Prenatal Yoga: Filling Your Toolbox with Mind-Body Connection

By Amy Erickson, Latitude 44 Yoga Studio 4

Before you start: It is always advised to check with your care provider before participating in physical activity during pregnancy. Your care provider is most informed on your and your baby’s current state of health and is able to make the educated decision on what is best for you at this time. Generally speaking, though, prenatal yoga is encouraged by care givers during pregnancy due to its immense benefits. Prenatal yoga is gentle in nature and easy to welcome into your transitioning body.

Looking for an instructor: Prenatal yoga is a specialty and requires additional training to not only keep momma and baby safe, but to also structure an effective class. A 200-hour yoga teacher training (for general yoga practice) is required plus 90 additional hours for the prenatal yoga specialty. I have completed extensive training.

How is prenatal yoga different from regular yoga? There are many variations. The movements are tailored to meet the needs of the changing body and prepare momma for the labor and delivery process. There are also movements that need to be avoided (select forms of twisting for example) to keep momma and baby safe. An experienced practitioner/yogi is generally okay taking a regular yoga class after discussing modifications with a trained professional in regard to poses and sensations to avoid. Mom would need to be extra mindful of her movements if taking a regular class. If opting for regular yoga classes, you still get the great benefits of yoga but are excluding the great benefits that are specific to prenatal yoga.

The poses themselves can change slightly or more dramatically over the course of the pregnancy depending on the woman and the pregnancy. Various poses are more beneficial in specific trimesters, and various poses are to be avoided.

What are the benefits? In class, we focus intently on breathing, including its effect on feelings of stress and tension, ways to use breath to calm the mind and body in intense situations (labor!), bringing awareness and a sense of connection to the pelvic floor, strengthening and preparing parts of the body that are most affected by the beautiful changes caused by pregnancy, and learning ways to be mindful of your needs. We assist in filling your toolbox with the mind-body connection and strength that is helpful both on and off your mat, during your pregnancy, labor, and post-delivery.

Our classes range in size and ebb and flow as our mommas welcome their little ones. We then “meet them on the other side,” as we like to say, as we also offer postnatal yoga! Babies are welcome to postnatal yoga, so it’s nice to see the ladies and babies come full circle. Partners are welcome to participate in both prenatal and postnatal yoga!

Amy Erickson is certified through the Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja California Sur, Mexico (RYT200, in process of RYT500), 8 Limbs Yoga Centers in Seattle, Washington (Prenatal Yoga – RPYT), and Barre Bliss in Minneapolis.

What Can Be Done to Reduce the Likelihood of My Child Getting Tooth Decay?

There are only three areas that can be addressed to reduce the possibility of tooth decay: the teeth, the bacteria, and what feeds the bacteria.

1. The teeth can be made stronger by making the enamel stronger. Basically fluoride. It can be topical fluoride from toothpastes and fluoride rinses. Some people recommend “training toothpaste” for very young children. The key is to use smaller amounts of fluoridated toothpaste. If the child swallows some, they will not be affected by the small amount. The teeth are good at absorbing fluoride when they first erupt and that would be losing a prime opportunity to allow the enamel to get as hard as possible.

2. Getting bacteria off of the teeth starts with the moms having their teeth repaired and kept clean BEFORE the child is born. Dental decay is a bacterial disease and can be passed from person to person and the primary caregivers are the main source of inoculating the child with bad bacteria. If the caregiver has good teeth, the children have a much better chance to have good teeth. After that, brushing, flossing, and making it harder for the bacteria to stick to the teeth reduces the chance of decay. Brush the teeth as soon as they erupt into the mouth. Children will need help with this until the teeth start growing together. Making it harder for the bacteria to stick to the teeth can be done by xyletol-containing products. Gum, sprays, or candy are good sources. Xyletol makes it harder for the bacteria to stick to the teeth, and if they do, it interrupts the way they process sugars. As a bonus side effect, children have fewer ear infections.

3. Teeth can be assaulted by acids and sugars that increase the decay count. Several things can be done to change the odds in our favor. Limit things that have sugar or acid in between meals. That is soda, fruit juice, milk, or energy drinks. In between meals causes too much time that teeth are in the wrong environment. Water is the best in between meals.

