Category: Yoga Therapy

Watercolor geometric patternMany years ago I had the pleasure of working at the NJ Center for the Healing Arts. A wonderful group of various therapists, psycho-, massage-, art-, and other practitioners of the alternative/complementary arts/sciences all worked under one roof. The founder had a vision for how to treat mental illness in today’s society. She was a beacon of light to many and I applaud her for her accomplishments and the ripple effect of healing & inspiration she provided to the whole community, clients, and the world-at-large.   I was honored to offer astrological & feng shui consultations along with some hatha & dancing yoga classes during my early years studying yoga therapy.  It was a rich time.

While there, it was clear that much of the physical space was dedicated to art….The walls were filled with paintings painted by past & present clients.  Every now and then new ones would appear.  I loved peeking into the art room to see them in action.   It never occured to me that art or painting or drawing could be therapeutic, or healing, or anything other than a means to an end, a picture upon which lots of opinions/judgements might be heaped.  “I like it” I hate it” etc.    Of course, I proved myself naive, again, it happens a lot.

Anyway, today  it’s nearly two decades later and I’m excited to be working around art again.  It’s in a different context, of course, but after such a long time learning & practicing integrative yoga therapy I’m comfortable teaching whever the winds blow me.

Anything can be therapized these days and that’s maybe a good thing?  It acknowledges that we all need healing.  All of us.   Everybody.  This is something I know to be true.

And, the kind of healing that occurs when we fully engage in a process that eliminates words can be felt thru and thru.  It has to do with how the hemisphere’s of the brain are organized.  Healing, though, is not a right-side/left-side experience, but rather what happens naturally when balance is acheived.  This is what yoga/meditation teaches us.  That amazing blissful state that occurs after one does some focused hatha practice, is the same calm, blissful state that occurs when we’re in the zone of: artistic expression, dance practice,, or musical harmonies & rhythms.

That zone, that particular kind of present moment is a very seductive state of being, and once you’ve experienced it your entire being becomes engaged with trying to have the experience again.  The challenge & difficulty is to get there naturally, chemically & substance free.  But, I digress.  Neptune is one of the astrological significators for spiritual practice, yoga, imagination, fantasy and more.  For more keywords of Neptune go here.

On July, I’ll be facilitating a workshop on yoga & creativity at a local art gallery.  I’m excited to see what happens!   Namaste.

Blogging Geometric Art Holistic Health The Jersey Shore Uncategorized Yoga Therapy

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….and I’m still experiencing the joy of learning with every new pattern that I put together.  I’ve moved on now to what’s called stitching and weaving.  This pattern I focused on stitching.  I don’t have the energy right now to explain in words what that means artistically . .  Suffice it to say that I fell in love with the technique and choose to continue.  Here’s my latest, painted to celebrate grandson(s) and birthday’s.

I’m gonna start an absolute beginners yoga therapy class in June for 6-8 weeks, yoga….for the rest of us.

I sent an email newsletter to my list today.  Are you on it?  Do you want to be?  There’s a widget for easy signup onsite.

Asbury Park Blogging Doodles Geometric Art Yoga Therapy

There are many ways to practice yoga.   Seva, is one.

In 1997 I became a volunteer at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA.  I was offered room & board in return for my service.   Mostly,  I worked as a Faculty Assistant.  Other times I was on the  production team for the larger weekend conferences.  Eventually,  I became attached to the Inner Quest Intensive (IQI), Kripalu’s signature self-discovery program. For 10+ years  I led the Kripalu hatha yoga practice  and served as a Facilitator with this life-changing program.

Then in 2008 Kripalu’s governing body decided that faculty volunteers like myself were no longer needed and they began to remove us from the program rooms. It was a significant change for those who remember, and my time at Kripalu was greatly reduced.  The few of us who were attached to specific master teachers/programs were allowed to continue and  I was grateful. The IQI was offered three times a year and that would have to be enough seva at Kripalu.

In 2015,  Kripalu cancelled the IQI and soon thereafter cancelled all other remaining volunteer opportunities.  This decision  signaled a significant course correction for Kripalu Center.

Aside from the yoga experience, knowledge, practice and karma points I gained over 15 years of service at Kripalu, what was so unexpectedly rewarding was the experience of living together with others on the same path, to be a part of a spiritual community where like-mind and like-spirit came together.

So, last December, when the days were short and the nights were long I responded to a call for volunteers at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Florida.  In early March a call came and I have been invited to practice Seva there during the first weeks of May!

For those in the know, AYI was established by Amrit Desai, the guru who introduced Kripalu Yoga to the USA.  This means that the practices, philosophy, and methodologies will be consistent with everything I have learned thus far and for that I am grateful, and so excited, and terrified too.  And, he will be on the campus during my stay.

