Letting go and relaxing in

I’d been dreading my visit to the Diabetes Educator ever since I decided to split my basal dose over three months ago. When the day came I was so tense that I must have gone to the restroom about 5 times. Every time I washed my hands and looked at myself in the mirror I told myself, “it’s going to be fine and even if your A1c isn’t perfect it’s not the end of the earth.”

As soon as I sat down in her office I burst into tears.

Handing me a tissue she asked me to talk about it. I explained how terrifying it was to split my basal, how I couldn’t seem to get the ratios right and that I couldn’t stand seeing higher readings on my meter. I admitted that I felt like a failure and added that when I read everyone’s posts on my diabetes facebook groups it made me feel even worse. “People seem to achieve such balance and even with everything I know it feels crazy that I should be struggling.”

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She listened compassionately and reminded me that people always put their best face forward on Facebook. She said that in reality, I had no idea how those people were achieving their awesome A1c’s and besides it’s not a competition. She suggested we look at the cold hard facts before we passed judgment on how I was managing my health.

When she had loaded up all my data she pointed to the flat line on the screen and said, “see that? You’re flat lining, no peaks and valleys, this means you have a high protective factor. Even though overall your levels are higher than we’d like they don’t fluctuate much, a sign that your body isn’t under constant stress from crashes and peaks.”

She added that the yoga practices, low carb diet and simple daily regimes are doing wonders to keep me balanced.  “It takes time for the body to adjust to a new regimen. Let’s give it another three months to see what happens before we adjust things further.”

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I felt so much lighter when I left the clinic and lucky to be able to work with someone open and progressive. She didn’t tell me to eat more, inject more or change my approach. Instead, she encouraged me not to give myself such a hard time and to trust the process.

As a yoga teacher, I’ve always encouraged my students to learn to relax. Some postures facilitate opening and others force us to work harder. If someone has a tendency to overdo things I always give them practices to chill down whereas if I can see a student finds it hard to get motivated I push them and cheer them on.

The practice I am going to share with you today is all about relaxing and letting go. I find that hip opening and inner thigh stretches are perfect for this. This sequence takes 4 minutes and definitely stretches and frees up the hips. I’m pretty open in the hips so just be aware you might find your body might not go as far as what you see in the practice.

I also filmed it spontaneously so yeah.. it was a wild hair day… But rather than get my self all made up and look glam. I thought better to show the real deal. I was doing my practice that day to cheer myself up after some hectic highs…. forcing myself to chill down and release my frustrations.

As always I’d love to know how it feels so drop me a comment below…

With great respect… Rachel

Yoga for Diabetes is not one size fits all

When I first started yoga in my teens I knew very little about the postures and practices. I would throw myself into the practice and hope for the best. Some days the practice made me feel great and other days it seemed to make me feel worse. It took almost ten years for me to learn that the type of yoga I was practicing wasn’t actually right for my type. Luckily providence steered me towards a teacher who knew exactly what I needed. He introduced me to the sister science of yoga, Ayurveda and encouraged me to slow down, cool down and practice poses that were nourishing to my system. Since my diagnosis, I’ve realised that there is a practice that’s perfect for my constitution and the type of diabetes I have. I’ve also learned that what might support me in lowering blood sugar might have the opposite reaction in someone else.

After a big spike in blood sugar levels this morning I did this VLOG  to share a bit more about why yoga for diabetes is not one size fits all.

If you’d like to find out more about Ayurveda and your constitution you can get the first chapter of my book for free here

with great respect…Rachel

Stretching is good for you

A while back I was asked to write an article about the value of yoga for people living with diabetes for Diabetes Health Magazine.  It was actually a challenging exercise because the editor asked me to cite research from various studies on yoga and its health benefits. Getting overly technical is not my forte but I gave it my best shot.

At one point while diving down the rabbit hole I discovered that restorative yoga does not switch on the relaxed part of our nervous system as I had previously been led to believe.

This floored me!

Apparently, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that lying around on cushy bolsters while your yoga teacher massages your temples with do-terra oils is of any use. Instead, the study suggested that the only thing that relaxes the nervous system is concentrated stretching of targeted muscle groups.

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To be honest, I am not interested in evidence based yoga. I am not even interested in evidence based science.  What gets me is that nobody really knows how the body works. We keep exploring the human body hoping to find answers and no matter how much we discover we are still a mystery.

Why are we here? Who are we? What is our purpose and our role in this vast creation? Do you know?

I can remember playing a game once where one person had to make a statement like, why is the sky blue? And the other person had to come up with a reason like because I can see it! Then the person would ask… and why can you see it? And the questions would go into infinite regress driving both players nuts!

Living with Diabetes is like that for me. Just when I think I’ve tapped into a reason why…I realize I haven’t got a clue

My yoga practice is a daily life saver, my solace and the place I go to be with myself. No matter what goes on with my levels or my emotions it levels the playing field. I finish my practice and I can face whatever comes.

