Dr. Kathie M. Black, PhD
CYT, CYA-E-RYT 500, CRA RM-RT
Fill in the details to crystallize your intentions
“Please, don’t tell me your idea”, my husband exclaimed!
“But, why? It’s such a great idea?” I replied, surprised at his response.
“Because if you tell me, I’ll have to build it for you,” he explained.
He’s right. For the past 35 years we have been working together as a team. I seem to have the crazy ideas, he has the vision along with me, and he then turns around and helps that vision become clear, real, and physically tangible. Today I want to share with you some of the wonderful crystallization of some of my own personal intentions.
Our current Heat to Heal™ studio was originally a piece of dirt with a side hill. It first became an addition to our rather large home complete with a six-car garage and workroom for the boys and a master bath on the second floor. For many years that garage was the place where manifestations of projects were realized. The boys (we raised three sons and had one living at home at the time – when I refer to the “boys”, I’m talking about my husband and sons), built trucks, kayaks, more trucks, motorcycles, Christmas presents, ATVs, more trucks in that space. At one point the workroom became an exercise room for my son when he married and suited our downstairs for his new wife, and soon to follow baby. The space was full of love even if it was full of grease and noise. When our son, wife, daughter, and soon to be new son made their move to work for Blackstone in the Vancouver area, the space was now ours to intend. My husband had a large shop at the top of the property and for years my intention had focused on turning this space into what is now our amazing Heat to Heal™ Studio. My thoughts of the space began while sitting in a particularly stressful Faculty Meeting at work, and I started doodling on the back of the agenda by drawing out our house. A year or so later while in Mexico at a Yoga Teacher training, I drew the space again with the entire lower floor as a therapy centre and the space for the studio with windows all around, beautiful floors, and a space dedicated to healing. I saw this in my head over and over. I explained my thoughts to my husband and through his efforts, the crystallization of the building became even more clear and sharper than what I saw in my head. Throughout the project I kept repeating to myself, “If you build it, they will come,” taking the intent even further past the building stages onto the wonderful times with students to come in the future. The result of our final building is an amazing manifestation of our intention.
Fast forward to the communication at the beginning of this article.
We held a silent retreat in November at Heat to Heal™. It was a wonderful 24 hours being completing unplugged from technology and other trappings of our every day life. The only thing is, how on earth do you meditate and keep your mind calm when it is not a usual part of your life? I focused on renovating my home. In my head. After each meditation, I pondered each and every room of my space and completely redesigned my space from the floor to the ceiling. Utilizing existing rooms, changing some walls, removing some rooms, heightening ceilings, thinking, “I wonder if this is possible? Will the roof trusses allow this change?” Then thinking, “well pretty much anything can be done in construction”. When my house became completely crystal clear in my thoughts, my breath slowed, my mind settled and my silence was complete. It may seem like a silly way to pass the hours, but in between the prayers and meditations, my mind had to go somewhere, this is where I let it go. When my husband finally let me tell him my ideas, he said, “yes, you are right, anything can be done in construction, but honey, I think this time we aren’t going to crystalize your ideas.”
Throughout the years my husband and I have built many homes together – never once from the ground up – always renovating existing structures, but improving and moving these spaces onto wonderful works that others now enjoy. Together we have built businesses, completed university degrees (me), raised three sons (together), fostered over 55 children, and now revel in grandchildren. During my careers and daily life my intentions for curriculum, classes, papers, books, projects for gifts and more have all begun with one idea. This idea turns into an intention, and when I fill in the details for the intention, it becomes crystallized in my head and eventually becomes a reality. It is not a quick process; it takes hard work, patience, loving thoughts, and accepting the risks along the way. Last month a friend shared a great article in the Huffington Post called, “The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today” where Mark Manson, (Nov 2013) talks about the suffering you must be willing to accept on your chosen path. This article gave me many moments of pause and encouragement. We have been willing to sacrifice over the years to reach our goals. We are not wealthy people; we are abundant people. We plan and work toward our goals determining what is possible through understanding every detail of the intention we have. Do we have to forgo things and activities in order to achieve our final goals? Usually, however our final efforts are, in fact, more beautiful and peaceful than we intended. We have always gone forth with the idea that the spaces we have are just material spaces. They do not belong to us; they are a gift that can disappear in a moment – or natural disaster. Everything we have belongs to the Lord, and in his infinite wisdom, through our efforts, we have succeeded in crystallizing our intentions into wonderful amazing blessings. At this point, I must give great thanks for having an amazing partner to have shared these wonderful experiences together. I realize that not everyone has a partner along their life path, but we all have our “villages” and our “people” – those who help us along the way. We are all in this together. Find your support group and help them help you achieve your intentions.
