Having Trouble Sleeping?

Add these techniques to your daily routine

 by Kat Tudor

 

Does clearing the mind and counting sheep as we fall asleep actually help us get those recommended seven hours of nightly Z’s?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. If you have tossed and turned the night away, Kat Tudor, co-founder and creative director of Manitou Springs’ Sun Water Spa, believes that clearing the mind of everyday stress and worries through meditation, is the perfect way to end the day, and a natural way to promote sleep. Just 20 minutes of peaceful meditation and silence takes you into the stillness of yourself, setting the stage for a good nights’ sleep. Finding a quiet place in your home, free from electronics and boisterous family members, where you can close your eyes and visualize calm is essential.

Healing Hands

Hectic day? Nothing de-stresses like the healing hands of a masseuse. “Sun Water’s ‘Breath of Life’ is a favorite of mine,” says Tudor. “Drawing on the healing properties of laurel leaf, eucalyptus and lemon, the masseuse takes you to a place of deep relaxation as your whole body enjoys increased circulation and oxygenation.” If a spa visit isn’t in the cards, try an at-home massage, which can be particularly effective for your neck, shoulders, feet and hands. Start by applying healing oil, such as lavender or eucalyptus, to dry skin. For the neck and shoulders, using your fingers, make small circular motions. A foot and hand massage both begin by pressing each between your thumb and fingers. Massage with your thumb, applying pressure as needed.

Tips to Stop Tossing & Turning

Still tossing and turning? Sleep experts recommend:

  • Eliminating caffeine and spicy foods before bedtime
  • Participating in aerobic exercise at least 4 times each week, ending 2 hours before bedtime
  • Eating a light dinner, on the early side
  • Eliminating smoking
  • Restricting cocktails, particularly near bedtime
  • Creating a sleep friendly environment–a darkened room with a temperature around 65 degrees
  • Creating an electronics free zone, as studies have shown that the light from the phone and iPad stimulate the brain.

By gradually adding sleep-enhancing techniques to your daily routine, those restless nights will become a distant memory, replaced by peaceful dreams and energetic mornings.

 

Kat Tudor is the creative director and co-owner at the new SunWater Spa and Healing Arts Center in Manitou Springs, Colorado. An innovative yoga practitioner and instructor, her unique and creative yoga draws on her art and dance background and extensive training, to transform the mind, body and spirit.

 

TIPS ON CHOOSING THE BEST PRACTICE FOR YOU.

BY KAT TUDOR

 

The Sanskrit word for “union,” yoga is both spiritual and physical. Using breathing techniques, meditation, and movement, the practice can energize and de-stress, depending on which type of yoga you choose to embrace.

Rife with hybrids—from Yoga Hop, a blend of yoga and hip hop, to yogalates, which pairs yoga with Pilates, to budokon, a fast-paced martial arts/yoga combo, to sweat-inducing hot or power yoga—the yoga menu is as vast as the imagination.

 

Match Your Yoga with Goals

Choosing the practice or type of yoga that is right for you depends on your goals:

  • Do you want to destress?
  • Are you interested in a spiritual practice?
  • Is vigorous exercise your goal?
  • Do you want to be drenched in sweat?

Yoga can fulfill all of those goals…and more. It isn’t uncommon for yoga students to vary their practice, selecting a destressing, gentle stretching class after work, a spiritual session when they are feeling down and a lively sweat-inducing class when they have energy to burn. Following are a few options:

HATHA

What it is: Slower paced, with a focus on breathing and basic poses. The mother of all yoga practices and the root of all modern styles, Hatha is the physical practice of yoga that uses a combination of body postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama) and meditation (dyana), with the goal of invigorating both mind and body. Perfect for beginners.

AQUA

What is it: A low-impact, flowing practice suitable for everyone. Practicing in the water promotes stability, core strength, joint health and balance. The practice will leave you feeling strong, refreshed and completely relaxed. For all levels.

See also What Women Want in an Exercise Routine.

ASHTANGA

What it is: Structured and challenging, for the athletic and more advanced student. Ashtanga consists of six different sequences that students can do at their own pace. Each sequence has a different focus and characteristics. For example, the first sequence, Yoga Chikitsa’s 75 poses, focuses on stamina, flexibility, strength and detoxification. Best for more advanced or athletic students.

VINYASA

What it is: This style is known for the fluid transitions between poses. Because breathing is extremely important, and movements are synchronized with your breath, students tend to sweat. Recommended for students who want lots of variety and movement.

