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Ask Dr. Scott – The case for yoga



Q: You’ve talked a lot about alternative healing methods. What about yoga? Do you recommend it?

A: Yoga is such a vast topic and there will be no attempt at a comprehensive summary of its methods and concepts in this letter. However I have practiced yoga myself for nearly 30 years.

Yoga first arose more than 3,000 years ago in what we now call India, a country I have traveled to many times. The word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj”, which means “to bind, join, attach, yoke”. Yuj also means “union, to direct and concentrate ones attention on, to use and apply.” Yoga requires concentrating on your mind and body to bind you to the spirit within. It is about disciplining yourself to balance your mind, soul and emotions, so that you can connect with your individual spirit, which is, in turn, part of the supreme or universal spirit. Hatha Yoga, the physical practice, is a form of Raja Yoga. There are many forms of Hatha Yoga in contemporary American life and Hatha Yoga Centers are now in every city of the United States. 

A very brief summary of the conditions in which yoga has been shown to have value in controlled scientific research studies include: anxiety, bronchial asthma, cardiovascular disease related to diabetes, chronic sinusitis, constipation, depression, epilepsy, headache, hypertension, insomnia in cancer patients and the elderly, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis, low back pain, menstrual disorders, multiple sclerosis, peptic ulcer, psychosomatic conditions, stress-related illnesses of many kinds, and even epilepsy. (Iyengar, 2013; Tilbrook et al, 2011; McCall, 2007)

Over time, the definition of Yoga has expanded to include a wide range of disciplines, philosophies and practices. Common elements of the many contemporary forms of yoga include postures (asanas), which are designed to develop strength, flexibility, balance and coordination of the mind, body and breath using controlled breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation. (Kraftsow, 1999) The general aims of yoga practice are the development and integration of the body, mind and breath to produce structural, physiological and psychological health, relaxation and vitality at the same time!

The breathing retraining taught in yoga can help to restore normal nerve and oxygen supply to the heart, even easing disturbances such as palpitations. (Han et al, 1996) Yoga breathing is defined as a manipulation of breath movement, and has been shown to contribute to a physiological response characterized by the presence of decreased oxygen consumption, decreased heart rate and decreased blood pressure, improvement in the theta wave amplitude on EEG recordings, increased parasympathetic activity, accompanied by the experience of alertness and reinvigoration (Sing et al, 2004). 

But how does yoga work?

I have referred many patients over the years to yoga teachers and have witnessed how these patients’ health significantly improved. The slow stretches and deep breathing activate areas of the brain (cerebellum and parietal lobe) that have been injured and weakened in various traumas and accidents and yoga serves to rehabilitate these patients’ brain with every session. 

Yoga significantly stimulates the brain. When patients begin yoga practice, they are stimulating receptors, such as joint and muscle receptors. These receptors impact the brain and affect how you feel, your muscle tone, your digestive system and more. Practicing yoga has a positive effect on mood, flexibility, pain tolerance and your overall sense of well-being. Why is this exactly? Recent discoveries in neuroscience have allowed us to gain better insight into how different alternative healing modalities affect brain function and thus overall health. (Kharrazian, 2013)

Fatigue is one of the most common causes of disability in patients with stress-related illnesses, neurologic diseases, and pain. Studies have demonstrated the benefit of yoga for these patients, although the mechanisms of action are poorly understood and may not be specific (Oken et al, 2004). Yoga has better therapeutic effects on menstrual disorders as compared with other forms of exercise, although exercise as well as yoga produces benefit in a significant number of participants. (Chen, 2005) The practice of yoga-meditation has also been shown to effectively increase the levels of melatonin in the student, which may assist in normalizing sleep patterns. (Tooley et al, 2000)

The practice and study of yoga help bring about a natural balance of body-and-mind in which optimal health can more readily manifest. (Raub, 2002; Galantino et al, 2000) Yoga helps to keep the spine flexible, the muscles strong, and the bones dense. (Birkel, 1998) Research studies have now shown that through the practice of yoga it is possible to learn to beneficially influence blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory function, metabolic rate, brain waves, body temperature and many other bodily functions. (Tran et al, 2001)

Yoga approaches also emphasize somato-psychic functioning in the present and not with past psychological history, differentiating yoga from most current psycho-therapeutic techniques. (Garde, 1972) Yoga is very good for a psyche that is troubled.

The stretching routines performed during yoga practice have also been shown to improve conditions such as anxiety, depression and neck pain. (Hoyez, 2007) The yoga practices most typically taught in classes are within the guidelines of flexibility training recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, (2013) including stretches held for 10-30 seconds repeated 2 to 4 times increasing to 60 seconds per stretch. (Iyengar, 2013). 

My own mother, who is 77 years old, has been practicing yoga for many years now on my recommendation…and she couldn’t imagine going through a single week without it now!

There are many superb yoga studios in Pueblo…you should call these centers and ask questions about this approach to healing.

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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