Article submitted by All Family Dental in Eau Claire.

Transform Stress and Fatigue Naturally

By Beth Martin

Summer Support

While we all like to slow down and spend our summers relaxing, the reality is the majority of our lives stay just as busy during the warm months; they may even ramp up with increased travel, entertaining, and fun plans that can lead to overscheduling and stress.

Summer is an important time to support our bodies and build resilience for the cold months ahead. Many of us are accustomed to ignoring our body’s cries for nutritional support, rest and re-laxation by downing another cup of coffee (or soda!), grabbing a quick muffin, or living on energy bars. Our culture is over caffeinated, over sugared and undernourished.  Sugar and caffeine offer a quick lift, but the crash is never far behind.

Adaptogens to the Rescue

Fortunately, nature has provided us with effective resources to support our stressed bodies.  Meet the adaptogenic herbs. An adaptogenic herb is one that acts to normalize and regulate the systems of the body. By optimizing adrenal gland function (home of the fight or flight response) they support the body so it can adapt to stress in a healthy way.  There are a number of adaptogenic herbs for adrenal support; Holy Basil, Eleuthero, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Asian Ginseng, to name a few.

Chris Hayden, MMFC’s resident herbalist and Wellness Buyer says “adaptogens are a great part of returning your body to a healthy stress response, restoring your energy levels without put-ting additional stimulants into your system.  They help get you out of the “wired but tired” cycle by basically keeping your adrenals in idle, so your body isn’t as shocked by stressors.”

Our knowledgeable staff at Menomonie Market are on hand to help you find what you need, answer your questions.  We welcome every-one, regardless of where you are on your path to wellness.

Labels 101

By Emily Schwartz

Organic? Conventional? Local? All natural? With all of the different labels used to describe foods these days, it can be difficult to sort through all of them to make the best decision on what to buy at the grocery store.
The majority of today’s fruits and vegetables are conventionally produced. This means that they are grown using traditional or “common-place” methods that are generally accepted as “safe” and “acceptable.” These methods, which may include the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and genetic modification, have been used for years to produce larger amounts of fruits and vegetables to help meet a growing consumer demand for affordable produce with a quality appearance and year-round availability.
Many of the local fruits and vegetables available during our Wisconsin growing season are conventionally produced. Although local produce may certainly be organic, organic is not synonymous with being locally grown. Currently, there is no set definition for a food labeled as local; however, it often refers to a food produced within a certain geographical area. Depending on individual perspectives, a local food may be produced within a set number of miles or grown in a certain county, state, region or country where a person may reside. In general, local fruits and vegetables may travel shorter distances from the field to the store. This yields fresher and more flavorful produce. In addition, this shorter travel time gives fruits and vegetables less opportunity to lose important nutrients. Buying local produce may offer the opportunity to support your local community, as well as introduce you to the farmers growing your food.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandates that a food carrying the organic label be produced using sustainable practices without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically engineered products. However, forms of organic pesticides and fertilizers may still be used in the growing process. To be able to label a product as organic, a producer must become certified by the USDA. This process may take years to complete and may mean that some producers are following organic growing methods even without the organic label on their produce.
With increasing availability of organic products, natural is another label that is increasingly being used to market foods. Unlike organic, there are currently no set regulations qualifying the use of this term. Today, as much of our food undergoes some sort of processing before it reaches our plate, it is hard to define a food as “natural” from a food science point of view. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only loosely defines a “natural” food as one that may be without added colors, artificial flavors, or synthetic additives. As this topic is of much debate, the FDA is currently requesting public comments and information to possibly formulate a set definition in years to come.
Regardless of what types of fruits and vegetables you buy, there are benefits to foods in each category. We at Festival like to encourage that all forms matter, but ultimately, the decision to buy organic, local, natural, conventional, or any combination of the above comes down to personal preferences and beliefs.
Emily Schwartz is a nationally accredited registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) serving the Eau Claire and La Crosse communities as Festival Foods’ Western Markets Regional Dietitian.

Breathe Easier in 2016

You may be surprised to know that if your jaw isn’t in alignment, you can suffer from breathing issues. The Q & A below will help clarify what you need to know and how you can get help.

How does the misalignment affect breathing?