RESTORATIVE

What it is: This style is about healing the body and mind through a series of simple poses. With the help of bolsters, props and pillows, many of the meditative poses are held for up to 20 minutes. Perfect for anyone in need of deep destressing or gentle healing. 

 

 

Kat Tudor is the founder and co-owner of SunWellness Companies, as well as a yoga instructor and artist. SunWater Spa and SunMountain offers a variety of yoga programs, from restorative and gentle aqua yoga, to Ayurveda and a version of a traditional Hatha practice, Sivananda yoga, a 90-minute class with an alternating focus on movement, breath and conscious relaxation to bring awareness within and encourage calmness. More at sunwellness.net.

In need of a refreshing facial?

It’s as easy as raiding your refrigerator

by Kat Tudor

Spring is the time of rebirth and revival, and nothing communicates health and wellness like vibrant and luminous skin. A facial is a wonderful way to help you look and feel better.

If you don’t have the energy or time to make an appointment with an aesthetician, take a tour of your kitchen and refrigerator for inspiration! Be it acne, dark bags under your eyes, uneven skin tone, or a dry and dull complexion, refrigerator facials are a quick fix until you can get to the spa.

As delicious as they are effective, some of the best recipes require only one ingredient from the grocery store. Try to use fresh and organic ingredients so that you aren’t putting unnecessary toxins onto your exposed skin. Here are some of my favorite options.

ANTIOXIDANT OATMEAL AND CHOCOLATE FACIAL

This combination helps unclog pores and smooths the skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce uncooked oatmeal
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate (raw if you can find it)
  • 1 tablespoon organic honey

Mix all ingredients together and apply to your face using upward movements. Leave on for 10 minutes. Delicious!

SALSA FACIAL

Brighten and decongest oily, acne-prone skin with this mixture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 finely chopped ripe organic tomato
  • Generous squeeze of ripe organic lemon

Mix ingredients. Apply to skin with your fingers, making certain to avoid eye area. Relax for 5 minutes with your head back. Rinse off with warm water. Margaritas, anyone?

YOGURT FACIAL

Use one or both ingredients to remove dead skin cells and brighten the face.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup 2% or full-fat organic, plain Greek yogurt. The fat is important so that it will absorb into your skin.
  • 4 teaspoons warmed organic honey (optional)

If using the honey, vigorously mix honey and yogurt to blend. Apply with upward movements to your face. Close your eyes and relax, let the lactic acid and milk proteins in the yogurt nourish your skin for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Perhaps a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor?

RAW POTATO EYE MASK

This combo will help to de-puff your eyes and brighten the surrounding skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic, raw potato, peeled and finely grated
  • ¼ cup organic 2% or full-fat Greek yogurt

Mix ingredients together with your hands and gently apply to the under-eye area. Tilt back your head and relax for 15 minutes. Beautiful!

 

Kat Tudor is the creative director and co-owner at the new SunWater Spa and Healing Arts Center in Manitou Springs, Colorado. An innovative yoga practitioner and instructor, her unique and creative yoga draws on her art and dance background and extensive training, to transform the mind, body and spirit. SunWater Spa offers a range of radiant, invigorating and soothing facials that use natural ingredients such as Tea Tree Oil to purify your skin and Cherry Enzymes to exfoliate. A personal favorite is the 60-minute Sun Radiance, which will leave your skin glowing.

By: Kat Tudor as originally seen on Live Naturally.

 

Are you struggling with sleep? Have the kids gotten you down? Are you stressed by day-to-day traffic? The road to calm just might be as easy as changing your breathing patterns and channeling your breath.

According to a 2015 article published by Harvard Medical School, the practice of “deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange,” which can result in the stabilization or lowering of blood pressure and the slowing of your heartbeat. And, with a bit of practice, including “breath focus”—slow and deep breathing—can help you disengage from your thoughts and stresses.

See also Mindful Living with Meditation.

There are numerous breathwork techniques used to bring about different results. These methods include alternate nostril breathing, abdominal breathing, upper chest breathing, and fast or slow breathing, among others, according to Kris and Savanna Cassidy of Breakthrough Breathwork, who are leading a Breakthrough Breathwork Meditation workshop at Manitou Springs, Colorado’s SunWater Spa in early September. Their methodology utilizes “connected breathing, also known as circular breathing, to facilitate deep healing and transformation.”

