The Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

Traditionally, yoga poses or “asanas”, were developed and practiced in India to help the body and mind develop flexibility during long hours of meditation. What many people don’t know however, is that yoga is about much more than physical fitness alone. It is a holistic system with the physical component of asanas only forming one out of eight limbs of a complete yoga practice. Yoga means “to unite”, referring to the union of body, mind and spirit. It is a science of balanced living, a path for realizing full human…

Breathing Techniques to Reduce Stress and Aid in Recovery

by Nirmala Raniga, Founder and Director From the moment we’re born, we breathe— taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide through the process of respiration. In general, breathing is a simple, automatic—yet vital—function of our nervous systems, and does not require our attention. In healthy individuals, whether we are awake or asleep, areas deep in the brain align the breath with our activities and oxygen requirements without our intervention. According to yogic tradition, the breath is far more than an automatic bodily function; it is our life force, or prana,…

Helpful Communication Steps to Establish Healthy Boundaries

by Nirmala Raniga, Founder and Director Boundaries are clearly established parameters of emotional, physical, and mental space that we expect others to respect in the relationships they have with us. Learning how to set personal boundaries in life is necessary for emotional balance, allowing us to maintain a healthy sense of self and find fulfillment in both professional and personal relationships. Healthy boundaries also provide the physical and emotional space we need to act and express ourselves as unique individuals, capable of making our own choices, and give us the…

Finding the Mother Within

Everyone is born from a mother. And, even if individuals are separated from their biological mothers after birth, ideally they receive care from someone who took on that nurturing role, providing safety, nourishment, and unconditional love. In infancy, such needs are often met by a mother figure, a person able to devote herself fully to responding to the baby’s feelings of discomfort. The attention and feedback that the mother gives her child is integral in helping him grow into adulthood with a healthy sense of self. In his book, Free…

An Introduction to Ayurveda

by Nirmala Raniga Ayurveda, a Sanskrit term meaning “science of life,” is a 5,000-year-old healing system founded in India. From the Ayurvedic perspective, we, as human beings, are not merely thinking machines, but rather fields of intelligence, interacting with the information and energy that surrounds us. Through these daily interactions, stress, diet, and other routine parts of life can shift the balance of both body and mind, which can lead to health issues. Fortunately, the wisdom of Ayurveda can help connect us more deeply to our minds and bodies, offering…

How to Choose a Treatment Centre

by Nirmala Raniga When you or a loved one is struggling with addictive behaviours or other mental health concerns, finding the help you need can be an overwhelming process. With such a wide range of treatment facilities available, how does one determine if a centre will effectively meet the needs of the client? In order to find quality treatment for healthy sustainable changes, we offer the following suggestions.   1. Investigate: All too often, a crisis or life-threatening event tends to be what prompts a person and their family to…

Good Mood Food

by Jessi McLennan, NNCP The food that we eat plays a huge role in not only our physical health but also our mental health. On a day to day basis, the types of food that we choose can either help to stabilize our mood by balancing blood sugar levels, or it can cause unbalanced fluctuations in blood sugar levels which can result in lethargy, poor concentration, agitation or moodiness. Food also plays a crucial role in supplying the brain with the raw ingredients– in the form of vitamins, minerals, amino…

Simplify your Space for Spring

by Nirmala Raniga “There exists within each of us a natural state of simple and open awareness in which we feel happy, light, and at peace… We can begin to let go of the complications that cause us to suffer by cultivating a simple state of awareness. In this process, tiny steps yield big results, in part because simplicity is nature’s default position.” – Dr. Deepak Chopra Spring is a time when birds begin building nests, blossoms appear, and we often feel called to renew ourselves in mind, body, and…

Healthy Answers for Stress Relief

by Nirmala Raniga Chronic stress is a widespread health concern that has reached epidemic proportions. Stress can have emotional and physical repercussions, including anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and migraines, and can lead to more serious illnesses like heart disease and cancer. In looking for ways to escape stress, people commonly adopt unhealthy behaviors such as overeating or unhealthy eating, excessive media consumption, drinking alcohol, smoking, or other habits. These behaviors and substances may provide temporary relief from stress, but have long-term negative health effects on the body, and do…

Continuing Care in Recovery

Relapse, or the fear of relapse, is one of the most challenging aspects addicts face in maintaining recovery. Whether the individual has stopped drug or alcohol abuse, smoking, disordered eating or any number of harmful behaviors, the anxiety around starting up again is daunting. Following any type of recovery treatment or after one or more periods of abstinence, the stress around wanting to stay clean can sometimes drive the person back to their old habits. In some cases shame and guilt may even result in suicide attempts. It is important…