Headstand_Mt Falcon

Diastasis Recti

Description:  Diastasis Recti is a very common condition in women after childbirth, in which a separation in the abdominal muscles occur. However, men can also have Diastasis Recti due to too much strain from heavy lifting. The condition often goes undiagnosed for year.  I first learned about Diastasis Recti at my first 95-hour Holy Yoga Retreat Intensive.  I was measured and confirmed that I had a two-finger separation, 25 years after my son was born.


  • Belly Bulge or “pooch”
  • Low Back Pain
  • Pelvic Floor Issues – causing urine leakage when jumping, sneezing or running (Tummy Team, 2016)
  • Constipation
  • Bloating (Healthline, 2017)
  • Hernias in extreme cases where the organs begin to poke through the abdominal wall.


Benefits Precautions
Gently strengthening Transverse Abdominus (TVA) and Obliques, helping to close the gap of the Rectus Abdominus muscles. Crunches – cause too much strain, and further separate abdominal muscles.
A journey in God’s healing using gentle consistent exercises over time to heal.  Experience how powerful small actions can be in one’s life. Sit Ups – can cause further widening of the gap.
Learning patience and humility through this healing process.  Just because you can do more extreme poses such as planks, dancer and wheel doesn’t mean it’s good for your body at this point and time. Planks – RA healing is counter intuitive because it seems like hard core planks to strengthen the abs would be the way to close the gap, but on the contrary it’s gentle, subtle movement that heals.
Mindful Awareness how to engage the Obliques and TVA while continuing to breathe and meditate. Straining – lifting too much, straining if constipated
Awareness of proper alignment in day-to-day activities. Dancer Pose or Wheel Pose

Mini Flow:

  • Lying on back with knees bent, gently draw in lower abs from underneath and gently hold while breathing. Release.
  • Lying on back with knees bent, rest both hands on top of each side of the pelvic girdle. Gently engage inner core muscles, and on an exhale begin to lower right knee to the right side, keeping both feet on the floor.  Stop when you notice your hips begin to rotate, then inhale and bring right knee back to center.  Repeat on other side (Kenway, 2014).
  • Lying on back with knees bent, while maintaining natural curve in lower back, exhale an begin to slide right heel along floor until back starts to arch, then inhale and draw foot back towards hind end.


The Tummy Team,, July 15, 2016.

Healthline,, November 20, 2017.

Michelle Kenway, PT,, Diastasis Recti, November 17, 2014.

Spiritual and Psychological Inventory

Many of us realize the importance of spirituality in our lives, but now science is finally catching up and proving the effects of spirituality in healing.  Nowadays medical surveys address a person’s beliefs even in allopathic medical settings.  In our HW420 class entitled “The Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Healing” we constructed a spiritual survey to use with future clients, with reasoning why we chose each question.  We then were instructed to have a friend take the survey, and provide feedback and recommendations.  Taking time to evaluate our spiritual and psychological health is just as important as proper nutrition and exercise.

As with all assignments, personal entries have been removed to protect anonymity.  HW420 is one of the most interesting classes in my degree program, as well as HW410 mentioned below.

HW499 – Unit 8 Assignment

Resources for Stress Management and Prevention

As numerous recent studies are showing that stress is one of the main culprits causing hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and cancer due to increased cortisol levels, it is imperative to learn how to reduce our stress levels.  In our Health and Wellness studies, an entire class, HW410 entitled “Stress: Critical Issues in Management and Prevention”, was devoted to learning how to control stress through various modalities such as meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, journaling and mindful movement.  Attached is our final project highlighting key points from the course.  (Personal journal entries blacked out for privacy.)

HW499 – Unit 7 Assignment

Diet and Nutrition Recommendations and Resources – Unit 6 Assignment, Bachelors Capstone in Health and Wellness

As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food”.  More doctors are discovering the root cause of most of today’s common diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and auto-immune diseases have a direct link to the food that we eat.  This assignment is a collection of three common recommendations:

  1. Avoid sugar
  2. Avoid GMO’s
  3. Consume a mostly plant based diet including organic, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.

HW499 – Unit 6 Assignment

Using Yoga to Help Alleviate Stress, Anxiety and Panic – Unit 5 Assignment, Bachelors Capstone in Health and Wellness

For our Unit 5 Assignment, we were to create a class series on a topic using an alternative form of medicine.  Having just completed a four class series in my yoga classes on using yoga to relieve stress, with my professor’s blessing I have incorporated what I taught the past month in my weekly classes into this assignment.  Teaching theses classes and creating this assignment has helped me learn all over again how to use pranayama (breath) and yoga to reduce stress.  I hope it helps others.

HW499 – Unit 5 Project

Supplements and Vitamins for Brain Health – Unit 4 Assignment, Bachelors Capstone in Health and Wellness

After incurring a concussion which symptoms lasted a year, I have learned of several supplements to help with brain recovery.  Additionally I have also listed other recommendations including sleep and stress reduction activities.  As with any medical advice, seek the approval of your doctor as some supplements can interact with some prescription drugs.

Unit 4 Assignment – Supplements for Brain Health

Sample Assessment:

I am currently wrapping up my Bachelors of Science degree in Health and Wellness, and in our capstone course we are working on improving our websites.  This week’s assignment includes posting a sample of health and fitness assessments we did in our EF310 course – Current Trends in Exercise and Fitness, Ageing Well.  We were given case studies of four different clients to design a program according to their lifestyle and interests, using the PROS (Progression, Regularity, Overload and Specificity) and FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type) prescription models.  It is important when designing an exercise and nutrition program for a person to consider each individual’s interests, likes and dislikes for a program to be effective and sustainable.

