual stories. I was struck by how in the span of minutes strangers could become survival sisters, as one person’s story was followed by another. At times, I felt my emotions getting the best of me, especially when it seemed like another woman had walked a mile in my shoes.

Ajai by Fern Olivia

{Fern’s incredible Ajai Alchemy line}

Once we shared our stories, Fern guided us on a Thyroid Yoga meditation aimed at recharging our endocrine system. We did breath-work and together chanted “Wahe Guru” before finishing our session. It was the perfect restorative practice to conclude the morning’s activities.

After a brief break for lunch, in which I found my way to BRGR and then a Juice Press (because the healthy smoothie compensates for having a burger for lunch, right?), Dr. Lyon began the next session where she discussed macronutrient recommendations for thyroid and hormonal health.

Dr. Lyon gave an overview of nutrition along with helpful handouts about the Elimination Diet and a food plan. Since my knowledge on nutrition is limited, I took copious notes—and have a lot of reading to do! One of her recommendations was that we eat 30 grams of protein at each meal—or 90 grams a day. My first reaction was, “How on earth am I going to eat 30 grams of protein at each meal?” That seemed like a lot for a girl who typically has coffee and a muffin on the run each morning. And having lunch and dinner in the same day? I tend to eat a late lunch and skip dinner, or skip lunch and have a big dinner—neither of which are healthy ways to eat.

Overall, I was impressed by Dr. Lyon’s entire approach to health and medicine. Over the last few years, I have spent considerable time seeing doctors in the medical community. And while I have found some are worth their weight in gold (like the one who found my thyroid nodule), most times I have walked away from my appointment with more questions than answers. The idea of curing the underlying ailment instead of merely treating the symptoms is a premise I whole heartedly support.

The Ash Center

I certainly found my tribe at The Ash Center and look forward to seeing Dr. Lyon after all of my thyroid testing is complete. I left that day ready to tackle the hard work that was in front of me, but motivated knowing that I had the power to change how I am feeling. With the tools that Fern and Dr. Lyon shared with me, I have already effected some changes. For starters, I make sure to eat three meals a day and I have incorporated both fruits and vegetable into my daily routine. Although I haven’t made it to the magical 30 grams of protein at any meal yet, I have curbed my sweet tooth and cut back on carbohydrates. In addition, I started practicing yoga again and made daily meditation a ritual before bed.

While I may not be able to reverse the damage already done to my body, I can pave the way to a healthier future one meal at a time—and offer myself some self-love by repeating this affirmation: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

Fern Olivia at The Ash Center

A big thank you to Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon for this transformative day!

Interested in working with Fern? She will be hosting a Pure Yoga – Thyroid Yoga™ Training Immersion on Friday, April 28th, Saturday, April 29th, and Sunday, April 30th.

Here’s some information about the training immersion:

Thyroid Yoga™ artfully infuses wisdom from western and eastern medical perspectives to create a total healing approach, founded by thyroid expert and master teacher, Fern Olivia Langham.

Trained in Biomedical Engineering, now a renowned teacher and speaker on the power of integrative medicine and intuitive self-healing, Fern Olivia has guided retreats, experiences and classes worldwide.

Thyroid Yoga™ has been endorsed by leading medical doctors as a proven way to help restore and realign the energetic and biochemical mechanisms that influence thyroid functioning.

Become a Thyroid Yoga™ certified practitioner today to deepen your own knowledge and gain the confidence to create your own ripple effect of health and healing in our global community.
The benefits of this unique immersion go far beyond “another certification.”

After completion of this training, participants come away equipped with the tools and resources to confidently provide value-added offerings and resources for their clients and students, and have a deep and broad understanding of how the thyroid is supporting using integrative and holistic therapies.

If you want to expand your work in the world and learn from renowned healers at a one-of-a-kind teacher training with a world-class yoga institution, sign up for the Thyroid Yoga™ Training Immersion and Workshop today!

Please contact Fern Olivia at love@thyroid.yoga if you have any questions.

Connected by Cancer: Heather’s Story

The one thing I did not anticipate when I started my blog almost three years ago this month was the amazing community that I was about to join. While I enjoy creating content, connecting with other like-minded women—many who have inspired me with the multiple hats they wear—has probably been the most rewarding part of the whole experience for me as a blogger.

When I began my blog in February of 2014, I was a 26 year-old thyroid cancer survivor who was looking for a creative outlet. I wanted to share my experience with others and to educate young women on the importance of taking care of themselves and seeing their doctor for a yearly physical. It was during a routine exam that my thyroid nodule was discovered. Needless to say, I am grateful for early detection and the thoroughness of my doctor who did a neck check as part of his rundown.