My advice to you to help crystalize your intention: Fill in all the details, don’t overlook anything. Weigh the pros and cons, make the decision, and then pray about the decision. Meditate upon it and listen for the answer. You’ll know if it’s not the right answer because the idea will float away or you will have a “stupor of thought” meaning you wont’ remember what you were planning. The right answer will burn within you, or give you a peaceful feeling, or you will see the way clearly. When you receive the answer that your intention is the right path, then set your feet solidly on the ground and trust that your dream and intention will find the realization through your hard work. Fill in the details to crystallize your intentions!
Have you been wondering about Yoga in our Modern Western world? Please find below an article I wrote earlier in the year for the Canadian Yoga Alliance. We’d love to hear from you about how you experience this wonderful ancient practice of Yoga in our Modern World! Feel free to contact us today with your comments or to register for one of our upcoming events!
Teaching Yoga in Our Modern World
Dr. Kathie M. Black, PhD
CYT, E-RYT 500, CRA RM/RT
When asked to write this article about Teaching Yoga in our Modern World I wondered, “what is our modern world?” How modern is modern when compared to an ancient form of practice that we realistically can’t even find exact dates of origin. In fact, it appears that yogic practices have been around in some form or another since the beginning of mankind. Cool. We can watch wonderful videos of Modern Day yogis travelling through India (see Yoga Origins with Georg Feuerstein on U-Tube); however, this isn’t what yoga looks like to most of us living in the rest of the world. Our modern world in British Columbia, Canada in 2013 is a much similar world to smaller towns all up and down the Western Coast of Canada and into California, but different as we move South into Mexico and on into South America. The modern world of The Greater Vancouver area, or the Greater Edmonton Area, or the Greater Toronto Area differs greatly from yoga in my small town. In fact, my area is vastly different from some of the rural towns in Saskatchewan or Alberta or Manitoba or Prince Edward Island. Yoga is practiced in homes, on beaches, in recreation centres, in gyms, in places of business where tables and chairs are moved out of the way, in lovely bright open airy studios, or dark rooms with heat and no windows. Yoga is practiced on golf courses, in forests, on beaches, on quads, on horses, in swimming pools, with partners, or singularly alone in a mountain cabin. Yoga in our modern world is as diverse as each of us. No right or wrong way approaches us in this quest for enlightenment and transcendence. True yogis understand this – there is no right and no wrong way – there is only the way, the path, the journey, the everyday trying of being better today than yesterday in all that we do, say, how we move, and what we learn from practice.
We are truly blessed to have an abundance of yoga in our world. Wherever we are in the world we can practice yoga. I love that many of my yogi and yogini friends travel the world and have exuberant and crazy adventures they share with me. I’m not currently travelling the world physically in my yogic path, but enjoying living in a wonderfully secluded quiet place. It is here where I feel the quiet wisdom of old growth forests, delight as eagles soar over my head each day, and love being gently nudged by a sweet chocolate lab telling me to go to my mat or simply to get off the computer and go to bed. My friends experience circles of light; asana practices that maybe I would’ve tried when I was in my 30s or 40s, but certainly not my late 50s; but we all commune in this wonderful thing we call yoga. The modern world and teaching yoga allows us to explore the ages and phases of life in all its wonders. I revel in the kids and parents classes we teach and seeing videos of my golf buddies 2-year-old grand children practicing, “yoga”. I love it when my own grandchildren show up in my studio and want to dance and “do” yoga. I especially love it when I have older women and men come into my studio and realize there is still joy in their aging and painful bodies. I find exuberance is seeing the smiles that come about when moments of Samadhi are reached.
