Category: Yoga Therapy

book cover china study Wow. With so much discussion of body weight, dis-ease, and the endless, Relentless series of commercials for pharmaceuticals………….there’s just got to be an easier way to be healthy.

This is a really good read that is jam-packed with facts, stories, insights, and inspiration.

Check it out!

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The lunar cycle

If you have landed on this page looking for information on time & time management you have found it. However, be prepared. You may not find what you expect.

My fascination with time might have started here. It was only a few years after that I came across my first astrology book. That story is here, if you’re interested. It just always made really good sense to me that the sky represented a big clock.

For over 20 years I practiced my skills as an astrologer while working in the real estate industry. I worked as a Broker/Agent, Office Manager, & most belovedly as a Trainer. Time Management was one of my topics to teach to new agents/managers. I always included the cosmic concepts of time and time management as part of the training. I even taught them how to set up their appointments to synchronize themselves with the lunar cycle. Many reported back to me thru the years how helpful my training was and how it continues to help them even today. My time-skills expanded into other area’s of work, quite naturally and effortlessly………of course I was practicing everything that I preached, otherwise, what’s the point?

So, please feel free to float around this blog and discover all sorts of time tips, techniques, and tidbit’s of information. In this post the discussion continues.

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buddah mudraLately I have become fascinated, once again, with Mudras. Mudra’s are the hand postitions often used in Indian dance, Yoga asana’s, and during meditation practices. If you look at theclassical_indian_dance.jpg pictures of Buddah and the pantheon of other Eastern gods & goddesses you will always see them holding their hands in a particular way.

swami kripaluSwami Kripalu, the guru of Kripalu Yoga, was often photographed with his hands in a particular position. Many of those that had the opportunity to be with him when he was alive reported that his personal sadhana (spiritual practice) was sprinkled thruout with beautiful hand gestures and movements. It was clear to those that watched that he seemed fascinated by his hands.  It seemed quite mysterious and entrancing to me when I watched a video of his practice.

As time marched on these mudras or hand positions took on a life of their own and are believed to be a ‘yoga of the hands’ with specialized healing properties. When used during asana, pranayama, or meditationxwrits-finger.gif it is believed that a particular circuitry of neural pathways becomes established and something happens. (ie. heart rate slows, digestion eases, etc.) If you consider the meridian system as established by the Chinese Acupuncturist, this all makes sense.) After all, we too have all kinds of ‘meanings’ that are attached to various hand gestures in our culture as well.
indianms.jpg

Palmistry, divination thru the hands, can also trace it’s origins back to the earliest of spiritual seekers. They understood that our lives are reflected by our hands and it reads just like a book if you have the eyes to see.

Most recently I began to study mudras with one of my teachers, Joseph LaPage. We are using them in conjunction with yoga therapy. Many people are unable to perform the yoga asana’s due to physical limitations. However, just about everyone can do things with their hands. When used along with the breathing practices, affirmations, and meditation, mudras can be a powerful way to create focus, concentration, stillness and a deep sense of peace. Try it for yourself.

anjalimudra.jpg

Kripalu Meditation Yoga Yoga Therapy

Yesterday, 5/10/2007, the NY Times published an article on yoga therapy. You can read it for yourself at this site: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/fashion/10Fitness.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Wow. Much of what is written there is what I have been teaching (or preaching?) for years. It’s nice to be validated by the media.

Establishing a working relationship with main-stream medicine is easier said than done though. For one thing, few doctors have had any personal experience with yoga or yoga therapy. Many are  mis-informed about yoga is, believing it to be a form of ‘exercise’ that helps people relax. I suppose that is true on some level, however it’s so much more than that.

Regardless, it’s nice to be on the cutting edge of something and helping to establish the standards. What frightens me though is the idea that at some point we, yoga teachers & therapists alike, will be regulated by some anonymous body of ‘professionals’ who will try to standardize our practices. Although I do recognize the need for some sort of credential that lets the public know that we have learned something, standardization will also seriously diminish the creative and intuitive spark that fuels our abilities. Yoga, as we know, is a body/mind/spiritual approach to health. How do you measure Spirit?

Time to meditate……………………………..

Krishna

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If you look over to the sidebar on the right you’ll see a post on the Inner Quest Intensive at Kripalu Center coming up next week. If you are a seeker I highly recommend that you sign up for this amazing program.

I participated in it in 1999 and my life hasn’t been the same since. Before that I hardly understood what it meant to ‘transform’ ones life. I only knew that I wasn’t happy, that I was the one holding myself back, and that I had to do something to help myself. I accomplished in one long weekend what might have taken decades on a therapist’s couch to do.

The most important thing that I learned (and this applies to everyone) is that “our issues are in our tissues”. (That’s a quote from Swami Kripalu) What he means is that we can change our minds and change our dialogues but our lives won’t change until we include kripalu-tree.jpgbody-centered therapies to address our issues. So, whether you are dealing with trauma, abuse, addiction or you’re just plain unhappy, you must include the entire body/mind in your wellness program. This is why yoga is so perfect. It’s the original body/mind practice including emotions and spirit in its methodology. If you are simply doing postures on a sweaty rubber mat, excluding practices that address mind/breath/emotions/spirit than you are not doing Yoga.

The Inner Quest Intensive is an opportunity to experience all of the aspects of yoga. It’s a program geared towards eliminating the obstacles and limitations that have held you back from feeling fully alive. I can’t say that it’s exactly ‘fun’, but it is transforming and quite enlightening.