In those early days as a survivor, I felt like I was stranded on an island. Friends my age were at various stages of their lives—whether it was climbing the corporate ladder, getting married, or starting a family. By contrast, I was fending for myself and figuring out what my next steps would be after surgery as a young cancer survivor.

Fortunately, those next steps led me to blogging. They also allowed me to cross paths with the exact group of people that I was seeking—a group that spoke the language I had spent the last six months learning. The survivor group is one that no one would pledge to join, but offers a lifetime membership.

As a member in the “cancer survivor group,” I do my best to promote awareness, not just of thyroid cancer, but other cancers, too (my grandmother is a 2x breast cancer survivor, and had her second mastectomy at the age of 86—talk about #bosslady!). So, of course, when a fellow cancer survivor reaches out to me, I am always touched and more than willing to help.

Here’s Heather’s story:

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When I got Heather’s email a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk at work. It didn’t take me long before I closed the email and went to her website to read her story. After a few emails back-and-forth, I knew I wanted to share Heather’s story and be a part of her Lung Leavin’ Day celebration. I was moved by her grace, strength, and optimism throughout her journey.

Heather was 36 years-old when she discovered she had malignant pleural mesothelioma, a diagnosis that came just three months after giving birth to her daughter. Although she had been feeling off during her pregnancy, Heather and her husband Cameron thought it was something minor that could be easily treated. They never imagined that the diagnosis would be one in which the prognosis could be a mere 15 months to live.

Heather and her husband hurried to find a specialist who would offer Heather the best chance of survival. Their search led them to a renowned surgeon based in Boston who removed Heather’s left lung.

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Now, eleven years later, Heather is a wife, mother, mesothelioma survivor, cancer research advocate, and a blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. She shares her story to promote awareness, offer other survivors hope, and serve as a resource for newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients.

I wanted to share Heather’s story today to help raise awareness; it also offered me hope in my own journey. In November, my antithyroglobulin levels (which can be an indicator of a possible thyroid cancer recurrence) started rising. They were significantly elevated when I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but they began dropping as soon as my thyroid was removed. During my thyroidectomy, my surgeon removed six lymph nodes from my neck—all tested negative for cancer—except one. I took the “watch and wait” option and did not have radioactive iodine after my surgery. For the last three years, the antithyroglobulin numbers had been steadily declining—so much so that I rarely thought of them when I would get my routine blood work back. But that day in November, I opened my results and was shocked to see the number well outside of the normal range. I called my surgeon the next day and arranged for follow-up testing. I had a neck ultrasound done in November, which came back clean, and my surgeon recommended that we wait three months and retest.

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Well—here we are—three months later. As I read Heather’s story, I was reminded of my own battle. I remembered all of the fears that came along with my diagnosis and the new ones that flooded my mind about a recurrence. Seeing those numbers spike was like ripping a bandage off a wound that lacked time to heal.

So as I await my fate in the next coming days and hopefully get some answers, Heather is celebrating what she has dubbed Lung Leavin’ Day on February 4th (her 11th cancerversary is February 2nd, so please keep her in your prayers). To help Heather celebrate, click here to write your biggest fear on a plate and see it smash (virtually) right before your eyes. I can’t think of a better way to offer hope then that. I wrote my fear on a plate the other night—that I will never be healthy—and felt this cathartic rush come over me when I saw the plate break into pieces. It was probably the first time that I verbalized my big fear in life. Seeing those pieces break reminded me that I needed to shatter my mindset and remember to be positive and optimistic. I hope you will join us in this celebration!

Connect with Heather on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter!

Thyroid Yoga Functional Nutrition Intensive in NYC

Fern Olivia

Happy Friday! Apologies for not sticking to my usual posting schedule this week and last. I promise, moving forward I will be back on my game.

As I mentioned in recent posts, looming thyroid tests have me feeling more like Nervous Nessie than Valiant Vanessa. But I am hoping that an event happening in New York City this weekend with the lovely thyroid guru, Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon at The Ash Center, will have me feeling better than ever. So, if you are in the New York City area on Saturday, January 28th….and are free from 10:30 am – 4:30 pm…and want to learn more about thyroid health, then register for this event!

When Fern first mentioned this event to me, I knew it would be an amazing opportunity. For starters, I have wanted to meet Dr. Lyon and see The Ash Center for a while. And since I have been feeling all kinds of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion, the timing could not have been better.