Of course, the business of yoga creeps into the joy of teaching. We have to make money to exist and live. Sometimes there are unfair practices for teachers by studio owners, blatant and in-your-face advertising practices, but the closer studio owners and yogis can come to living a true yogic lifestyle, the easier and more joyful the path for teachers becomes. The resulting efforts will translate directly in happier classes and contented students. Whether you enjoy a noisy, boisterous, friendly class; a quiet, individualized, come in the room and no one talks but the teacher class; or, you simply want your own private personal practice in your special place – be it the deck, the gazebo, the extra room in your house, or the beach, you can have the experience your heart calls for. Yoga in our Modern world means yoga for you – yoga for the individual. You can commune with a class, get your sweat on in another, quietly chant mantras in another, and learn how to move in safer ways in therapy classes. I love Yoga in our Modern World. Yoga is so much more than an exercise class at the gym that helps you have a firm body – yoga helps you transcend the noise of the modern world and find your own true path to transcendence and joy. I wish you well on your path. May it be one of your choosing.
Heat & Healing,
Dr. Kathie M. Black, PhD
Director Heat to Heal
Dr. Kathie M. Black, PhD, CYT, E-RYT 500, RM/RT
Infrared Heat Helps Fight Cancer
An ancient Greek doctor named Parmenides stated, “Give me a chance to create fever, and I will cure any disease” (Hancock, 2003). Cancer continues to be one of the top killers in modern society. Cures for cancer are rare, intrusive, and painful. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can put any family into a tailspin of fear and apprehension for the future. Cancer foundations abundantly dot the number of organizations striving to find cures for virtually any diagnosed type of cancer. Multiple therapies emerge seemingly daily. The three common major forms of therapy include chemotherapy (invasive, debilitating, frightening), radiation (the same), and surgery along with a multitude of alternative therapies from shock therapy to photo therapy to nutritional supplements and herbal supplements to help the body rid itself of malignant cells and tumors. Holistic cancer treatments work on strengthening the entire immune system and killing off toxic cancer cells through such interventions as diet modifications, anti-cancer herbs, and nutritional supplements. Even positive mental imagery helps the cancer patient work toward eliminating the enemy within. One thing all modalities agree upon is that cancer cells cannot survive heat. Infrared heat becomes a “hyperthermic” treatment that artificially raises the body temperature allowing the body to literally burn out cancer cells. Malignant cancer cells are more sensitive to heat than healthy cells. Hyperthermic treatment consists of heating the body either in the local area of the cancer cells or tumor, regional sections, or by treating the entire body. Short & Turner (1980) found that hyperthermic treatments were especially successful in killing cells that radiation or chemotherapy previously were unable to kill, thus making a combination therapy of chemo, radiation, and hyperthermia desirable.
Infrared waves penetrate the skin past the epidermis into the dermis (outer skin layer to inner skin layer) of depths of approximately 3/4 to 1/5” (inches) (6-8cm or 1.0-2.5mm). This deeper penetration of heat into the skin results in increased action of the cell structure releasing water and toxins. With the build up of chemo chemicals in the system, this rapid warming and releasing of water molecules and toxins, aids in a quicker reduction of chemicals in the body system. Far-infrared therapy has the ability to break the protective rings around harmful molecules so the cancer cell can no longer survive. It also weakens the bonds between toxins and human tissues allowing the flushing of stored toxins out of the system faster and in greater quantities through sweating and excretion. Cancer patients, on average, have a higher load of toxins than healthy individuals, making the importance of flushing toxins from the system doubly important (ICNIRP, 2006).
Combining cancer treatment modalities appears to be the most effective means of treatment. There are a number of various natural methods to aid in helping individuals attack cancer in their lives; however, all patients should seek qualified, licensed medical professionals at the first sign or onset of any type of cancer and not try to self-diagnose or treat cancer without those qualified sources.
Studies have shown that when exposed to high levels of heat, cancer cells die faster at a fraction of the usual doses of chemotherapy and radiation. In addition to finding improved reaction to traditional therapies of chemotherapy and radiation, patients exposed to infrared treatments have also noticed a marked lowering of pain resulting in a decrease of pain medications. Additional benefits of using infrared heat for cancer patients result in better pain relief, more restful sleep, improved circulation, and a boost to the body’s regenerative abilities. Simply put, infrared heat helps fight cancer.
To read more about how an infrared sauna can improve your health, please contact Blackstone Saunas today or download Need for Heat: A Complete Guide to Far Infrared Saunas by Dr. Kathie M. Black, PhD, available at www.ravenrockpublishing.com
Black, K.M. (2007). Cancer dialog for Blackstone Saunas. www.blackstonesaunas.com
Flickstein, A.M. (2007). Infrared Radiant Energy. www.doctordetox.co.uk/dr-flickstein.php.