To begin to answer that question, we would actually start with a different question: How did their dysfunctional breathing and dysfunctional swallow cause the misalignment of their teeth?

The importance of correct breathing (the right amount of air, correct number of breaths per minute while using proper body mechanics) and its impact, either positively or negatively, affect proper jaw growth and subsequent tooth alignment. (

If the mouth is the main source for breathing, oral development is impeded. The upper palate (jaw) will be smaller than the lower (reverse of what is normal) due to constant tongue pressure pushing on the lower instead of the upper. A dysfunctional swallowing problem comes from the upper front teeth being too far back, trapping the lower jaw and affecting breathing as well as the epiglottis/throat function. There can be a problem with swallowing actually causing fluid to accumulate in the lungs, which may lead topneumonia. For videos showing the proper swallow verses improper swallow and their effect on tooth alignment see It is unnatural for a person—even more so a child—to sleep with their mouth open. The correct position of the tongue is at the roof of the mouth and the lips together at rest, and in this position it provides support for the eruption of the teeth and the proper position of the jaws and growth of the jaws.

When the teeth and the jaws are out of alignment what type of problems might someone be presented with?

Improper tongue function, which is in direct correlation with teeth and jaw alignment, can manifest itself as: headaches, neck ache, back aches, TMJ/jaw problems, grinding of the teeth, on-edge feelings, airway problems, stomach, digestive, and absorption problems.

Can you describe the treatment you offer to address these conditions of dysfunctional swallowing, crowding of teeth, dysfunctional breathing, TMJ issues, and sleep disturbance?

Problems with the jaw can be treated by stimulating growth of the jaws, realigning the teeth, bringing the lower jaw down and forward, retraining the tongue, slowing down the breath, increasing the diaphragm function, improving the overall neuromuscular balance of the craniosacral system, as well as using braces or appliances that can improve cranial functioning.

We also refer patients to other healthcare practitioners to address issues such as neuromuscular dysfunction, nutrition, homeopathy, metal toxicity, body alignment, and acupuncture meridian therapy.

Treatment time varies from case to case, dependent upon the patient’s desired outcome. Some symptomatic treatment can change breathing/oxygen/CO2 balance in as little as one visit.  Other cases, where jaw expansion, teeth alignment, and TMJ therapy are necessary, may take from two to four years. It’s not unusual for us to begin that treatment at four or five years of age to reduce crowding in the front part of themouth. Starting with young children, we avoid extraction of baby and permanent teeth and improve jaw development and function of the whole person.

How common is this issue?

These issues with breathing and sleep disturbance are considered to affect approximately 30 percent of the general population. Probably between 50 to 70 percent of the general population, have some degree of difficult.

Does insurance usually cover jaw alignment?

Insurance coverage for some of these procedures is totally dependent on the type of policy. Some patients have orthodontic coverage some have medical coverage in their policy which is also affected by the amount of money paid to the insurance company. Some opinions state that, generally speaking, the more you pay for insurance, the better the coverage.

Are there any risks or side effects to the treatment?

Compared to surgery (including extraction of teeth), there are very few contraindications. One thing that we encourage is therapeutic homework and cooperation. The patient’s level of cooperation and the level of difficulty of the case play a paramount role in success.

When should someone breathe through their mouth as opposed to their nose?  

Generally speaking, we should breathe through our mouth as often as we eat through our nose.  During strenuous exercise we sometimes need to mouth breathe. However, Dr. John Douillard of Boulder, Colorado, believes in training with nose breathing. ( Mouth breathing can be influenced by what wedo, what we are eating, and what causes us stress, real or imagined.  The influence of the modern diet ( and known/unknown pollutants have caused many allergies that can manifest themselves, among many other ways, as a plugged nose, forcing us to breathe through the mouth. Mouth breathing, in turn, causes the oxygen/CO2 levels to fall out of balance making the nose close off even more. Thus the vicious cycle starts.

How could we encourage our dentist to evaluate complimentary/integrative dentistry?

You could ask the following questions:

• Do you see tongue function as a factor affecting breathing?

• Have you studied cranial osteopathy or cranial sacral therapy

Dr. John Laughlin III, DDS and Dr. John Reed, DDS, Health Centered Dentistry, River Falls, WI