Transformation, Yoga

What’s the Deal with Energy Healing?

Energy Healing is no longer just a hot topic in metaphysics, “new age” philosophy and followers of alchemy or pagan beliefs. It is “entering” the yoga field too. More and more yoga studios are offering Reiki training as well. We see places around town carrying crystal and stone for healing, even be retail is getting on the energy healing train carrying necklaces and earrings that carry real or artificial versions of this all natural way of living. 

Two points I really want to cover here are 1. Energy healing is a huge part of yoga, not the classic American yoga but of the ancient natural healing that has been around for over 5,000 years and many other practices as well – this isn’t “new age” this is old age stuff and it shows up almost every religion. 2. The process of energy healing is not that the crystals heal you or another person heals you – its that they help you in the healing process, if you don’t allow the healing to happen (which means you have to participate at a certain level) then it typically won’t happen.

Within Yoga, energy is addressed as chakras and pranayama, that there is energy within us, energy blockages, energy building with yoga postures (like tai chi builds and gets your energy flowing), energy calming with restorative. We now tie a lot of this with stress management. What is stress in the body or mind but negative energy? This is why yoga (and other empowering practices) focuses on having the person themselves pushing through the [energy] change. You are moving your body to transform the negative energy into calm, fire or regulation. These can also be described with the four elements of Earth, Water, Air & Fire. 

Many religions refer to the light within. Growing your light, Sharing your light. Pictures of holy figures with light at their hands, surrounding their body or head. Often text refer to light and love interchangeably and ask you to let the light of you or someone else (referring to a loving or wise future) to guide you. 

You have light within you. Some of our inner candles may need more oil, but it is there and you can ask for help and guidance, you just have to open the door and trust your own lamp and light. So often we reach for crystals and other objects or people because we don’t have the confidence in our own ability to heal. Be sure that it is because you want help and you need someone to hold your hand and walk beside you, not that you want to play follow the leader. A healer is a guide, someone who has done an intense amount of healing on themselves and is committed to guiding to and sharing the light.

Know that you are so much more than you think. You are an energetic being having a human experience. 

Step into your own light. 

Your Coach & Yoga Therapist,

Izzy Nalley


Breathing Yourself Happier

Utah has long been touted at being the happiest state in America, while paradoxically ranking amongst the highest in the nation for suicides and anti-depressant use. Long-standing theories on why this trend effects Utah and other nearby states have ranged from cultural influences to rural living and higher rates of gun ownership.

However, University of Utah Professor of Psychiatry Perry Renshaw’s research is showing that something much more basic may behind these somewhat incompatible rankings: altitude.

Neurotransmitter: any of several chemical substances, as epinephrine or acetylcholine, that transmit nerve impulses across a small gap in the brain to a nerve, muscle, or gland.

“I think if you look at the maps they would show these very funny phenomenon of people both largely feeling good but also feeling bad. It really is the mountain areas that are implicated. And, as you can imagine, across the intermountain west there are states with quite different regional variations and cultures. So just looking at oxygen in the air seemed like one simple way to begin to try to understand what might be happening,” Renshaw said.

When Renshaw first moved to Utah he says he was shown a map of the United States, plotted on it were suicide rates.

“Because I had this fixation on altitude, we got on the internet and looked up the altitude of states and sort of plotted things out. There was this amazingly strong correlation between altitude and rates of suicide,” he said.

Renshaw, who studies neural chemistry using brain imaging techniques, eventually calculated that as much as 25 percent of the variation in rates of suicide across the nation could be uniquely attributed to changes in altitude. Eventually, he decided to focus his research on how high altitudes, and the resulting lower oxygen levels, affect how people’s brains work.

“There are some critical neurotransmitters in the brain that help the brain communicate within itself. One of them is serotonin, and serotonin is the critical neurotransmitter that modulates mood and anxiety. And animals that go up into the mountains or simulated mountainous environments, their levels of serotonin go down quite a bit; they go down very quickly.

Serotonin: a neurotransmitter, derived from tryptophan, that is involved in sleep, depression, memory, and other neurological processes.

And so one would predict  or expect that the people who are either genetically predisposed or don’t make quite enough serotonin, that they would experience new onset symptoms of either depression or anxiety.”

At the same time, other neurotransmitters are going up…

“Low oxygen also increases the levels of another neurotransmitter, dopamine. And what we think the dopamine does in the brain is it basically regulates anything that one would do that would be pleasurable or enjoyable. So more dopamine generally means feeling better.”


These changes in brain chemistry have some profound effects on people with mood disorders, Renshaw says. Those who suffer from anxiety or bipolar disorder on the coast may see their symptoms worsen, sometimes drastically, when they move to higher elevations.

For those who suffer from depression, traditional methods of treatment may not work in the mountains, simply because their brains aren’t producing enough serotonin in the first place.