The Ash Center focuses on a comprehensive approach to healing and well-being, offering patients treatments tailored to fit their specific health concerns. As someone who is struggling with low energy, rising antithyroglobulin levels, and the possibility of a thyroid cancer recurrence, I am excited to learn from both Fern and Dr. Lyon how to better manage my overall health and find ways to help my body in the absence of a functioning thyroid. I have had little success in working with endocrinologists to help me gain my stamina after my thyroidectomy, so I am hopeful that this half-day intensive workshop will provide me with answers and lead me down a new path.

The day will begin with learning about the thyroid and its function, followed by a meditation led by Fern to boost the endocrine system, and lots of time for Q&A and opportunities to get to know other participants in attendance.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (@livinginsteil), where I will share the activities as the day unfolds. I will be doing a follow-up post next week with all that I learned from Fern and Dr. Lyon…so stay tuned!

*Image courtesy of Fern Olivia

Thyroid Thursday: Awareness Efforts

thyroid-cancer-awareness

It’s the end of September…and you know what that means. Today is the final installment of Thyroid Thursday. I hope that you have enjoyed learning from Fern Olivia as much as I have and that together we have been able to answer any thyroid questions you may have had.

As part of the awareness efforts happening this month, Eisai, Inc. will donate $1 to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association and Light of Light Foundation (up to $20K) for every butterfly-hug photo shared on social media. You can still partake, and it’s an easy way to get involved and help this worthy cause. Don’t forget to get your photos up before the end of the month and tag your photo #TruthAboutTC on Instagram.

If you are looking for more information about thyroid cancer, the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association is hosting their annual conference in Los Angeles from Oct 21 – 23, 2016. There you will hear from doctors about new treatments and meet with other survivors.

And remember, Fern Olivia will be hosting her Thyroid Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles from November 3 – 6, 2016. Click here for more information and to sign up. Receive a $100 scholarship when you apply and mention the code: LIVINGINSTEIL.

As for me, I will have a follow-up with my endocrinologist in November, when I go for routine blood work and a neck ultrasound. Here’s hoping that all of my thyroid levels are where they should be.

Thank you for your support and remember to check your neck!

Thyroid Thursday: Fern Olivia’s Daily Rituals To Improve Thyroid Health

I’m always looking for ways to carve out a little “me” time in my busy schedule. When I came across a post that Fern Olivia wrote about her daily rituals, I knew it was something that I needed to read, and also wanted to share with the readers of this blog. I love how Fern makes taking care of her mind and body a priority, and I hope you find her routine and the products she uses as insightful as I did.

And remember, there is only one more installment of Thyroid Thursday after this week (how is it already the end of September?). Leave those questions in the comments section, and I will devote next week’s final Thyroid Thursday to answering them!

Now, here’s Fern!

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{Photo Credit: Fern Olivia}

Beauty is the healing food I nourish myself with, the sensual alchemy that kisses my skin, the gorgeous friends I choose to enjoy time with, the sacred home I have created, and the healing experiences I treat myself lavishly with every day. Beauty is taking care of myself in the most loving and kindhearted way. I have a big purpose on this planet, and I need to feel my best to give my best — I know that I have to keep up!

Here’s how I do it:

A.M. Ritual

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{Nicole Granato/Moon Deck}

My beauty ritual begins the moment I open my eyes and mentally say a prayer of gratitude. Then, I prepare herbal loose leaf from my friend Nicole Granato — she has an organic hibiscus rose petal tea that is just so beautiful. During my recent visit to Aja Malibu Latigo Canyon, I had the gift of receiving an intimate tour of the property’s biodynamic vegetable and medicinal herb gardens with the beautiful founder, Iannya Magick. As I picked and tasted whole herbs fresh from the earth, I felt reconnected to the beauty of life. Returning home, I have made infusing my tea and lemon water with fresh herbs a daily beauty ritual.

Each morning, I also pick a card from my Moon Deck, a beautiful intuitive oracle set created by my friends Aarona Ganesan and Andrea Keh. It is such a lovely way to connect to intuition through the path of self-love and ritual.

Then it’s a run out my front door, through the sand, into the cool Pacific Ocean. Splashing in the waves invigorates me and stimulates my lymphatic system — and as a bonus, cold water plunges are incredible for immune health. I’ve noticed that I feel significantly more energized when I have my ocean plunge first thing in the morning.