Florida is  not as easy as driving to the Berkshires, and this pitta person hates hot weather, but I am  honored and grateful to be invited to this campus  to experience Gurudev’s wisdom for myself.

Jai Bhagwan.  Namaste.  Om shanti.

to be continued.

 

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Blogging Dharma Yoga Yoga Therapy

FullSizeRenderTwo important announcements regarding my yoga community were made recently.  The first is that the International Association of Yoga Therapists, after years of work, have defined and developed a curriculum with which  to certify someone as a Yoga Therapist.  This new designation will read as C-IAYT.   This achievement comes on the heels of the Yoga Alliance announcing that they will not recognize the term yoga therapy within their certification requirements.  Their primary interest is in making sure that anyone who calls themselves a yoga teacher/instructor knows how to keep people safe while guiding asana practice.  Using yoga, therapeutically or in any kind of a ‘healing’ way is not what the Yoga Alliance is focused on.  Whereas, the IAYT which was founded in 1989 has been solely focused on using yoga therapeutically and they have dedicated all their resources towards that end.   Just as my yoga ‘career’ got started (1999) the dialogue on what is yoga therapy began.  Over the next few years they discussed just what were the most important aspects of a yoga (therapy) program and should we establish a required curriculum?  Much of this discussion occurred before the current explosion of  yoga ‘teachers’ hit the scene.   My feelings at the time were in line with others who asserted that yoga could not be strictly coded for anything since it’s very foundation was based in energy, spirit, and whatever overriding belief system was operating at any given time.   IMHO Yoga can not be quantified…and my personal practice of yoga therapy emphasizes that, which does not mean that I ignore the body during practice.  Quite the contrary.  But, a holistic practice should cover the whole as understood by the early yogi’s.

Today, all the debating is complete and the organizations have chosen their paths forward and it’s exactly what I feared would happen.  They’ve narrowed down yoga therapy to mostly asana & pranayama, and turned  the subtle & causal energy-bodies over to Ayurveda….which isn’t awful, just disappointing, for me, personally.  But, I have my karma to work thru just like everyone else.

All that said it seems that I do qualify to be grandfathered (or more appropriately) grandmothered in for their official certification of yoga therapy, I guess age does have some rewards. But first I have the daunting task of documenting 15 years of client contact.  Nevertheless, those that are wanting to call themselves yoga therapists are faced with a curriculum that would never have appealed to me, or anyone who understands that healing, well-being, and self-fulfillment is more than the body, more than the sum of the parts, more than anything that can be studied, measured, or quantified.

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Another piece of yoga news was the announcement that Integrative Yoga Therapy will become a part of the Kripalu Yoga curriculum, officially.  This is not a big surprise to me as Joseph LaPage was part of the early Kripalu ashram, but it’s so wonderful to have them together in this form.  All of my teacher-trainings have been within this lineage of teachers and I feel so much gratitude to be a part of the community.

I never expected to be a pioneer of anything, but it seems as though I have been blazing a path for sure.  Just the fact that I’m posting this to all of you is evidence of that.  My studio is 14 years old  and continues to be a safe and sacred space for those who seek healing, inspiration, and enlightenment thru yoga.  Om Shanti.

 

Holistic Health Kripalu Yoga Yoga Therapy

YogaNidra Here’s the astrology chart for our yoga nidra this Sunday.  I find it makes for a delicious experience  if I take the time to study the Timescape© for the event.   Timescape is a word I invented in 1989 to describe the particular astrological technique I use to help people manage their time better.  Time, and our management of it, is a major stress factor for our modern day society .  And, then, given the fact that most people look at life from a linear, finite point of view, just adds to the stress of it all.   Birth…then, death.  The End.

Cyclical thinking and cyclical time-keeping really does feel better….at least it does in this aging female’s body.

Anyway, in the chart we find Uranus rising, Mars setting,  with Pluto and Venus culminating.  The sun and moon are drawing closer together for a New Moon at 6:39 am on monday in 20 degrees of Aquarius.  This means that our yoga nidra experience will be happening under the auspices of a balsamic moon.   It’s a wonderful time to go in and light your fire around something close to your heart.  Om shanti.     That said, the Sun square Mars in the middle degrees of fixed Aquarius and Scorpio, will keep flames burning right into the new cycle.

At the beginning of our yoga nidra practice you will be asked to create a sankalpa, or intention for your practice.  The theory says that if you plant a sankalpa into a deeply relaxed body it’s like programming your brain for success.  The details do matter so come on Sunday so that we can all practice together.