“If you have normal serotonin levels, you’d release normal serotonin levels into the space between the nerve cells, and what these drugs do is they block the re-uptake of the serotonin. So more of the neurotransmitter sticks around and communicates the serotonin signal. But the experience of being in altitude is that in response to hypoxia, your brain doesn’t make as much serotonin so there’s less serotonin to block the re-uptake of, so the effects of standard treatments may not be that powerful,” he said.

With that knowledge, Rensaw is now trying to find a more effective treatment for depression than the traditional go-tos such as Prozac and Zoloft.

Dopamine: a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and retina acting within the brain to help regulate movement and emotion.

At the same time, he says elevation isn’t all bad. In a paper currently under review, Renshaw claims increased elevation has a positive impact on those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; a dopamine imbalance.

“In the intermountain west we actually have rates of ADHD that are about half those observed at sea level. So in this case, the effects of altitude and the increasing brain dopamine levels is treating for many people some of their ADHD symptoms.”

When he first released his findings, Renshaw says people in Utah tended to be skeptical.

As time has passed and more research has been conducted, Renshaw says other researchers are coming to support his findings. Though better ways of treating depression and other mental health disorders are still on the way, that doesn’t mean doctors can’t use this information. Renshaw says just warning patients of the possible changes to their health before a move to higher altitude can allow them to make sure they have a good support system in place.

“Just some degree of reassurance and education and planning ahead can make a big difference in terms of how people weather a transition,” he said.

While altitude may have an impact on depression and suicide, Rensaw says his work doesn’t negate earlier theories about culture’s role in the problem.

“Nothing that we do means the people who study cultural impacts in rates of suicide and depression are incorrect,” Renshaw said. “In fact, they’re perfectly complimentary and probably additive effects. We’re by no means saying that the problem of suicide in Utah is due strictly to altitude, but rather this is one of several factors, one that we find particularly important.”

The goal now, Renshaw says is to get enough grants to pay for a clinical treatment program. For now, he says a paradox is still the best way to describe what’s happening in places like Utah.

“I think a paradox is a nice way to think about it because it gives both a good message that we’ve all sort of observed in terms of our friends and neighbors feeling happy living in the state of Utah, but also makes it clear that for some people it’s not a completely happy set of circumstances.”

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Stress Management, Yoga

The Air Surrounds You

Would a fish recognize that it is in water? That a fluid surrounds it?

It may feel the wave from a bigger fish swimming but does it (or would it) recognize the power of water? The water that sustains it, that it breathes?

All around our human body, we are surrounded by air. Just like the fish, we are swimming in this clear gas that moves as we move it. Even the flap of a butterfly’s wing creates a ripple effect that can travel. Air has density, just as the pressure is greater at lower depths of water, air is also thinner at higher altitudes.

Does a fish consider itself swimming just as we simply consider walking?

How would your day be different if you imagined yourself swimming or dancing through air all day?

What if we took the time to really breathe and feel the air surrounding us?

What if we became more mindful?


Find Yourself a comfortable seat and begin with feeling your breath.

See if you could imagine breathing to simulate a jellyfish inflating and deflating within your rib cage.

Once you have connected with this breath then begin to tune into feeling the air all around you.

The air on your skin and surrounding.

You might enjoy slightly lifting the arms and shoulders to simulate this jellyfish breath with your body too.

Try this for 5-10 minutes.

I find it is helpful to set a timer in order to not get lost in time or worry about how long it has been.

Just Be.

Your Yoga Teacher,

Izzy Nalley

Stress Management, success mindset, Sustainability, Yoga

Yamas & Niyamas

If you’re new to yoga practice or yoga philosophy, the yamas and niyamas are a great place to begin your exploration. They form the very foundation of what yoga is and are part of the 8-Limbed Path. They make up the disciplines and practices that cultivate real changes; without them, we’re just stretching.

“Practice of asanas (physical postures) without the backing of yama and niyama is mere acrobatics.”


Yoga exists to break patterns. It was created as a systematic method to notice, study and break free from any and all of our samskaras(patterns) that create bondage. As we integrate the yamas and the niyamas into our physical asana practice and into our thoughts and behavior, they help us to discover all of these patterns that make up our reactions and habits.

Yamas & NiYamas

Take a look at the following descriptions of each yama and niyama. How might you incorporate each one into the way that you move your body? How do they impact your relationships? Your speech? Your job?