HW499 – Unit 3 Assignment

Useful Websites:

Did you know yoga and prayer are considered alternative forms of medicine?  One of my favorite websites used in my CAMS (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) class is from the University of Minnesota, Learning Modules for Healthcare Professionals.  While this website is written for healthcare professionals, it is very informative educating the general public and user friendly.  It describes in detail eighteen different types of CAMS, although one to two hours per CAM might be too much detail for the some.  It even has little quizzes to check your understanding as you read along.

CAMS Learning Modules

As yoga therapy gains more popularity in healthcare, certain qualifications and requirements have been organized forming the International Association of Yoga Therapy (IAYT).  This past year Yoga Alliance officially declared a Yoga Instructor can no longer use the term “Yoga Therapist” without official certification from the IAYT.  To become a Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT), a person must meet certain qualifications.  For a seasoned Yoga Therapist or a Yoga Instructor who has medical training, they can apply to be “grandfathered in”; however, the deadline to apply is quickly approaching in June, 2017.  With my two year training in Occupational Therapy, and a BS in Health and Wellness, I hope to be considered grandfathered in as a CYT.  Otherwise, an instructor must take 800-1000 hours of training (about two college years) from an officially accredited Yoga Therapy school.  The only school that offers a graduate degree program in Yoga Therapy and is recognized by IAYT is the Maryland University of Integrative Medicine.  The IAYT’s goal is to make yoga therapy a recognized modality in the healthcare community.

International Association of Yoga Therapy

Did you know Yoga Therapy in some programs is now covered by Medicare?  Dr. Dean Ornish’s “Reverse It” program uses four different modalities to reverse heart disease:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Cardio or aerobic exercise
  3. Yoga for stress reduction
  4. Love and Support

Other cardiology clinics employ Yoga Therapists just as they employ Occupational and Physical Therapists.  The more science discovers the role yoga plays in reducing stress, which in turn reduces cortisol levels lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity, the more Yoga Therapy will become a recognized modality not only in the CAMS arena, but also in allopathic medicine.

Dr. Ornish’s “Undo It” Program to Reduce Heart Disease

Everyone who practices yoga will eventually visit Yoga Journal’s website.  This is one of the most popular yoga publications where a yogi can look up how to do any pose, find a yoga sequence as well as numerous articles about yoga.  When a person is learning yoga, imperative to learn the proper alignment of each pose.  Yoga Journal strives to provide directions for proper alignment, although ultimately you cannot replace working with a good Yoga Instructor.

Yoga Journal

Yoga Alliance is a nationally recognized organization accrediting Yoga Instructors.  There are different qualifications for Yoga Instructors as follows:

RYT200 = Registered Yoga Teacher who has 200 hours of training by an accredited Yoga Alliance school.

RYT500 = Registered Yoga Teacher who has 500 hours of training in an accredited Yoga Alliance school.

ERYT200 and ERYT500 = Experienced RYT with either 200 or 500 hours of training.  An instructor must have documented teaching time 1000 hours and two years since certification.

Yoga Alliance

Most people do not realize that Yoga Alliance is not the only certification of good Yoga Instructors.  Holy Yoga now has approximately 1800 stellar Yoga Instructors worldwide, who have had world class training from many experienced instructors as well as the medical community.  Their certifications are similar to Yoga Alliances as follows:

R-HYI225 = Registered Holy Yoga Instructor with 225 hours of training.

M-HYI = Masters Holy Yoga Instructor with 500 hours of training.  (I will be completing this training in June, 2017!)

Specialty courses include – Chair, Touch Training, Trauma Sensitive, Pre-Natal, Kid and Aerial.

The Holy Yoga website is a great resource for a person’s spiritual health as well with guided meditations to soothe the soul.

Holy Yoga

Interesting Articles:

Most everyone has heard how yoga helps to increase flexibility, balance, and decreases stress, but did you know yoga also helps lower cortisol levels which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, food seeking behavior and diabetes?  According to Dr. Timothy McCall, yoga is instrumental in bringing cortisol levels back to homeostasis.  As Medical Editor of Yoga Journal, below is an article written by Dr. McCall listing 38 Benefits of Yoga (McCall, 2007):

38 Health Benefits of Yoga

I originally discovered yoga in 2005 after pulling a muscle in my back.  The muscle strain was so severe, I had to miss a day of work unable to hardly move or dress.  I remember how poses such as “Legs Up the Wall”, Child’s Pose and Cat Cow helped to relieve and heal my lower back.  Since then, research studies have shown the benefits of yoga to help with lower back pain, as well as other ailments (Walter, 2011).

Yoga helps relieve lower back pain

An article from Harvard Health Publications list benefits of yoga beyond the mat, influencing daily life such as eating, weight control and a healthier self-esteem from a better body image (HMS, 2015).  I have discovered first-hand how improving the physical body carries over to improve the emotions and spirit.

Yoga – Benefits Beyond the Mat

Tao Porchon-Lynch who is currently the world’s oldest yoga teacher is a real life example of how yoga can benefit health and wellness, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Her positive outlook on life combined with healthy eating and an active lifestyle are an inspiration to us all.  At 98 years young, she continues to teach yoga classes and travel around the world (Popsugar, 2016).

World’s Oldest Yoga Instructor


McCall, T., PhD (Aug. 28, 2007) 38 Benefits of Yoga, Yoga Journal, Retrieved from:

Walter, G., MPH (2011) Yoga and the Management of Chronic Back Pain, Center for Health and Wellness, Yoga and Meditation, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences, Retrieved from:

HMS (Feb., 2015) Yoga – Benefits Beyond the Mat, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, Retrieved from:

PopSugar (Sept., 2016) This 98 Year Yogi has the Secret to a Super-long Stress-free Life, YouTube, Retrieved from:

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