Rosalie Malter, M.A., E-RYT 500. Rosalie earned her B.S. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois. She earned her M.A. degree in counseling from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She was a certified Biofeedback therapist from 1984 - 2001. Rosalie is a certified yoga teacher (RYT 500) and has been teaching since 1985. In 2001 she made Yoga for You, an introductory video. Rosalie co-authored, Shrinking the Judge, in 1996 and a second edition in 1998. For more information on yoga and health coaching, contact Rosalie through The Malter Institute.

Yoga and Mineral Balancing

Author: Rosalie Malter, M.A., E-RYT 500

Yoga is a way of life, not just an exercise system. All aspects of yoga work towards balance — which is the definition of physical and mental health. The movement/exercise aspect of yoga is called hatha yoga. ‘Ha’ or sun energy and ‘tha’ or moon energy are joined via yoga, which means ‘to yoke.’

Bamboo and Stone, by Guan Daosheng

Yoga philosophy includes the four fountains, these are our basic drives for food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation. In the classical recommendations regarding food, there is discussion about the different tastes: sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent. In today's culture, sweet and salty tastes predominate, but the full variety of tastes is necessary for a balanced diet. When one eats this full variety of tastes, he/she is more likely to consume a full range of nutrients. Of course, this sage dietary advice was more valid hundreds of years ago when the soils were not yet toxic and depleted. So, to achieve health in the industrialized world, in addition to eating a nutrient dense diet, balancing nutrients requires some additional nutritional supplementation.

For those individuals with a high stress lifestyle, both yoga and mineral balancing are beneficial to stress management. Yoga contributes to stress management by utilizing slow stretching and holding postures that stretch and relax muscles. In addition, deep diaphragmatic breathing acts to calm the nervous system. If a student has low energy, other yoga postures can be rejuvenating or stimulating, bringing the energy more towards a balanced state. Pranayama practice (various breath control techniques) can be either calming or stimulating also. The goal is always working towards balance.

Mineral balancing, as guided by hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (hTMA), can help to balance the autonomic nervous system; the sympathetic (the alarm system) and parasympathetic (rest and digest system). Rest and digest sounds more ideal, but too much parasympathetic input can lead to burn-out and low energy. Achieving balance is a delicate act, just like many yoga balance postures.

The results of a hTMA identify the mineral ratios that reflect balances between essential nutrient minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. And some of these ratios can affect your ability to do certain yoga postures. For example, copper (Cu) contributes to flexibility and increases the ability to do postures that require flexibility. A low Zn/Cu (zinc/copper) ratio that reflects copper excess can have negative health repercussions.

It is not unusual for students to get muscle cramps while doing yoga postures. Usually the cramps are an indication of a high calcium/magnesium (Ca/Mg) ratio, because Ca enables muscle contraction and Mg allows the muscle to relax. As a yoga instructor, I always suggest my students get a hTMA if they are getting a lot of cramping in class. Invariably, the hTMA identifies that there is a low Mg or a high Ca/Mg ratio. High Ca/Mg is also associated with sugar cravings which upset the taste balance mentioned above.

Ideally, a healthy and balanced lifestyle in our stressful culture and toxic environment would include a yoga practice (with meditation) and individual-specific nutritional healing guided by a qualified hTMA practitioner.

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