  1. Ahimsa: Ahimsa translates to ‘non-harming’ or ‘non-violence.’ You can easily practice ahimsa by speaking lovingly, being compassionate toward yourself and others, or practicing awareness and care within your yoga asanas. Ahimsa means that we’re always practicing toward the greater good of all.
  2. Asteya: Non- stealing. It might be obvious to not steal other people’s possessions, but what about other people’s joy, security or hope? We can practice non-stealing for ourselves by seeking balance, and for others by honoring boundaries and giving credit where credit is due.
  3. Satya: Satya means ‘non-lying’ or ‘truth speaking.’ Satya is very powerful when we realize how often we might say ‘yes,’ when we really mean ‘no,’ or make decisions outside of what our heart really needs. We must practice truthfulness with ourselves by understanding what our body is saying and listening, truthfulness by having clear speech and relationships, as well as honoring the deepest sense of Truth within us.
  4. Aparigraha: Take a deep exhalation to practice aparigraha. It means non-greed. All greed comes from fear, so in order to practice aparigraha we must practice trust. Trust that there is enough of everything to go around, trust that you ARE enough right now and rid yourself of poverty/victim mentality.
  5. Bramacharya: Bramacharya loosely translates to non-sensuality. Traditionally, bramacharya was the practice of sexual abstinence, not for deprivation, but so that the excess sexual energy could be used toward something else for a time. You might think of it in a similar way to how Christians view Lent: temporary withdrawal or self-control from one activity in order to prioritize another.


  1. Sauca: Sauca means purity: purity of thought, actions, body and spirit. We are called to cleanliness by eating well, organizing our environment, maintaining a healthy body and mind and working to remove mental impurities such as jealousy, pride, anger…etc. Cleansing the mind involves rigorous observation, honesty, non-attachment and forgiveness.
  2. Santosha: Contentment. ‘San’ means ‘completely’ or ‘entirely’ and ‘tosha’ translates to ‘contentment’ or ‘acceptance.’ So santosha means accepting the truth (the body, the relationship, the discomfort…etc) as it is and learning from it. In this way, we develop an attitude of calm happiness, regardless of circumstances.
  3. Tapas: Tapas means steady self-control. It comes mostly from the breath and learning how to control it. With balance and tapas, we have a sense of being unaffected by opposites, such as heat and cold, hunger and thirst, sitting and standing, etc.
  4. Svadyaya: Through meditation, prayer, curiosity, study and self-inquiry, we strive to know more and more about ourselves, our reactions, our emotions and our soul. Self-study (svadyaya) is the real crux of yoga. We work to refine ourselves just by this gentle studying of ourselves and/or yoga philosophy.
  5. Isvarapranidhana: Spiritual devotion. Whether you are comfortable with spirituality or not, it is within all of us. Yoga is not a religion, but it supports, enhances and strengthens our spiritual connection. Yoga sadhana (daily spiritual practice) is a beautiful way to grow on your spiritual path.

Keep these tenants in the back of your mind. Next time you practice yoga or encounter a stressful situation, consider how these simple practices might change your responses. Allow them to challenge and change you. Perhaps even take the time to meditate on each one, acknowledging ways in which you might grow in your understanding.  Just like exploration in asana, the yamas and niyamas are tools for your healing.

“Seeking out people and experiences we would normally avoid provides a fertile place to learn new things about ourselves and about life.”



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Stress Management, success mindset

10 Signs You’re Burning Out

10 Signs You’re Burning Out —

And What To Do About It

What Exactly Is Burnout?

Many millennial women are experiencing job burnout before they even turn 30. The American Psychological Association’s David Ballard, PsyD describes job burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”

“A lot of burnout really has to do with experiencing chronic stress,” says Dr. Ballard, who is the head of the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “In those situations, the demands being placed on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with the stressors.”

Left unchecked, burnout can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relationships and job performance. In order to catch burnout and combat it early, it’s important to know what to look out for.

10 burn out.jpg

Dr. Ballard let us in on 10 signs you may be experiencing burnout:

  1. Exhaustion

A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time. Exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent.

  1. Lack of Motivation

When you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore or you no longer have that internal motivation for your work, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing burnout. Other ways this manifests? It may be harder to get going in the morning and more difficult to drag yourself into work every day.

  1. Frustration, Cynicism and Other Negative Emotions

You may feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore, or you may be disillusioned with everything. You might notice that you feel more generally pessimistic than you used to. While everybody experiences some negative emotions from time to time, it’s important to know when these are becoming unusual for you.

  1. Cognitive Problems

Burnout and chronic stress may interfere with your ability to pay attention or concentrate. When we’re stressed, our attention narrows to focus on the negative element that we perceive as a threat. In the short term, this helps us deal with the problem at hand, Dr. Ballard says, “but our bodies and brains are designed to handle this in short bursts and then return to normal functioning. When stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus continues for a long time and we have difficulty paying attention to other things.”

This “fight or flight” tunnel vision can negatively affect your ability to solve problems or make decisions. You might find that you’re more forgetful and have a harder time remembering things.