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{Photo Credit: Alicia Panetta}

I cleanse my face and body with manuka honey, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. I apply a healing mask depending on what I feel I need, and massage my face with facial crystals from Benshen. Then, I moisturize with Solar Sun Protect, a skin protectant from my own organic beauty apothecary, Ajai Alchemy, made from all organic essential oils in a base of carrot oil and coconut oil to protect my skin. Living in Los Angeles and traveling frequently to sunny destinations such as Sedona, Hawaii, and the Cayman Islands, I made this to give my skin some extra love as I spend my days practicing and teaching yoga on the beach. I apply Radiance Hair Serum to my hair, which keeps my beach curls wild and sexy without the frizz.

Thyroid Yoga

Sadhana, or daily practice, is a must for me, and it’s a pillar that I talk about in my Thyroid Yoga course. It’s a nonnegotiable holy practice that reminds me that I am worthy before I go out into the world — and yes, that means before I turn on my phone and check email or my Instagram feed.

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{Photo Credit: Alexa Gray Photography}

I start every practice by applying Grace Alchemy, another one of my own creations, to my thyroid gland, tracing the infinity sign horizontally and massaging my lymph nodes — it serves as a luxurious reminder that I am a radiant, beautiful woman and that treating myself with love is very important. Once I have applied my alchemy to my neck, I begin my daily sequence, which I go over in the videos during my course. My practice includes chanting, yoga asana, breathwork, and meditation. Depending on what my day looks like, it could range anywhere from 20 minutes to over two hours!

Often I will kick my practice up a notch and join my teachers Guru Jagat and Harmanjot Kaur at Ra Ma Institute in Venice, and when I’m too lazy to leave my Zen den (because yes, sometimes I’ve stayed out too late), then I can catch the classes streaming on Ra Ma TV.

Superfood Smoothie

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{Moon Juice}

I follow a 12-hour intermittent fast from the time of my last meal the night before until the next day after my sadhana, and I like to keep things light in the morning. I’ve found that works best for my body type and energy levels. To make sure I’m getting enough protein, I add Dana James’ Beauti-Fuel into my morning green smoothie. My go-to is matcha, hemp seeds, a few very generous dashes of cinnamon, a tablespoon of coconut butter, half a frozen banana, and schisandra berry and pearl from Moon Juice. Since my friend Amanda Chantal Bacon mentioned these were her beauty secret weapons, I’ve been hooked ever since.

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{Body + Eden}

I also blend in organic raw probiotic from microbiome expert Body + Eden. This is the ultimate beauty food! Why? Beauty begins in the gut — when we’re not digesting our food properly, we feel puffy, bloated, foggy, our skin breaks out, and we get sick. More potent than a capsule, naturally fermented herbs and superfoods allow for easy assimilation and better absorption of minerals and nutrients while helping your body replenish its beneficial gut bacteria.

If I feel like I need a bit more energy for the day ahead, I top my smoothie with a sprinkle of bee pollen, one of my favorite beauty superfoods.

Midday: Meetings & Turmeric Lattes

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{Fern Olivia, Thyroid Yoga Recipe Book: You Nourish You}

Typically I head out in the late morning or early afternoon to work out of a coffee shop or cafe in Venice — you can find me setting up shop at Butcher’s Daughter or Plant Food and Wine on Abbot Kinney, sipping on green juice and turmeric lattes.

Before I go out, I like to apply makeup that gives me a dewy, natural glow. I use only organic products on my face and body. If I wouldn’t consume it, it’s not going on my sacred skin! My favorite beauty products are W3ll People, Vapor, and Kjaer Weiss. I’m obsessed with CAP Beauty, Net-a-Porter, the apothecary at ABC Carpet & Home, The Detox Market, and Goop, too, as sites to buy from.

Afternoon: Goddess Time

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{Alyson Charles Rockstar Shaman}

One of the pillars of my healing regime is to luxuriously treat myself with loving care. This means getting a massage weekly, acupuncture, facials, and a spa mani and pedi. If I’m feeling extra artistic, I’ll paint my own nails with The Blessed Power Set, a gorgeous five-free set of nail lacquers blessed by Alyson Charles Rockstar Shaman. Or you’ll find me taking a midday pamper session at Olive + June, a beautiful nail spa in Los Angeles.

P.M. Ritual

I feel extremely lucky to be a five-minute bike ride from Erehwon, a chic grocery market stocked with beautiful aisles of only the cleanest and purest sustainable foods. I recently became a member and I’m obsessed — I’m in there every day picking up superfoods and fresh produce. It’s here where I get my daily fix of Elissa’s Thyroid Juice, a beautiful elixir made with dandelion greens, parsley, ginger, and other potent healing ingredients.

