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.

A prime tool for achieving a less stressful, more centered and happy life.

By Kat Tudor

Rooted in cultures and civilizations thousands of years old, meditation is “in” again. According to Forbes, businesses such as Google, Aetna and the Goldman Sachs Group offer mindful living programs for employees. Scientists have found that as little as 12 minutes a day of meditation over a two-month period can change the physical structure of the brain, and help you process information more efficiently, as well as reduce insomnia, manage anxiety and lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.

Mindfulness Meditation

At the SunWater Spa and the new SunMountain Center, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, developing mindful living is at our core; meditation is a prime tool for achieving a less stressful, more centered life. If you aren’t in our neighborhood, here are tips to help you start an at-home practice. A key: allow yourself to breathe.

  1. Begin with a 5-minute session. Gradually work up to 15-20 minutes.
  2. Relax before you begin. Yoga and a gentle neck self-massage can put you in the mood; comfortable clothing also helps.
  3. Set your timer before you begin. You don’t want to interrupt the “zone” by glancing at your clock.
  4. Find a distraction-free zone in your home, office or yard. The book, Altar Your Space, A Guide To The Restorative Home, is filled with tips on creating a peaceful space.
  5. Relax and be consciously aware of your exhale and inhale as your breathing quiets your mind. Here is an excellent story on breath.
  6. Don’t try to force your mind to stop thinking. This will happen naturally as your practice develops, perhaps by repeating mantras such as these.
  7. Consistency is best. Make this a daily routine.
  8. Experiment with different types of meditation: mantras, transcendental, Zen.
  9. Explore guided meditations. There are many to choose from. Freemindfulness.org provides gratis meditations at varying lengths.
  10. Relax and find the joy.

If you happen to be in Colorado, the SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, as well as the new SunMountain Center, offer a range of meditation programs, including a Breakthrough Meditation Workshop that focuses on breath. For more information, visit www.sunwaterspa.com or www.sunmountaincenter.com.

Kat Tudor is the founder and creative director of SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado, as well as the founder and visionary behind SunMountain Center, a premiere wellness retreat in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Every Mother’s Day, we are gifted the opportunity to show our mama’s just how much we appreciate them. From their strength, kindness, and loving nature to all of the wisdom they’ve so graciously shared with us, we are all incredibly lucky to have women as sweet as our moms in our lives. This year, ditch the candles and feel-good cards she’ll burn through and forget about in a month, and give mama meaningful self-care, and healing gifts where she can form deeper connections with you and herself. We all love gifts that keep on giving: Give mama the gift of shared experiences with you. In need of inspiration? Check it out:

 

Journal

Give mom a place to record her innermost thoughts, feelings, and memories. Include a few pens in her favorite colors for added inspiration.
Wanting to add a more personal touch? Fill in the first few pages with artwork, inspiring quotes, images, and your favorite things about her.  

 

Photo Album

If you’re able to, pull together some of your family’s old photos of fun memories with your sweet mama—remember that vacation you took in third grade that you never forgot? What about that time mom surprised your on your birthday with the present you really wanted, but were certain you wouldn’t receive? These special moments define not only your life, but her life as well. Put them all together in a keepsake book that mom will treasure for years.

 

Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz, the stone of the heart chakra. Rose Quartz is associated with feelings of unconditional love, like that between a mother and a child. Rose Quartz aligns with the heart chakra, providing feelings of comfort and love while dispelling feelings of fear and anxiety. This sacred gemstone contains feminine energy which balances and aligns the heart chakra with the third eye and crown chakras, bringing about the spirit of Mother Earth—the most sacred mother of all. Keeping this crystal within her home, mom will feel more aligned, more surrounded by love, and more balanced and connected in her day-to-day life.

 

 

Gaia Flow: Watsu with Mom

Watsu is a form of shiatsu that takes place in near body temperature or warmer water which combines elements of massage, shiatsu, muscle stretching, and water dancing. The receiver is continuously supported by their therapist while allowing their body to be floated, stretched, and cradled. At SunWater Spa, our watsu treatments take place in a body temperature, saline floating pool which grants the body added ability to float, making Watsu a truly weightless experience. Without the added weight of the body, the spine, joints, and muscles of the receiver can be manipulated and freed in a way which is unique to water work. This Mother’s Day, share this healing and nurturing experience with mom and book a side-by-side watsu for two, or simply give her the gift of nurturing with a single-person watsu appointment.

 

Mountain Mother Massage

Let’s not forget about the wonderful mommy’s-to-be in our lives! SunWater Spa’s Mountain Mother Massage is a soothing experience for mama, allowing her and baby the opportunity to relax and find refuge from the symptoms of pregnancy. Making use of the nourishing (and pregnancy safe!) oils of sunflower, sweet almond, jojoba, avocado, wheat germ, vitamin e, sweet orange, rosewood, tangerine, lemon peel, rose maroc, sandalwood and ylang ylang, she’s certain to leave feeling refreshed, renewed, and fully relaxed.

 

A Hike at Garden of the Gods and a Soak at SunWater Spa

Garden of the Gods has over 15 miles of space for you and your mom to explore. Get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and spend some quality time with one another. The Siamese Twins trail, in particular, holds desert beauty and stunning views of Pikes Peak.
After you’ve worn yourselves out at Garden of the Gods, swing on into Manitou for a healing soak at SunWater Spa. Allow the healing waters of the historic 7 Minute Spring to repair your tired, sore muscles while you relax and reconnect with your mom. Whether you choose a 2-hour soak or a full-day pass, you will both have access to our indoor saline pools, hot and cold plunge pools, and our infrared sauna. With all of these options, you and your mama will leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and closer to one another when the day is up.

 

 

Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found within various parts of plants which can be used to treat various ailments, lift spirits, and be used as an all-natural, aromatic perfume. To extract these oils, plants undergo a process of distillation by steam or water. After distillation, a highly concentrated essential oils is left behind, containing not only the aromatic essence of the plant, but also the plant’s healing properties. These oils aid in protecting plants against predators and disease, why not let them do the same for mom? Here are four examples of essential oils that are perfect for moms everywhere.

 

  • Lemon to enhance mom’s feelings of joy, provide immune support, and cleanse or purify the body.
  • Citrus oil to feel invigorated,provide an instant boost in energy, and similarly to lemon oil, boost her immune system.
  • Lavender to help mom relax, unwind, and to improve blood circulation.
  • Eucalyptus for stress relief, pain relief, and relief of cold symptoms!

 

Credit: Mariana Ziegler Photography

A Stay at SunMountain Center

Spring has sprung in Manitou Springs! Give mom the gift of experiencing a true (and beautiful!) Colorado spring with a stay at SunMountain Center. The days are longer and warmer, the flowers are blooming, and SunMountain Center is bursting with life and love. She’ll spend time perusing our gardens, exploring acres of property and winding meditation trails, and deepen her connection with herself and those around her.

 

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.