  1. Slipping Job Performance

Not sure whether you’re burnt out? Compare your job performance now to your performance in previous years. Because burnout tends to happen over an extended period of time, taking this long-term view might reveal whether you’re in a temporary slump or experiencing more chronic burnout.

  1. Interpersonal Problems at Home and at Work

This tends to play out in one of two ways: (a) You’re having more conflicts with other people, such as getting into arguments, or (b) you withdraw, talking to your coworkers and family members less. You might find that even when you’re physically there, you’re tuned out.

  1. Not Taking Care of Yourself

When suffering from burnout, some people engage in unhealthy coping strategies like drinking too much, smoking, being too sedentary, eating too much junk food, not eating enough or not getting enough sleep. Self-medication is another issue and could include relying on sleeping pills to sleep, drinking more alcohol at the end of the day to de-stress or even drinking more coffee to summon up the energy to drag yourself into work in the morning.


  1. Being Preoccupied With Work … When You’re Not at Work

Even though you might not be working at a given moment, if you’re expending mental energy mulling over your job, then your work is interfering with your ability to recover from the stresses of your day. In order to recover, you need time to yourself after the actual task stops … and time when you stop thinking about that task altogether.

  1. Generally Decreased Satisfaction

This is the tendency to feel less happy and satisfied with your career and with your home life. You might feel dissatisfied or even stuck when it comes to whatever is going on at home, in the community or with your social activities, Dr. Ballard says.

  1. Health Problems

Over a long period of time, serious chronic stress can create real health problems like digestive issues, heart disease, depression and obesity.

What You Should Do To Improve:

Learning to Heal with Self Care

1. Take Relaxation Seriously

Whether you take up meditation, listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or visiting with friends and family, truly think about what you’ll do to relax, and designate time for it.

2. Cultivate a Rich Non-Work Life

Find something outside of work that you are passionate about that’s challenging, engaging and really gets you going—whether a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community (along with other items we mention here, like relaxation, being able to “turn off” and participating in rewarding non-work activities).

3. Unplug

While communication technology can promote productivity, it can also allow work stressors seep into family time, vacation and social activities. Set boundaries by turning off cell phones at dinner and delegating certain times to check email.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Research suggests that having fewer than six hours of sleep per night is a major risk factor for burnout, not least because poor sleep can have negative effects on your job performance and productivity. It can lead to fatigue, decrease your motivation, make you more sensitive to stressful events, impair your mental function, leave you more susceptible to errors and make it harder to juggle competing demands. The reverse is true, too: We’ve seen that sleep can actually improve your memory.

Recovering from chronic stress and burnout requires removing or reducing the demands on you and replenishing your resources. Sleep is one strategy for replenishing those resources. For inspiration, check out our tips to get better sleep.

5. Get Organized

Often, when people are burnt out, they spend a lot of time worrying that they’ll forget to do something or that something important is going to slip through the cracks. Get organized, clear your head, put together a to-do list (or an electronic task list) then prioritize. That way, you don’t have to keep thinking about those things because you’ll have systems in place to remind you.

6. Stay Attuned

It’s important to tune into the precursors of those conditions, physical signs that you might be under too much stress: more headaches, tight shoulders, a stiff neck or more frequent stomach upset. In terms of mental health, burnout affects depression, and if you’re depressed, that can also affect your level of burnout—it goes both ways. So, if the issues you’re struggling with are really serious and getting worse, you may need to seek professional help. Talk to a psychologist to get help beyond support from just your friends and family members.

7. Know When It’s You, and When It’s Them

Burnout is sometimes motivated by internal factors, Dr. Ballard says, and sometimes it really is a symptom of external ones. In the first case, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Where is this coming from?” so you can figure out what’s stressing you out, and how to maintain your internal resources to keep yourself motivated, doing your best work and functioning well.

Some burnout really is the fault of work. “In a survey we did in 2011, more than two-thirds of respondents said that their employers had taken steps to cut costs as a result of the recession,” like hiring freezes, layoffs, cutting work hours, rolling back benefits, requiring unpaid days off, increasing hours, etc. All that increases demands on workers,” he says. “Those are the two components that play into burnout: There are more demands and fewer resources.” To find out whether it’s time to move on, figure out whether your position is a “mismatch between your needs and what you’re getting working for that particular organization.”

8. Figure Out When Enough Is Enough

Consider talking to your manager or HR about EAP services, mental health benefits or stress management training—or at least about how to improve communication and create a better, more positive work environment. Angle the conversation about how those cultural shifts will enable you to continue to serve the company and become an even better employee.

“I do think there are times when, no matter what you try to do, the organization is unable or unwilling to make those changes,” Dr. Ballard says, “and in those cases, it is just time to move on.”

Original Post :

By Lisa M. Gerry

Graphics by Izzy Nalley, FigLeaf.Fit