I love cooking and preparing my own foods, so much so that I recently became inspired to write a recipe book after serving up foods as chef on one of my recent retreats. I’ve birthed the Thyroid Yoga Recipe Book: You Nourish You, with gorgeous photography and additional recipes featured by Parsley Health founder Dr. Robin Berzin; expert Ayurvedic practitioner Tina Paymaster; plant-based chef and healer Cassandra Bozdak; and I’m very excited to share it with you. It’s all about intuitive eating and intuitive cooking, topics I am so passionate about teaching.

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{Photo Credit: Eve Bregman Photography}

Living on the beach in Venice, I feel called to catch magic hour with a sunset stroll. An evening meditation is a gift I give myself and a much-needed break from my work. I take my massive rose quartz from Sedona with me to the ocean and charge it up in mamma blue. Bubble baths with organic bath salts set me up for a restful beauty sleep. In my bath, you’ll find Pursoma Après Savasana Soak, plus some rose petals from a bouquet I bought myself just because. I light candles, burn sage and incense, and listen to the special bath playlist I created with soothing beats, earth sounds, and sacred sound currents by the talented Aya and Tyler, White Sun, DTO Music, Aykanna, and Mirabai Ceiba.

After a soothing bath, I massage virgin coconut oil all over my body with a few drops of my Grace serum — I love smelling like love when I go to bed! The scent is an aphrodisiac, sexy and so beautiful. It is such a simple pleasure, and I sleep like a baby. Oh, and I have to sleep naked. It feels incredibly liberating and is one of my body-love beauty rituals. Try it; you’ll never want to wear anything to bed again!

As I sleep, I have a mantra playing softly in the background. I play Antarjamee by Ajeet Kaur on repeat — her voice is angelic! I also love the new White Sun II album — it’s next level healing!

*This post was written by Fern Olivia and originally published on mindbodygreen.

Thyroid Thursday: Thyroid Yoga Teacher Training with Fern Olivia

I am delighted to share about Fern Olivia’s upcoming Thyroid Yoga training today. If you have been struggling with an ailment or just want a better understanding of how to feel your best, Fern’s training is for you. With two convenient ways to attend, either in person in Los Angeles, California or streaming online, you don’t want to miss this event from November 3 – 6, 2016. Read on to hear more about the benefits from Fern!

Thyroid Yoga Teacher Training with Fern Olivia

Finally understand your thyroid + gain the confidence to speak your truth: A Comprehensive Immersion Opportunity with Fern Olivia and Thyroid.Yoga™

Fern Olivia was inspired to create the Thyroid.Yoga™ program after she battled against her body and the discomfort of chronic congestion, puffiness, brain fog, constipation, food allergies, and severe stomach irritability for nearly a decade. She struggled to understand her own Hashimoto’s hypothyroid symptoms before finally learning how to feel better and successfully put her condition into remission.

After hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars traveling from doctor to doctor feeling like a lost patient completely disconnected from her body, she thought to herself, “I studied biomechanics and neuroscience, with a degree in biomedical engineering. Why can’t I figure this out?” Turns out, she could, but in an unexpected place.

Yoga became the catalyst for her healing and on her mat, she became her own intuitive healer and alchemist. She began diving deep into the practices of asana (movement), pranayama (breath) and mantra (chanting) and became astounded with the profound energy, clarity, and joy she began experiencing in her life.

The yoga that became the catalyst wasn’t just any yoga class. There were particular kriyas, or sequences, that began to shift her health in a profound new way.

As she became devoted to her sadhana, or daily practice, consisting of yoga asana from Kundalini and Katonah yoga lineages, meditation, and holistic lifestyle rituals, she not only felt clear-headed, but also safe, comforted and loved. She experienced feelings she had been lacking in her life and realized that these practices allowed her to connect with herself in a way that she hadn’t been able to elsewhere. She found immense strength through her own journey and realized that her body had been screaming at her so long, just asking her to listen.

Now, she has created a one-of-a-kind method, combining ancient healing modalities, and made it her career to empower men and women to tap into their own intuitive wisdom and live their most vibrant, healthy, fulfilled life, too. She has witnessed astounding results – women who had not had their period in over two years would finally menstruate again, and those who hadn’t been able to conceive found themselves pregnant. Those who felt that nagging belly bloat would begin to lose the stubborn weight and finally love their bodies, and found a renewed pleasure in eating. Those struggling with cancer and chronic autoimmune disease felt harmony in their life again, something they thought they had lost forever.

After years of teaching her Thyroid.Yoga™ method and becoming awestruck by the rapid results in hundreds of her students during classes, retreats and one-on-one work together, she knew her greater purpose was to train teachers about this wisdom and create a ripple effect in their own communities. Teachers and practitioners have the power to inspire and guide in a profound way.

