Dr. Claudia Welch recalls that when her book, Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western Science, first came out in 2011, the magazines all wanted to know its bullet points.
When I, too, unwittingly ask for bite-sized nuggets of wisdom during our phone interview two days into the New Year, Welch shares this memory and counters: “What I always want to have as a bullet point is: ‘Change your life.”
Yes, she really means Change. Your. Life. But somehow, to hear this multidisciplinary healer explain what she means, it sounds not like the ultimate unattainable New Years’ resolution but rather like an invitation to join heaven on earth.
Welch will be holding a workshop this weekend at Reston’s Beloved Yoga entitled “Breath, Mind and Hormones: Using the Ayurvedic Framework and knowledge of Gentle Pranayama to Transform the Mind and Balance Hormones.” Sounds heady, right? But with a great payoff: Good health, happy heart.
Welch explains, “What I mean by change your life is reduce your stress.” Many different manifestations and conditions come from the same root causes, she says: “If we have high levels of stress, it’s impossible to have hormonal balance.”
And no, she doesn’t just mean estrogen or progesterone. Yes, the focus of her book is on women’s hormones (check out her website for a free audio intro on hormonal balance), but she’s quick to explain that hormonal balance is a complex affair far beyond what we think of as governing our fertility. When stress and cortisol are high, it “throws off the whole game” of total-body health. Hence the title of her book.
Participants in this weekend’s workshop will be encouraged to participate fully by sharing their areas of interest so that Welch can weave answers to their concerns into the weekend. (You can go Saturday-only or both days, but not Sunday-only since the material builds on itself.)
Welch will do some lecturing and help lead participants through some breathwork and visualization, including alternate-nostril breathing. Practicing that technique 15 minutes a day is one of the strategies she says can help “shift directions” to “make the context of our lives smoother,” according to Welch. Also discussed will be herbal remedies and other lifestyle remedies to support healing.
But Welch is clear that she posits wellness not in soundbites but in a global framework. The first real bullet point for health ought to be to look at the context of our lives and ask if we are living the life we want to live. If not, why not? What idea of success is causing us to live our life in overdrive?
Welch calls hormonal balance a “moral/ethical question” and the problem of people being so stressed today an “epidemic.” When I ask about how to get clear on what is, indeed, necessary to fulfilling one’s purpose and what is, in fact, just added stress, she invites this question to come at the beginning of the workshop for a full response and discussion.
And she adds, “Sometimes we have to have the courage to do nothing and wait until it becomes clear what we have to do.”
For this lethargy-avoider — and I am pretty sure for many of my friends out there — doing nothing does sound like a leap of faith. We’ll see if I’m ready to take that jump after attending the workshop.
Jessica Claire Haney is a freelance writer and mother of two living in Northern Virginia, where she leads a chapter of Holistic Moms Network. Ever on a holistic health journey, Jessica will be covering Claudia Welch’s weekend workshop for her Health & Science column, “Ingredients for Healthy Living,” at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com and on her blog, Crunchy-Chewy Mama.