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This week I’ve especially been focusing on stretching my inner thighs and hamstrings just to see if it really does help to relax the nervous system. We spend a lot of time sitting in chairs squashing the back of our legs and decreasing the venous blood return to the heart. It also limits circulation and can cause edema (swelling in the legs). Keeping the legs in one position may also hamper our ability to uptake insulin.

Stretching and opening the legs and inverting the body (taking the head lower than the heart) helps to relax the nervous system, increase circulation and lower blood pressure.

Fan posture is the perfect pose to facilitate all these things so I’ve put together an 8-minute sequence for you to practice. We head straight into the posture so if you’d like a warm up first I suggest you to do a few Sun Salutations or try my practice to beat insulin resistance .

I’ve made sure to add variations for beginners and advanced alike and remember continuous practice gets results. Give it a try and make sure to comment below. 🙂

With great respect…Rachel

Would you like me to design a practice specifically for you? Why not work with me this month. I’d love to be of service.

Beat Insulin Resistance with Yoga

I’m sitting here on the hottest day ever in the wilds of South Africa. I mean 38 degrees and climbing. They say when it gets hot like this here it’s a Berg wind blowing in from the desert. I’m trying to get excited about it, but it’s hard. The heat really affects my BG levels. They go high and then they go low…What to do!

Because I was diagnosed with type 1 well into my adult life I do battle with Insulin Resistance. It’s there on hot days, when I get sunburned, exercise too vigorously, don’t get enough sleep or inject too many times in the same place.

Instead of getting frustrated or feeling helpless I use my morning yoga practice to get my legs working so the uptake of insulin is more efficient. I find the routine below really helps.

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Being someone who regularly does yoga there are definitely some postures in this routine that are a little challenging for beginners so I suggest you watch the routine first and then decide which aspects you can do and leave out what’s challenging. I’ve included postures at the wall, seated and on the back for anyone who isn’t ready for the standing section.

I recommend you do this sequence every morning before breakfast for at least 7 days. If you can do it for longer that would be awesome!

Let me know how you go and have a wonderful start to 2017

with great respect…Rachel

If you’d like a personalized yoga routine to kick start your year and get motivated to incorporate yoga into your daily diabetes management plan why not Work with Me I have just 5 spots available for this month.

Staying Balanced

It’s been pretty quiet over here on the blog. Mainly because I’ve been in flux. First there was the awesome safari in Kruger national park and then flying home to Australia, recovering from jet-lag, preparing for my upcoming yoga teacher training and generally adjusting insulin, routines and more to the the new environment.

rachel-2016-2-2Throughout all the change my yoga practice keeps me stable. That and my strict adherence to routine.  Knowing my ayurvedic type means knowing what will easily imbalance me and what will easily bring me into balance.

Travel and change are some of the biggest hurdles when it comes to staying balanced as they increase vata dosha. Vata is the combination of air and space in the system. When we have too much we experience things like insomnia, anxiety, a feeling of being spaced out and difficulty concentrating. Physically the skin dries out, we suffer from constipation and our joints tend to pop and crack. Excess vata can also cause erratic blood glucose levels. Bringing the vata back into balance is good for everyone whether you live with diabetes or not. flower-offering-the-photo-forestBesides, eating well, sleeping at least 7-8 hours and drinking plenty of water I make sure I’m really warmed-up before starting my postural practice. Repeating movements that flow on the breath is a great way to start.  Lately I’ve been putting together short sequences on my iPhone and posting them on Instagram and Facebook just for fun. The one below is one of my favourite ways to get warm quick.

Check it out and let me know what you think…and if you feel inspired and would like to do more you can get a free yoga class here.
With great respect…Rachel

Diabetes Awareness Month

A Call to Action!

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and I can’t believe it’s been just over a year since I started Insulin and broke open my own understanding of a disease I’ve had for 6 years. When I first discovered the #DOC ( diabetes online community) I was blown away by how much advocacy was out there. One of the most inspiring advocates is Daniele Hargenrader. Her personal story and passion for making sure you stay on top of your condition is beyond admirable. I asked Daniele if she would share on the blog her goals in not only interviewing so many inspiring diabetes dominators on her popular YOUTUBE channel but why she wrote her new #1bestseller Unleash Your Inner Diabetes Dominator. Thanks Daniele for all you do and are!

“More people are going to passively sit back and succumb to the complications of poorly controlled blood sugars in the next few years than ever before. Your job is NOT to be one of those people, and my mission is to show you how.

My goal is not to create more fear, because there is entirely too much of that in the diabetes community as it is, but to inspire the diabetes community to take more directed action that will lead to living our lives feeling empowered, liberated, educated, protected, and confident in our abilities to manage our choices and decisions when it comes to our own diabetes care. More than anything, this is a call to action, a challenge to step up our game of self-love, take things to the next level, and make that next level our new standard. Each of us must become the standard bearers for our own diabetes management. We cannot always have total control over diabetes, this much we all know to be true, but we can control the choices we make with what is available to us regarding our diabetes care, and those choices, in turn, shape our day to day realities.