For the sake of the health of our planet that is cringing under the immense pressure of our time, we must teach healing practices deeper than a traditional asana (movement) practice. We must get to the root of the pain and symptoms we’ve been experiencing – and complement our asana and kriya practices such as Akashic record, shamanic healing, astrology, EFT and Sat Nam Rasayan® will get us to a deeper place of understanding – ultimately healing us on an even deeper level, and giving us the tools to show up in the world with more life force, clarity, and confidence in our gifts.

For these powerful reasons, Fern is offering her Thyroid.Yoga™ training as a comprehensive immersion taking place from November 3-6, 2016 in Los Angeles at RA MA Institute for Applied Yogic Sciences & Technology. It will provide practitioners with a deep understanding of the powerful tools and technologies to intuitively support their own health and the health of their community, as well as to support recovery from imbalances affecting the thyroid and the glandular system. This experience will give participants the confidence to share these potent practices. This training will also be available virtually through streaming on RA MA TV. All attendees will receive a training manual with resources and handouts from each session as well as the video recordings to watch for life.

The benefits from this unique immersion go far beyond “another certification”. After completion of this training, participants will come away equipped with the tools and resources to confidently add the Thyroid.Yoga™ practitioner stamp to their website and materials. Each will be provided with a signature Thyroid.Yoga™ program tool kit for inspiration and guidance on how to provide value-added offerings and resources for their clients and students and support their own journey to sustained life force.

Fern Olivia and her guest expert teachers are excited to train you in the teachings and healing modalities that will bring major abundance and prosperity to you as a teacher or healer as you serve as a catalyst in the accelerated healing of all those who you work with and your own sustained life force.

The Thyroid.Yoga™ comprehensive immersion in November includes the following interactive training classes:

-The Daily Thyroid Yoga Sadhana: Healing Hormonal Imbalance So You Can Thrive, Prosper, and Embody Your Higher Self
-Glandular Glow: A Complete Endocrine System Reboot for Unparalleled Health and Vibrancy
-Anatomy of The Throat Chakra: Ways of Altering Physical Limitations
-Ancient Wisdom That Heals: The Ayurvedic Approach To Healing The 5th Chakra
-Circadian Biology: Optimizing your Internal Clock For a Whole-Body Approach to Improving Thyroid Function
-The Mathematics of Thyroid Health: Understanding your Numbers and The Story They Tell
-Wahe Guru Kriya for Thyroid Health
-Integrative Thyroid Healing: Western & Eastern Perspectives on Thyroid Disease and Healing
-Exploring Asana, Pranayama and Meditation and Relationship of the Spine to The Throat, Head, Neck With Focus On the Pituitary Gland
-Healing Your 5th Chakra with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
-Unspoken Words and Our Inherent Wisdom
-Loving Your Throat Chakra & Sacred Sexuality
-Introduction to Sat Nam Rasayan® Healing
-Akashic Record and Shamanic Healing for the 5th Chakra
-Evolutionary Astrology: A Journey of Self-Expression Through the 12 Signs
-Creating a Foundation for Expansion and Growing Your Business With your Authentic Voice
-Integrating Thyroid Yoga Teachings and Creating Programs and Partnerships That Will Expand Your Business & Prosperity

The line-up of outstanding guest experts across multiple healing modalities include:

Guru Jagat, Owner and Senior Kundalini Yoga Teacher at Ra Ma Institute, Ra Ma TV, Owner Ra Ma Global
Harmanjot Kaur, Lead Kundalini Yoga Teacher at Ra Ma Institute
Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, Nutritional Therapist
Ramesh Tarun Narine, Craniosacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, Bodyworker
Dr. Aunna Pourang, MD, Integrative Medicine, Ayurveda
Tina Paymaster, Ayurvedic and EFT Practitioner, Emotional Eating, Stress, Anxiety, Digestive Health
Adriana Rizzolo, Intuitive Healer, Yoga/Meditation, Reiki Master, Bodyworker
Josefina Bashout, Akashic Record Practitioner
Megan Zimring, Certified Evolutionary Astrologer and Soul Empowerment Guide
Charmaine Hamp, Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, Hypnobirthing Coach
Cassandra Bozdak, Author, Spiritual Life Coach

If you are someone who deeply cares about your health and the health of this planet, this training is for you.