There’s a widget over there on the right where you can sign up for my newsletter.  Do that.  Then you can be informed about new events in advance.  Or, send  your contact info directly to me here at ida@ifcullen.com

Til then,     May all your dreams take root and grow.

 

 

Astrology Stress Management yoga nidra Yoga Therapy

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The emphasis is still on yoga at The Sanctuary and more of you are discovering what is possible with a commitment to practice.

Kripalu Yoga & Integrative Yoga Therapy are my chosen yogic methodologies to teach.   The group classes are slow, gentle, challenging and oriented towards healing and removing the obstacles that prevent us from being fully authentic.   If you are interested in simply exercising your body, another class/teacher might be more appropriate.   Please read some of the articles on this website to gain a sense of the teachings that are offered.  I began my yoga studies in 1976, became a full-time teacher in 2000.  I teach  from decades of experience & years of training.

Group Yoga classes are multi-level and suitable for all bodies.  If you are a beginner to yoga call ahead and let me know you’re coming. I’ll be happy to meet with you before/after class. Or, just show up if that’s the best you can do. 732.531.9013 is the number to leave a message if you wish to speak to me. Be patient. It may  a day or two to return your call.

PERSONAL YOGA THERAPY is available by appointment.  To support your commitment to well-being and spiritual development I’m offering a Summer Special for  new clients and returning clients.  Please call to arrange a free interview to see if this is right for you.  Sessions can be at your home or at The Sanctuary.

  For up-to-date- info   Go to Class/Workshop Schedule Page

The Jersey Shore The Sanctuary - Schedule & Stuff Yoga Yoga Therapy

Yoga is looking so different today from how it was represented when I first began to define the word.

I’ve heard one of my personal guru’s say many times, “Yoga has become very popular, but what is popular is not yoga.”. That said, this weeks classes will focus on heart-openings, feels really appropriate given all the planets that are in water signs right now.  While in CA, I participated in some workshops that really focused on heart health.  Look at those two words together, heart/health.  Obviously there’s a strong connection.  With yoga, we get to explore the much broader context of the Heart………….perhaps we’ll begin by toning yam, the bij mantra for the 4th chakra?

Summer Session Begins.   Drop-in’s Welcome.  More about my classes   here and here.

 

 

Asbury Park Yoga Yoga Therapy

Schakrachart_thumb.gifo I’m here in Newport Beach, CA for the annual IAYT Conference.  I’ve been wanting to go for years, but circumstances, timing, and other life stuff has gotten in the way.  But, not this year and I’m so excited.

Yoga Therapy is a growing niche within the hugely expanding yoga community and I’m very excited to see how it’s being recognized by the medical community.

Yoga, for me, was always more than just the poses and the practice.  From my very first class in 1976 I recognized it’s potential for reaching deep inside and revealing those places where the samskara’s keep us blocked.  Since 2001, I have offered one-on-one sessions to clients and have seen amazing results.  Classes are a great way to allow students to practice but there’s no substitute for having personal attention and a program laid out just for you.  Not everyone can attend a class, or should.  Yoga Therapy is appropriate for everyone, regardless of your limitations, and doing yoga will absolutely change your life for the better.

Check out some of my articles under the YOGA tab on the top for more information.

Blogging The Sanctuary - Schedule & Stuff Yoga Yoga Therapy

CHARTS

Dear Ones,

It’s a really special day today.  Two wonderful moments happen with hours of each other, the Winter Solstice sun/moon/earth alignment and coincidentally, a New Moon.  Both events herald an auspicious time on their own.  And, then, when you add in the recent 6th of the 7 squares, and say goodbye to saturn in scorpio it  can get a little overwhelming….and, since Jupiter does things big, in a friendly fire sign like Leo he is jovial beyond the point of tolerance some times, you know?…………anyway, I AM rambling here…..mostly because Neptune continues to provide  these  lovely “rose-tinted glasses”.! 

I know that most of you don’t really understand what I just wrote…..but perhaps many of you do?  Astrology, whether or not you “believe” in it or not, is still a wonderful Language to learn.  It is genderless, colorless, lacks a political point of view, and has no bias, opinion, or judgement in it’s dialogue.  It is us, in our own minds/hearts that makes it “good” or “bad”.   Enuf said.   Learn a new language for the New Moon.

Anyway, it’s a busy day for me and now it’s time to prepare for storytelling and sadhana……

I hope to  check back here to further inform you about these charts.

 

 

 

…much love, om shanti…..

Astrology Blogging The Sanctuary - Schedule & Stuff Yoga Yoga Therapy

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The Sanctuary
Asbury Park, NJ
732.531.9013

Ancient Wisdom Asbury Park Astrology Buddhism Kripalu lunar phases Meditation philosophy Yoga yoga nidra Yoga Therapy