Hancock, M. (2003). Complementary Cancer Care. Alive Magazine. Issue #248, June 2003.
Hasan, T., Ortel, B., Moor, A.C.E., Pogue, B.W. (1997). Photodynamic therapy of cancer. In Radiation Oncology, pages 605-622, Section 9. Retrieved from www.dartmouth.edu/~bilaser/papers/reviews/ch40_color.pdf
Hirsch, L.R., Stafford, R.J., Bankson, J.A., Sershen, S.R., Rivera, B., Price, R.E., Hazle, J.D., Halas, N.J., and West, J.L. (2003). Nanoshell-mediated near-infrared therapy of tumors under magnetic resonance guidance. The National Academy of Sciences. PNAS, November 11, 2003, Vol. 100, No. 23, 13549-13554. Retrieved from www.panas.org/content/100/23/13549.full.
International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). (2006). Official statement in Health Physics. Dec. 2006, Vol. 91, No. 6.
Kaltsas, H. (2000). Hyperthermia (InfraRed) and Electrotherapy: too hot for cancer. Alternative Medicine, 37, September 2000.
Phi Natural Health International LTD. (2004). Natural Cancer Treatments. Retrieved from www.howtohealwithherbs.com/index.php.
Short, J.G., and Turner, P.F. (1980). Physical hyperthermia and cancer therapy. Proceedings of the IEEE., Jan 1980., Vol. 68, Issue 1, Pages 133-142. Date published in issue: 2005-06-28 14:49:43.0.
Varicose Veins and Yoga in a Hot Room
Dr. Kathie M. Black, PhD
This post is an answer to a great question I received this week from a fellow yoga teacher. It was such a great question and consequent research adventure for me that I felt it was important to share with the rest of the world. Enjoy!
Question: I have had a student ask the question as to whether yoga in a hot room is valuable for varicose veins. Her doctor told her absolutely no as it causes too much vasodilation. Do you have any research you can point me to suggesting the real facts?
Peace, Beth ox
Hi Beth – let’s start with an exploration into why vasodilation might be a bad thing… here are the definitions from Wikipedia on Varicose Veins and Vasodilation:
Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and tortuous. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere. Veins have leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards (retrograde flow or reflux). Leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart (the calf muscle pump mechanism), against the effects of gravity. When veins become varicose, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves do not work (valvular incompetence). This allows blood to flow backwards and they enlarge even more. Varicose veins are most common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides being a cosmetic problem, varicose veins can be painful, especially when standing. Severe long-standing varicose veins can lead to leg swelling, venouseczema, skin thickening (lipodermatosclerosis) and ulceration. Life-threatening complications are uncommon, but varicose veins may be confused with deep vein thrombosis, which may be life-threatening.[medical citation needed]
Vasodilation (or vasodilatation) refers to the widening of blood vessels. It results from relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, in particular in the large veins, large arteries, and smaller arterioles. In essence, the process is the opposite of vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels.
When blood vessels dilate, the flow of blood is increased due to a decrease in vascular resistance. Therefore, dilation of arterial blood vessels (mainly the arterioles) decreases blood pressure. The response may be intrinsic (due to local processes in the surrounding tissue) or extrinsic (due to hormones or the nervous system). In addition, the response may be localized to a specific organ (depending on the metabolic needs of a particular tissue, as during strenuous exercise), or it may be systemic (seen throughout the entire systemic circulation).
So, to deconstruct vasodilation, what the doctor is probably referring to is the chance that excessive heat could cause a drop in blood pressure – which might result in fainting, falling, etc. as well as the blood flow back into the veins (see first paragraph).
Here is what I think on the situation: Heat is one of the leading treatments for painful varicose veins. Site after site and research study after research study listed applying heat packs as one of the best ways to reduce the pain of varicose veins. Heat helps speed blood circulation and moves blood away from the smaller veins and is sent back through the system in the larger pathways.