In addition to learning about your own thyroid health and your entire glandular and nervous system health with the featured expert Nutritionists, Functional Medicine Doctors and Ayurvedic Practitioners, you will understand the powerful practices of Sat Nam Rasayan®, Emotional Freedom Technique, Akashic Record and Astrology, and Kundalini Yoga and how these modalities can be applied to understand the energetic body and releasing deep seated patterns of fear, self-doubt, and limiting beliefs so you can liberate yourself and all those who may come to you for healing work. If any of this sparks your interest, we’d love to hear from you.

Share this opportunity with anyone who may be suffering from thyroid disease or a chronic autoimmune condition. This is not about creating a band-aid fix, this is about creating an environment for true, sustained healing.

Please contact love@thyroid.yoga if you have any questions about this exciting opportunity to expand your work in the world and attend this one-of-a-kind teacher training with a world-class yoga institution and renowned healers.

Apply here: http://thyroid.yoga/products/teachertraining

Receive a $100 scholarship when you apply and mention code: LIVINGINSTEIL

Thyroid Thursday: A Guest Post on The Truth About Thyroid Cancer

This week marks the second installment of Thyroid Thursday, a weekly series in September to support Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Today, Fern Olivia describes what’s associated with the increased rates of thyroid disease and cancer…especially amongst women. Remember to leave any thyroid or health-related questions that you would like her to answer in the comments section below. Read on to hear more from Fern!

The Truth About Thyroid Cancer - Fern Olivia

Why are more people, especially women, struggling with thyroid health today? And why is thyroid cancer on the rise?

In 2016, the National Cancer Institute estimated 64,300 new cases of thyroid cancer, which is the eighth most prevalent type of cancer, right above kidney cancer and leukemia. You probably know someone with a thyroid disease or cancer, maybe even a few people. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re part of a ripple effect of empowerment, and this article may change your life.

So please, read on and share this information with everyone who may benefit.

Experts don’t always know what causes each individual case of thyroid cancer, when a malignant tumor or nodule builds up in the thyroid. But like other cancers, we can agree that changes in the DNA of your cells seem to play a role. These DNA changes may include changes that are inherited as well as those that “happen as you get older.” But what does this even mean? And why are more and more young adults and children being diagnosed with these cancers?

We carry DNA from our biological parents, and these genes may be turned off, especially when we live a clean lifestyle with minimal stress. Oftentimes, however, these genes turn on or become expressed. And from my work with hundreds of clients with thyroid disease and thyroid cancer, I’ve seen a pattern of triggers from a major trauma or life incident, to a cancer onset somewhere else in the body that results in weakening the immune system, and most commonly, major chronic stress on the glandular system and microbiome.

According to Raphael Kellman, M.D., founder of the Kellman Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine, thyroid disease and the microbiome, the bacteria balance within the intestines, are intricately intertwined, and imbalances can set off a cyclical reaction. And until recently, this very important connection has been overlooked.

This may be precisely the reason you may still feel terrible even while being on the thyroid hormone replacement your doctors may have given you. If the microbiome isn’t being healed and strengthened, the thyroid condition may persist and eventually, if the immune and glandular systems have had a recent trauma or the body has been exposed to significant radiation exposure, thyroid cancer cells may turn on.

In functional and integrative medicine, contrary to the Western medicine model, the emphasis is always on healing the gut (intestines) and balancing the colonies of bacteria that live there called the microbiome. Trillions of bacteria live on us and in us with the largest concentration located in the intestine, where 70 percent of our immune system also lives.

In practical terms, when the bacteria that make up our microbiome are healthy and thriving, so are we. Dysbiosis, or imbalances and overgrowth of unfriendly strains of bacteria, can throw things off, contributing to health and immune issues — including cancer.

So, how did the imbalances happen?

Many of us were given antibiotics as children, and oftentimes we weren’t given high strains of probiotics to counter the effect. Overmedicating with antibiotics and antacids destroys microbial populations. Environmental toxins, pesticides, heavy metal exposure, and chemicals in beauty and cleaning supplies also take a major toll, which is the reason I created Ajai Alchemy, a conscious, eco-sustainable beauty brand that actually works to heal your body on a cellular level using pure essential oils and zero chemicals.

Everything we put in and on our bodies can positively or negatively affect our health. Poor diets of sugary foods, refined carbs, GMOs, gluten, pesticides, and chemical additives cause pathogenic strains to flourish. Over time, the gut is weakened and disease manifests within the physical body.

There are two main reasons more people, especially women, are struggling with thyroid health today, and why thyroid disease and thyroid cancer have become more prevalent.

First, our bodies are out of balance. We’re being hit with so many chemicals and toxins that simply didn’t exist generations ago.

