“Changing. “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”.-Lao Tzu…the running joke in yoga is “thank God we only have two legs; the other side is easier”. The hard stuff is different for everybody. As luck would have it, my house sold hours before this quarantine, so we pack. And pack. I’m saying goodbye to the years I spent with my kids as a single mom and sorting through and reminiscing over grade school pinch pots, notebooks of lessons, pictures of varying missing teeth and wild hair choices. Many are home creating all of the above, now. And many wishes for good health, peace and recovery for those with the virus. Thank you to our tireless medical teams. Take a breath. These are remarkable times and we are moving through them like champs.“
“Attachment. Ever notice how you desire a certain feeling? Clients are showing up wanting peace, or happiness, or power or… That feeling has disappeared due to a curveball like the pandemic, a job shift or a beloved has moved away. Where’d that feeling go? Wanting that feeling back is human. But studies prove that being with what IS builds resiliency, measurable thickness in the prefrontal cortex which means less reactivity. Can you be with fear or feelings of abandonment? Can you sit with them and just feel them until they shift into something else? They will in minutes. Once you try it, keep doing it with each new uncomfortable feeling . You know you can. You just forget you can. Practice. It’s crucial to a meaningful life. Yes, you are attached to feeling whatever. But, life is a wild ride. Just notice your attachment. YOU are so talented at saying, “Ok. I got this”. And you do.”
“Wring it out. This pose squeezes into a tight ball, stimulating the energy of the Samana Vayu, a facet of the breath responsible for coalescing and digestion. There is so much to digest these days. Just as you must watch what you eat for optimal health, you must also watch the thoughts that you consume. Unprocessed, they’ll rip you through with resulting explosiveness or uncomfortable stagnancy. Speak kindly to yourself, make amends when needed, to yourself included. That negative self-talk will not only upset your stomach, it inevitably turns outward to others. This change thing going on starts right there in YOU.“
“When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”-Jordan Peterson…”Truth, Satya in Sanskrit, is sometimes hard to know and freakin’ harder to speak. A professor of psychology at U of Toronto, formerly at Harvard, Peterson posits that taking responsibility, including challenging yourself to find and speak your truth, builds backbone and manifests meaning. That act keeps you balanced. What do YOU believe? Why do you believe it? SAY IT. LIVE IT.“
“Identity. “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”-Albert Camus…it’s been crazy icy around here, testing our braking skills, for sure. The best full stop, however, is that warm blast of clarity that nothing lasts. All thoughts, emotions, visuals and sensations linger but for moments. Ego, however, is a permafrost, resisting change. New homes, careers, lovers, beliefs, etc. challenge ego. Who are you without your name, your hometown, your talents and accolades? The uneasiness you feel with these questions is ego. Life, however, is animated; it flows, it thaws. YOU are forever, if even just an energy that feeds the snowy plains. YOU know you’re so much more than that, though, and your warmth feels so good.“
“Head vs. Heart. For 20 years, I have taught yoga. For 10, I’ve been a yoga therapist. In all these years, I’ve had the joy of listening to clients’ amazing life stories and their reasons and intellect are stunning. I have worked with PhD’s, medical doctors and other brilliant thinkers. In times of doubt, it is the mind that talks circles around the the heart. When it’s time to leave a job, a city or begin a new relationship, ego’s clutch can be surprising. The familiar, even when unhealthy, is seductive. But, mindfulness practice, moving, breathing and meditating muffles that crazy mental chatter. There is peace. Give this a shot: try with little stuff at first. What if you just reached out to one person you love despite a disagreement…just a quiet “I love you” or “miss you”? Or what if it’s time to switch to a different restaurant, to try complimenting strangers or pick a new type of apple at the market? These smaller steps towards honoring the feeling of heart’s desire strengthen trust in yourself, diminishing doubt. If an unmet desire shows up daily, LISTEN. It will prove to YOU who you came here to be.“
“Hold Steady. The world is whirling faster these days. Old beliefs are shaking out, emotions are intense. Memories older than we know are rising up. Some days we’ve got it; other days, we are just holding on. In yogic text, finding steadiness and ease are markers of progress. The ancients taught these skills from mythological backdrops. Today, there are just as many gods, goddesses, demons and magic. Today is just as mythological. Hold on with heart. It’s an experience we can truly make significant for eons to come.“
“Soul. Sheltering at home has broken up the momentum of our lives.
Perhaps the busyness we miss had bits to it that were not consciously chosen, but rather stuck in the orbit of our daily spinning.
In this sheltering stillness, we have a chance to feel the soul. Soul has mass and substance. You can feel the gravitational pull inward rather than the external buffeting by winds of expectation.
What newly discovered aspect of yourself will YOU carry forward into the re-entry of your daily life?
Ironically, it’s probably just what that seemingly quixotic, crazy-ass soul has wanted all along.“
“Angles. “Love is looking at the same mountains from different angles”.-Paulo Coelho…in the midst of flow, certain shapes will stop you at your apex. Love is no different. Surmounting misunderstanding is a deepening skill we all possess and vital for relationships, as well. This pose, a variation of utthita hastapadangustasan, is asking the brain to feel the body in space radically differently. That’s the challenge. Once you overcome resistance because it doesn’t make sense, and move back into the desire to try, voila. YOUR beloved relationships are worth the same effort.“
“YELLOW BRICK ROAD. This is actually a LABYRINTH filled with gorgeous flower MANDALAS by the talented @annalisetheamaranth. All three symbols represent different means to return home, a place we never really ever leave. But, sometimes we feel a million miles away. We miss our families, our pets, our friends and the hardest, ourselves. Eastern texts teach practices including meditation, chanting and breathing techniques to enfold us again in the FEELING of home, no matter where we are. To BE home sometimes doesn’t even FEEL like it. And then we remember that we can laugh, do something scary, paint, act, watch a game with friends, read, meditate, hold a puppy, run, compliment a stranger…if it holds even a spark of joy, DO IT. We live on a planet that spins on an axis, revolves around the sun in an ever-expanding galaxy floating in an eternal universe. There is no up or down, right or left in space. So home is the spot you occupy right now. Feel your way into it and remember the FEELING, for it is YOUR way home.“
Since our first fire-pit gatherings, the human experience has been a popular discussion. We have expressed our stories through cave drawings, dance and war. We realized purpose through hard won spoils and loss. We have regaled and reflected on our adventures. But, we are not unscathed. After battles and narrow escapes, we shook at the scrape of a tool on a stone or is it a tiger?
This is an interview with Ena Burrud-Rodriguez, E-RYT500, a certified yoga therapist working with veterans in Colorado and Wyoming. Herself diagnosed with PTSD from chronic trauma, she has been offering iRest (integrative restoration) since 2012; and began sharing the practice in VA facilities in 2014.
Mary rubbed her neck softly while she stepped away from her doctor's office and carefully maneuvered herself into her car. After a severe automobile collision a year ago, several surgeries later, she was still in pain-and sick of it. The doctor knew that Mary really needed to regularly stretch her neck and she was frustrated with her circumstances. He suggested Yoga.
On a rainy day last September, I sat across from a psychotherapist on a carpeted floor at Kripalu. Both of us were in a training, studying a form of yoga nidra called iRest. Facing each other, my eyes closed, he skillfully led me into deep relaxation with his own techniques and the ones we were learning in our training that day.
Within the scope of Yoga Therapy, yoga philosophy and applied yoga psychology are powerful modes of healing. Sometimes, a sprinkle will do depending on the client, like healing from an injury. But, for addressing depression, anxiety, or abuse, it can be a huge part of the work.