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Direct and Indirect psychological impacts of shark bite events

Exciting news here this morning. My first academic publication, 'Direct and Indirect Psychological Impacts of Shark Bite Events' is now live in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. You can read the article at doi.org/10.1177/0004867418808899.  The study surveyed members of a shark-related peer-support group and found that almost one-third of respondents developed PTSD symptoms post-event and that those with a negative media experience were almost twelve times more likely to develop PTSD symptoms.  Importantly, PTSD symptoms were experienced by witnesses, first responders, and family/friends, as well as direct survivors. In addition, those without a partner or having two or fewer friends to rely on were also more likely to develop PTSD symptoms. You can read more about Bite Club and Beyond the Bite at www.beyondthebite.org and...

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A year without alcohol

Last weekend marked 12 months since I stopped drinking alcohol. For many of you, this won't be particularly surprising or interesting. And it's not, in the broader scheme of things. However, for others that know me well and understand the Australian culture I live and grew up in, you might understand the significance. It's a big lifestyle change, and I've learnt a great deal about myself in the process.

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Yoga increases neurogenesis

Interesting study came up this week. Following a 3-month yoga retreat, increases were observed in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), reductions in awakening cortisol, and reductions in some (not all - interestingly) inflammatory markers. In plain language, this means the participants: grew more neurons; reduced stress; and improved health and resilience. You might think 'duh'. I think 'great'. We are moving beyond simplistic measurement of the effects of this practice. It's challenging because science demands a reductionist approach to tease out an active component. However, yoga is a system for good reason. It includes the philosophical, the physical, the breath, relaxation, mindfulness and meditation because a complete and complex approach is needed to match the complexity of an individual. Now these...

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Stress fatigue

Today I feel tired, bone tired. As some of you already know, we've been undertaking some major works at Chez Taylor that have consumed us for almost two months. All the while, we're working full time, teaching part time, (trying) to maintain our personal practice(s), and look after our family near and far. This week one of the messiest phases, involving insidious plaster dust, finally reached conclusion and we're beginning to restore cleanliness and order at home. Now 'safe', my body has decided to acknowledge the exhaustion. I could barely drag myself to work this morning, let alone practice. On the neurophysiological level, this is about the endocrine system and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. Under stress, the Hypothalamus in the...

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Aching Legs and Feet

Aching legs and feet? I received a wonderful question about this last week that I thought I might share.This client experienced significant pain and discomfort in their legs and feet, particularly feet, after long periods standing at work. They wondered if yoga might help.Without a detailed, personal review, I can only offer general advice and I always check if someone has sought medical attention for the condition first. This is important before trying to support any condition with yoga therapy.Specific postures for aching legs and feet will depend on the individual and the cause of the condition. It could be circulation, sciatica or any number of factors. However, I might suggest starting with something quite gentle like this Pawanmuktasana sequence...

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