Parabens, carcinogens, heavy metals, and GMOs are all bombarding our bodies, and our immune and lymphatic systems can’t keep up!

Then add adrenal fatigue into the mix, which is affecting so many more women today because we have an unbelievable amount of added stress to be wonder women. On top of the chronic stress of always trying to be perfect, our poor eating habits have caught up to us and weakened our digestive system to a point where we see food allergies pop up all over the place. Years of oral contraception have thrown our hormones out of their natural rhythm, and we are finally just seeing now how altering our hormones for years was not really a smart choice.

Our thyroid is the major control center in our bodies, so clearly when we are so out of whack due to the stress placed upon us by our environment, work, and toxins that have taken over our endocrine system, we just can’t keep up. Our bodies go into survival mode, just fighting to find a little bit of balance.

The second reason is a bit more subtle and often something that your doctor may have never presented to you. Many women and men have the fear of communicating their needs and desires, feel unheard at work or in their relationships, or feel afraid to do what they really love and express themselves creatively.

Why does this matter when we are talking about the thyroid?

I have noticed in my practice that many women have manifested thyroid conditions because of a long pattern of not speaking up or feeling blocked creatively. Often, I’ve seen clients who were physically or emotionally abused and have held the trauma inside, afraid to speak up, and even repeating the same situations again, feeling unworthy of being heard, or asking for and receiving the love and support they truly desired.

Are you experiencing something similar? Have your physical symptoms slightly improved with nutrition, lifestyle shifts, or medication, but you just can’t seem to feel 100 percent better? Can you recognize any areas of struggle in your life where you’ve been unable to speak your ideas and truth without being judged, shamed, or criticized? Do you find yourself allowing others to speak without expressing your voice because you are afraid of what they may say or how they may perceive you?

We are approaching a major shift in global consciousness, one in which we are beginning to speak our empowered truth about our intuition, our gifts, and our needs. Thyroid conditions and thyroid cancers have been showing up more and more frequently because we are being called upon to raise our consciousness and become leaders in this world. Our bodies are literally saying “Hey, this blockage here, I’m sick of you not being true to you, I want you to finally speak up, it’s not OK to be silent about what has happened to you, it is time for you to clear the past trauma and become your powerful, confident self!” and it’s about time we listen!

Your emotional health certainly helps shape the way your body functions, right down to a cellular level, and science is now catching up with what ancient medical modalities have been explaining for years. Chinese medicine has forever loved to focus on the emotional relationship of the organs, and in many illnesses, successful treatment of conditions and ailments lie in the resolution of emotional issues. Along with other ancient healing wisdom modalities including Ayurveda, the science of life, Kundalini yoga, and Pranayama, we can really begin to start understanding how the physical and energetic body are connected.

Intrigued? You can learn more about my one-of-a-kind thyroid support method in my mindbodygreen course and dive even deeper with me and the world’s leading thyroid healing experts in my upcoming Thyroid Yoga teacher training happening in L.A. this fall and streaming globally.

*This post was written by Fern Olivia and originally published on mindbodygreen. Photo: Alicia Panetta, Blue Velvet Studios.

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month – September 2016

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month – September 2016

As you may know, thyroid cancer and I have a personal connection. In 2013, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma. I was 26 years old at the time. You can read my full story, here.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It has no care who you are or what your age or background is. It can strike at any time – without warning or notice – as it did in my case. But there are resources out there that can help patients cope with the difficult diagnosis.

When I was first diagnosed, I reached out to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (ThyCa) for free information and support. ThyCa is a wonderful organization to consult with during your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. They were so instrumental in my journey that I became a member and also a thyroid cancer advocate.

Since September marks Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, it is only natural that I do my part to share my experience and the knowledge I have learned since becoming a survivor. This year, I am excited to welcome Fern Olivia to the blog to help me with this mission.

Fern is a holistic healer. For years, she had suffered with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and saw countless doctors with no result. She then took matters into her own hands and learned to listen to her body. I met Fern a few months ago at the Montauk Magic retreat she hosted and I am delighted to have her share her wisdom here on this site with you and the thyroid community.

During the month of September, I will have Thyroid Thursday each week on the blog. Together with Fern, I hope that I can create a dialogue about thyroid conditions and awareness on this site. Please leave questions for Fern in the comment section, which can include topics that you would like to learn more about. This month has five Thursday’s, which means lots of opportunities to answer your questions. You can also reach out to Fern (@fernolivia) or myself (@livinginsteil) on Instagram and Twitter.

I will be sharing more ways that you can get involved with Thyroid Cancer Awareness this month. Stay tuned!

*Image via ThyCa