Diabetes Awareness Month

Every day, we hear on TV, in a magazine or newspaper, online, or from a friend or family member about this amazing new diet program, pill, spray, or some other form of miracle that has been doing wonders for their waistline. That in itself is the first and truly most gargantuan problem of all, one that, if we don’t eradicate it from our minds, will almost definitely ensure the failure of any venture into the realm of healthful living. The idea that there is or ever will be any quick fix, magic pill or drink that will make up for the years of damage we have imparted on our bodies (trust me, I spent ten years weighing over 200 pounds with an A1c of 13+%, and I didn’t get healthy overnight).

The idea that we can just treat our bodies poorly for any indeterminate amount of time and just take some unregulated supplement to fix the damage we have done in a couple of weeks. The sooner we are able to openly admit that the damage we have done to our bodies, through the lack of attention paid to and priority put on our diabetes care, has taken time, and that the reversal of the damage will also take time, the sooner we will be on our way to healing and recovery, and a resurgence of sustainable energy and confidence that will blow our minds.

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We must be willing to let go of our old beliefs, habits, and routines, the ones that got us to where we are today. This quote from one of my most influential mentors, Jim Rohn, is along the same lines: “The greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. It is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire in the first place.” I’m still working on that one, but for now, I can speak to the changes that must be made to change the state of our health. Essentially, we must change who we believe we are and what we believe we are capable of, to some degree, to create sustainable healthy habits. Change is not a bad thing or something to be feared or resisted. Change is truly the only thing that is constant in this world, and our ability and willingness to adapt and roll with the proverbial punches is what shapes our reality day-to-day.

The only thing that will allow our minds and bodies to reshape and restructure themselves, to let go of excess fat and toxins and negative thought patterns, to produce the energy that we desire and deserve every day to make our lives more enjoyable and fulfilling is a healthy lifestyle. A healthy mindset, a healthy nutritional lifestyle, a healthy exercise lifestyle. A lifestyle built around self-love, self-appreciation, choice, community, and action, armed with the knowledge that we are worth it, worth every bit of effort, and we are more than enough for this world. A lifestyle that, without a single word, shows those around us that we are each incredibly valuable, that we all have a purpose in this life, and no passion or dream is too small or seemingly trivial to pursue and share with others if it makes our hearts sing.”

Daniele Hargenrader, AKA the Diabetes Dominator, is the bestselling author of Unleash Your Daniele hand on hip CGM sized smaller 150 px wide v3Inner Diabetes Dominator. Daniele is a nutritionist, diabetes and health coach, and certified personal trainer. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1991. She is an international speaker, has presented at Fortune 100 companies and top-ranked hospitals and universities, and has dedicated herself to teaching people how to live the life they imagined through optimal health. Daniele ballooned up to 200 pounds a few years after her diagnosis and the unexpected and sudden death of her father. She also battled depression and a binge eating addiction. Through these adversities, she eventually took herself from obese to athlete, and now shows others how to do the same.

Unleash your Diabetes Dominator!

I’ve just spent the last week in overdrive. That’s overdrive in a good way. As part of my interest in this disease and how Yoga can help, I’ve decided to start a study. It’s been fascinating to meet with Type 1 diabetics from all walks of life and to hear about how they manage their diabetes.

In asking questions like; what are you goals with diabetes management or what’s your relationship to diabetes. It’s crystal clear that no matter how frustrating the disease, everyone want’s to find a way to accept it. And as I’ve been discovering, as much as I want yoga to be the solution, it can only ever be one of the many tools at our disposal.

Yoga for Diabetes Unleash your diabetes Dominator

One of the biggest and most important tools is having support. Knowing that someone out there completely understands whats happening to you. I found that support online.  But maybe you don’t have the time or don’t even know that that’s what you’re looking for?

When I first went on Insulin I did everything I could do get my hands on books that would help me understand what it meant to be insulin dependent. It didn’t take long to discover that there are many leading lights out there in the diabetes online community ( DOC).

One of those is the author of a new book ( being launched TODAY) called ” Unleash your Diabetes Dominator” The Author Daniele Hargenrader is a powerhouse!  One of the first things she shares in her book is – Diabetes didn’t happen to you, it happened FOR you.

Daniele’s story is one of true triumph over adversity. I’ve never met someone whose enthusiasm is so contagious. Without a doubt this book WILL inspire you and change your life for the better.

And Guess what? Yoga for Diabetes is in the book too. I entered a contest to be interviewed for the book, so I could share my story, and I was one of the people who won the contest!

So it is with total excitement that I urge you to check out Daniele’s book here and find out how she and many others manage to Dominate Diabetes every single day.

With great respect….Rachel

Unleash Your Diabetes Dominator