Since participating in the program in ’99, I have returned to Kripalu three times a year to be a facilitator in the program. I can actually say that I have been a witness to miracles, something I never would have said prior to ’99. So, check it out and see if you’re a candidate for the IQI……..guaranteed to change your life for the better.

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Saturn is currently squaring my natal Sun.  Ugh.  It feels like being trapped within concrete walls with only a small little penknife to chip my way out.  I suppose there is a postive side to this transit, there always is a good side.  However, today I just feel stuck.

Saturn

Just before the transit came to exactitude I spent a week at Kripalu Center attending the Symposium on Yoga Therapy.  It was wonderful to be with a community of yoga professionals who are focused on using these ancient practices towards health & wellness.  There are some really good things happening out there! I learned a lot.  And, I also realized how much I already know…………..it’s always good to be validated!

Yoga Therapy is definitely an up and coming modality that is beginning to receive recognition from the medical establishment.  In my own practice a few of my clients are getting reimbursed by their insurance companies for their sessions with me.  And, their doctors are writing prescriptions for Yoga Therapy!

What sets my practice apart from most of the other yoga therapists is the use of astrology in my analysis.  Looking at a clients natal chart along with current transits & progressions can provide a lot of information that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.  As soon as this concrete wall crumbles I hope to complete some of the articles on this and post them here or on my website.  But until then……….I’ll continue to practice procrastination!

Astrology Education Holistic Health journal entry Kripalu Planets and their Cycles Saturn Yoga Therapy

Tonite I’ll be facilitating another Yoga Nidra experience. If you’ve never tried this yogic practice I highly recommend you find a local teacher and do it! It requires very little from you. Just lie down, breathe, and listen closely to what the teacher is saying. The practice falls under the heading of ‘pratyahara’ or sensory withdrawal and the benefits are amazing.

Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep and it has had profound effects on those that practice it. Check it out…..or check back here for more information tomorrow. I’ll let you know how the participants do.
sleeping

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Consider this……………….

Man’s First Breath

The respiratory system is the only system of the body that we can take control of. We can: lengthen, shorten, hold, and regulate our breathing according to our will. Or, we can completely ignore it and it will still work.

You can’t do that with your digestive system, or your nervous system, or your endocrine system. The respiratory system is completely unique in that way.

Now consider the fact that the respiratory system is intimatly connected to your heart beat, pulse, and blood pressure. Logic suggests, that if we can control our breath we can affect our heart rate. Hmmmmm.

Let’s take it another step further.

It’s a known fact that when we are feeling fear, doubt, or uncertainty we tend to hold our breath. When we are living thru times of crisis, chaos, & turbulance our breathing patterns tend to shorten. What we do not realize is that when we constrict our breath in this way, the body retains the cellular memory of the fear, the doubt, and the turbulance. Energy gets blocked and we begin to reduce our ability to feel relaxed, joyful, and happy. It just happens.

Now multiply this over time and think about just how much of your life force energy you have repressed over the course of your life. Scary, isn’t it?

Over the year’s we’re addressed this issue in  our yoga classes & workshops. I’ve witnesses hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of people change their health, their outlook, and their behaviours just by practicing yoga breathing.   When our intention becomes the freedom from  the energetic holding patterns that prevent full aliveness.

If you’d like more information on it you might want to visit these websites……………….http://www.eupsychia.com/perspectives/defs/cell.html or http://www.breathwork.com/

 

What’s important to understand is that these practices benefit all of us, regardless of your personal history. Just the stress of daily living is enough for the body/mind to create these ‘holding’ patterns. So, find someone who facilitates yogic breathwork in your neighborhood and try it. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll get a good rest and leave feeling completely relaxed. The best thing that can happen is that you’ll release some of the negative results of a life’s worth of holding.

Om shanti, om.

 

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We talk about the Edge in yoga class a lot. It’s a place that’s easy to find…..you’re on the mat, stretching, and then you hit the wall, you can’t go any farther. You’ve reached your edge. Everyone handles that spot differently. Some push, forcing their bodies to go further. Others, back off, fearing the sensations that occur there, worrying about injury or something like that. Regardless of what category you fall in, it’s an interesting place because it clearly shows you how you “do your life”……..pushing forward or backing off.

In Kripalu yoga, and in my classes particularly the lesson is to “explore” it. Discover, here and now, your relationship to the edge. The yoga lesson is to “be comfortable with what is”…..definitly easier said than done. If you are experiencing discomfort in the stretch, can you simply breathe into it and let it be okay? If you choose to back off and not approach the discomfort zone, can you let that be okay? Pushing past the edge is okay if you are edging forward slowly with mindful awareness and keen sensitivity to the sensations in your body. Forcing or pushing is definitly not okay.

How you do your yoga is how you do your life.

Did you practice yoga today?

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THe lungs

The average human breathes 13-15 times a minute or 21,000-21600 times in a 24 hour day.
21,600 breaths per day = 7,884,000 breaths per year
7,884,000 breaths per year = 946,080,000 breaths in 120 years or the life span of a healthy human according to yogic texts.

The yogi measures a life not by years but rather by the number of breaths one is allotted to each lifetime.Logic suggests then to slow it down, and make each breath longer if one wants to live longer. In this way we actually conserve energy and increase our vitality and increase our chances of experiencing bliss.

“Breath is mind in action……
The implication of this technology is that we are not helpless victims of a given emotional state.
By altering the flow of nasal breath, the body chemistry gradually changes and unwanted emotional and physiological states slowly disappear”
Harish Johari, author of Breath, Mind and Consciousness.

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