Common causes of varicose veins are people who are on their feet all day, genetics, or even those of us who hyper extend our knees. One of the key ingredients to good blood flow is adequate temperature of the body and clear air pathways. When people are typically practicing yoga in extremely hot temperatures (as some studios can get), their breathing becomes shallow, less oxygen is taken in, and blood flow is restricted. Couple this with improper alignment with locking up or impeding blood flow through the joints, and you can end up with an increase in symptomology of varicose veins. Interestingly, there was no specific clinical research on varicose veins and hot yoga – only listed as one of the many maladies that are helped with yoga.
There are some easy answers for your student to continue practicing yoga, though; and one of these is to use infrared heat in the studio rather than forced air or traditional heating. Infrared heat heats objects, not the surrounding air, so the student will be able to breathe better and have better oxygen flow to the system. In addition, infrared heat aids in better circulation throughout the entire body, so this will help ensure the blood pathways are clear. In addition to having infrared heat in the studio, I would encourage the student to have an infrared sauna in their home where they can have a full session with infrared therapy to increase their blood flow. Infrared heat and infrared probes are all listed as the leading forms of therapy for diagnosis as well as reduction of varicose veins. If you’d like more information about heating your studio with infrared, please see Yoga Panels.com and let them know I’ve sent you. If you’d like to refer your student to find her own infrared sauna, please see Blackstone Saunas. Through the past nine years I have researched and followed the research on the health benefits on infrared and am finding it increasingly used in therapy for increased circulation.
Another great thing that you have in your teacher’s tool kit are the universal principles of alignment that ensure your student has proper body alignment that will allow for blood movement through the joints flow easily. Encourage your student to always have the “micro-bend” in the knee and to practice “legs up the wall” daily. You cannot over emphasize the value of this 15-minute daily practice. If you are actively planning practices for this student, I would recommend Yin and Restoratives with lots of legs up the wall and some gentle Hatha. A Flow or Vinyasa practice will help with circulation; however, if the student has problems with locking their knees, there could be several problematic areas with these styles. Walking, simple walking around the block a few times followed by a gentle restorative practice (that includes legs up the wall – with lots of variety as you go along) will help this student. Personally, I discourage yoga in very hot rooms unless it is a Yin or Restorative – and then only if heated by infrared as the temperatures do not have to be as high and the students get the great benefits of infrared as well as more comfort in breathing.
Heat & Healing,
Heat to Heal
Heat to Heal Field of Dreams
“Build it, and they will come” the famous line from Kevin Costner’s movie, “Field of Dreams” has been our personal mantra from the inception of, and throughout, the building of Heat to Heal Training Facility and Sanctuary. Whenever I or my husband would become discouraged, impatient, or unsure of this project, we would repeat this mantra to one another. We expressed this thought to those closest to us – our dear family, friends, and colleagues. “Build it, and they will come”. Heads nodded and all understood. So, we have gone forward with faith that, indeed, this would be the case. Heat to Heal Field of Dreams is a reality!
Today the reality of this mantra opening up and becoming a reality is clear and poignant for me as people are making their way here.
Jaime Michelle started her trek from Utah today, Krisanna is coming soon from California, new students are coming from North Vancouver, our local area, and even from Spain. Karen’s plane flights were booked yesterday for her travel here in May!
Wonderful works of art began their travel here today, too, with the shipping of the amazing work of art entitled, “The Tree of Light” by Jaime Michelle that has a special meaning to me and my own personal faith based on the story of Lehi’s Dream in the Book of Mormon. A long awaited incredible Chakra set of especially designed crystal singing bowls from Steven and John at Crystal Tones – that includes a unique “Grandmother Practitioner Bowl” chosen especially by Steven for my personal practice was sent today as well. We are looking forward to Steven and John coming to our facility and offering of their incredible talents and skills with crystal singing bowls soon and are happy to announce that Heat to Heal and Blackstone Saunas are now distributors of Crystal Tones Singing Bowls! What a wonderful blessing this will bring to so many of our clients, students, colleagues, and therapy patients. Brenda Feurstein is sending Georg Feuerstein’s philosophy manuals in time for next week and we want to warmly thank Brenda for all her help in the last few days – we can’t wait to meet you! Our other texts are on their way from Amazon. Windows, doors, beds, and more are in Vancouver waiting for customs to clear, and are almost here. Landscaping is going in, sound system tonight, pansies waiting patiently for potting, lesson plans coming together, but most importantly, are these wonderful wonderful blessings of people coming – coming to Heat to Heal.
We have built it – they are coming.
I am overwhelmed with gratefulness.
Heat and Healing,