Newsletter March 2019

24th May 2019


Diet, Exercise and Sleeping Out

Health, contentment and trust

Are your greatest possessions,

And freedom your greatest joy.

(Joy, Dhammapada)

Last summer – for the first time since my early 20’s – my moderate psoriasis – an inheritable skin condition that in some form or other affects more than a quarter of the population – disappeared miraculously after less than 2 weeks on a gluten and dairy free diet. Astonished I started reading up on gluten, autoimmune conditions and other diet-related topics whilst watching my personal reactions.

I found, amongst others, this documentary very interesting, in particular the interview with William Davies (59:13 to 1:04:26) which argues that we might be on a detrimental diet not just since the agricultural “green revolution” but for the past 10.000 or so years.

I soon came to realise that probably other lifestyle factors were involved, for example much time spent in the sunshine on beaches that summer, a retreat with much bliss and meditation and emotionally, not to be underestimated, a big load off my shoulders after having quit a restricting work situation. My psoriasis eventually returned when autumn came and with it the conclusion that there is no silver bullet or universal solution to any condition, be it physical, mental, environmental or other. Individual and holistic approaches only seem to allow any long term, any true healing – and not fighting the symptoms in a warfare mindset.

Nevertheless, I eventually stuck to a gluten (wheat, rye and barley) free and dairy free diet, feeling less bloated, not only after meals, both physically and mentally. My occasional joint aches (psoriasis often develops into arthritis with age) have almost entirely ceased.

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Do as you teach! Whilst I often advice stretching or yoga to my clients I’ve been pretty lenient with myself, apart from daily meditation and some basic spine stretches. So when I came across the yoga classes of Stamena Milusheva in Bradford-on-Avon I was impressed on several levels. New to me, in that context, was a mental warm up in form of a “dharma talk” in the beginning of her sessions, a story or short talk relating to emotional and spiritual aspects of the “yoga of life”. There I found myself amongst pretty advanced yogis and went – particularly on the first session – through a lot of pain. And in the midst of it, when stretching my pelvis to the max, I experienced, to my astonishment, strong emotional relief. I’ve always been advising on the connection of particular the hip flexor muscle (Psoas) to emotional luggage – but until then never really experienced it first hand.

If you know what you teach, you can teach what you know.

More recently even I became aware of the “Ice Man”, Wim Hof, after I posted a short clip of my second cold water dip in the river. I learned about cold water swimming being used as “medicine” substituting anti depressents in a BBC documentary “The doctor who gave up drugs”. According to Wim Hof cold water swimming in combination with a certain breathing techniques can go as far as voluntarily controlling your autonomous nervous system. I’m sure I’ll be writing more of this journey in the future.

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Coming Friday – after warming up chanting with Tim Chalice – I’ll be sleeping out in Victoria Park at the annual charity event “The Big Bath Sleepout” by Julian House in support of this local homeless charity.

Not so long ago, even though it feels like ages, I found myself being homeless myself, if only for a few weeks and throughout this time always supported and sheltered by friends.

Still, for most of us homelessness is not more than a couple of paychecks away. And some don’t have family or friends to fall back onto to none of their fault or wrongdoing.

It’s my first fundraising and I will donate a free massage treatment of choice (deep tissue, seated or indian head massage) worth £50 to the donor of the largest contribution.

Please join the team or contribute to our fundraising.
Thank you!
Together we can make a difference.

Whatever you choose to do, I’m wishing you happy healing!

With love
Jan Erik

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