To begin your home practice:

  • Start by finding a comfortable place to sit, away from your daily clutter.
  • Gently close your eyes.
  • Take a normal breath.
  • Then take a long, deep breath through your nose. Breathe in slowly through your nose, as your chest and belly rise and the air fills your lungs.
  • Now exhale or breathe out slowly through your mouth.
  • Once you become comfortable with controlled breathing, you might want to incorporate simple imagery or a word or phrase to help you relax.

Unfortunately, conscious breathing isn’t as simple as it seems. These two books, The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work and Conscious Breathing: Breathwork for Health, Stress Release and Personal Mastery Healthcan help you on your journey with more sophisticated and focused breathing techniques, such as progressive relaxation, alternative nostril breathing and guided visualization.

 NEW PACKAGES AT SUNWATER SPA

Beginning May 1, SunWater Spa will offer three-day packages: Refresh, Hydrate and Repair. The Refresh package includes a 30-minute Aquacranial session, 30-minute Ursa Minor facial, 30-minute Target Relief massage and 2-hour mineral spring soak for $180. The Hydrate package includes a 30-minute Watsu session, 60-minute Silk Road Wrap, 60-minute Cascading Falls facial and 2-hour mineral spring soak for $260. The Repair package includes a 90-minute Mountain Healer Massage; 30-minute head, scalp and Sole Renewal treatment; 60-minute Garden of Eden facial and 2-hour mineral spring soak. To book, call 719-695-7007 or visit the spa online.

 

 

 

By: Kat Tudor as originally seen on Live Naturally.

Why (and how) Music Matters to yoga.

 

Back in the day, yoga purists practiced in silence. Flash forward to 2018, and rare is the class that doesn’t feature a playlist of specially curated music, from gongs and drums to classical, pop and rap downloads created specifically for yoga.

According to a study in the journal of Sports Medicine Open, listening to music increases the likelihood of sticking with your exercise program by 70 percent. The music industry has taken notice with two dozen albums inspired by bhakti yoga included on the first 58th Grammy’s Ballot list. Even the pop group Maroon 5, led by the yoga-loving Adam Levine, has created a playlist.

Both yoga and music are known for their ability to de-stress and make us feel better about ourselves. Recent studies have also shown that music can allow a person to enter a “flow state,” which, according to renowned psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

At SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado, we offer a range of yoga classes from Sivananda (traditional hatha yoga) to aqua (yoga in the pool), restorative (relaxing and gentle), and yin (a passive practice, involves variations of seated and supine poses), as well as Kundalini workshops (spiritual and physical with mantras, movement, dynamic breathing techniques and meditation).

See also The Joy of Yoga.

A number of our teachers use music to enhance their classes, oftentimes sourcing from Pandora stations. Click on links below to some of our favorite playlists and music sources.

No matter what direction your yoga practice takes, try a bit of music to enhance the experience. It might get you through the longer poses and provide a deeper satisfaction with the process.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/garetsworkshop

 

IT MIGHT JUST BE THE PERFECT ANTIDOTE.

BY SHARON W. HOUSE AND THE SUNWELLNESS TEAM

 

If you’re feeling that the New Year seems to be off to a rocky start, you just might need to add some new coping methods to your arsenal, beyond wine and more wine. It may not be what the doctor ordered, but many health and wellness practitioners are embracing Restorative Yoga to help clients relax and destress.

 

Differing from traditional yoga, restorative yoga’s five to six poses utilize props to help you go deeper into the move, allowing complete relaxation and rest. A typical class includes light twists, seated forward folds and gentle backbends, held for five minutes or so.

 

Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Deep relaxation
Enhanced flexibility
Calmer mind
Balanced nervous system
Reduced stress

 

Restorative Yoga is offered on many yoga studios’ menu of classes, and SunWater Spa and SunMountain Center in Manitou Springs, Colorado, is no exception. This style of yoga is a specialization of founder Kat Tudor, who teaches classes and workshops at the properties. Kat added Restorative Yoga to her practice and her teaching about 10 years ago when she found that “the effect of this style of yoga balances out our tendencies to do too much and push too hard. We have plenty of opportunities to be active in our practices and to engage in physical activities, especially in Colorado, so restorative yoga, allow us to be less stressed and relieve the tension of our daily lives.”

 

Many retreats at SunMountain Center incorporate Restorative Yoga, including the upcoming Fearlessly Yoga and Healing Retreat with Erin Berry, scheduled for February 28-March 3. An immersion in Meditation, Sound Healing and Restorative Yoga, participants will be in a remarkable place that allows them the freedom and space to reconnect with their authentic self.

 

So before you turn to medications to calm your angst, try Restorative Yoga. It might just be the perfect antidote for an anxious 2019.