Author: Denise Davis-Gains

Qigong Moving Meditation Class

4 Week QiGong Curriculum Fridays 9:30am
June 21 – July 12
$100.00 for 4 weeks of QiGong & Energy Medicine
register by emailing: info@atlasstudio.com

  1. Revitalizing your energy
  2. Calming body and mind
  3. Increasing mental clarity & focus
  4. Harmonizing the energies 

You will learn and practice the following:

  • breathing mindfully to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems 
  • moving and storing energy in your lower Dantian to improve vitality
  • grounding energy to help calm a busy mind
  • releasing emotions and calming the stress response to increase resilience
  • expanding the energy field for strength, vitality and overall wellbeing
  • learning meditation techniques to increase awareness of the present moment and synchronize mind, body, spirit

What is Qigong?

  • Qigong can be viewed as a medicinal movement practice, combining breath work, relaxation, meditation, movement, and self-massage all in one.
  • Qigong is one of the oldest underrated self-care methods on the planet. Research shows it’s helpful for about 100 conditions, with the strongest evidence for pain and fatigue, cardiovascular and lung function, balance and coordination, stress and anxiety and immune health.
  • Additional studies show that both Tai Chi and Qigong provide many physical and psychological benefits. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it helps channel qi through your body’s energy meridians, thereby improving your overall health and wellbeing. 
    More specifically, studies have shown Tai Chi stimulates the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, tones muscles and helps with digestion and waste elimination.
  • What exactly can Tai Chi and Qigong do for your health? According to the scientific evidence, conditions that may benefit from either of these practices include but is not limited to: 
    • Hypertension
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Cancer
    • Arthritic disease
    • Stroke and brain injury rehabilitation
    • Aerobic capacity, strength and coordination
    • Falls and balance disorders
    • Bone mineral density
    • Shingles-related immunity
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Pain and stiffness
      • A 1999 study looking into the effects of Qigong on pain confirmed that whatever the mechanism, this type of gentle exercise does have a marked effect. Of the participants, 82 percent reported reduced pain at the end of the first session compared to 45 percent of controls. By the last session, 91 percent of the genuine Qigong group reported reduced pain, compared to just 36 percent in the control group. Anxiety reduction was also greater in the Qigong group.
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Stressanxiety and depression
    • Helps boost immune function and lowers inflammation
      • Another interesting study demonstrated that a modified short form of Tai Chi called Tai Chi Chih helped boost immune system response to the shingles virus, thereby preventing outbreaks. Indeed, a number of studies in the 2010 review found improvements in immune-related blood markers, such as leukocytes, eosinophils and monocytes, suggesting this kind of mind-body practice has a direct effect on your immune function. Inflammation is also closely related to immune function, and studies confirm Qigong and Tai Chi help reduce inflammatory markers. According to the 2010 review: The Psychological Effects of Qigong and Tai Chi twenty-seven of the 77 studies reported improved psychological outcomes relating to anxiety, depression, stress, mood, fear of falling and self-esteem.

 
About the instructor: Mala

Mala Singh is an energy medicine practitioner whose mission is to apply holistic techniques to help overwhelmed women with demanding jobs, family obligations, and crushing daily routines, who suffer from physical and mental exhaustion, connect their body to a peaceful mind so they can feel vibrant, pain-free and more in control of their day-to-day lives.   

She has studied the mind-body interplay between unbalanced emotions (stress) and its physical expression in the body and is in awe by the mind’s powerful ability to transform a diseased body.  The heart of her work is to demonstrate and educate folks on various effective complementary and integrative therapies for common and complex ailments, which are easily accessible, affordable, non-invasive and sustainable to help improve quality of life.  The ultimate goal for her clients is to be pro-active and responsible for their own wellbeing.

Mala completed her Eden Energy Medicine Foundations in 2011, studied Qigong and is currently enrolled in a PhD & Doctorate Program in Natural Medicine at Quantum University.  She is a professional engineer who worked for 16 years in a fast-paced, deadline-driven technical field while pursuing her passion in the wellness field.  Her awakening experience came during a meditation session, encouraging her to quiet her over-active mind, and ultimately propelled her into the field of Energy Medicine.  Her journey involved understanding the “invisible” (but measurable) fields, exposing her to the multitude of benefits of Qigong and Yoga.

She has seen and experienced the body’s vibrant flow of energy and emotional balance in herself and her clients.  She invites you to create your own illuminating experience that can shift your body, mind and spirit to a vibrant and joyful state of being.

CONTACT

519.729.2342
www.petalsoflight.com
https://www.facebook.com/PetalsofLightWellness
email:shiftyourenergies@gmail.com
INSTAGRAM @petals_of_light

Mantra Musings

Essay:

On the Organic Origins of Sanskrit and Mantra By Terry Stainton

How does one, as an animal, albeit a spiritual animal benefit from vocalising a few syllables of ‘nonsense’? Many languages have words derived from ‘onomatopoeia’ which are words that closely represent the actual sound or action. The word ‘crash’ when spoken (or even thought !!) sounds like a crash, as we think of it in English. In this sense, word-sounds of language evolved from the subconscious of the primitive people who spawned them. Gabriel Axel: “Mantra is a Sanskrit word for “sound tool,” (a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”. ) and Om is one of myriad such mantras. Sanskrit and some other ancient languages such as Tibetan, prototypical Egyptian and ancient Hebrew evolved as complex systems of onomatopoeia, where the sounds evoke movements of energy.

This evocation is qualitative and subjective and is linked with interoception (inner body sensations) and emotional sense of self, both predominantly represented in the right hemisphere of the brain. Conversely, the narrative strand of sounds in which we give them meaning is done predominantly through the left hemisphere. What is fascinating about mantras is that from a physics standpoint, the sounds themselves, before they are assigned meaning, will resonate in different parts of the body and mind, creating actual interactions or events.” As we see everyday, people listen to music to relax. Possibly what they are accomplishing is distracting themselves from dwelling in past events or worrying about the future. It keeps them in the Here and Now. Some find classical music useful to meditate, as it calms the savage beast. Some may feel that some Rap music and Death Metal have lyrics and themes that are anti-social, leading us to believe perhaps that these listeners are sociopaths. But consider if these people are frustrated, not only with life, but more importantly with “monkey brain”. Wild thoughts may distract them from daily activities. This loud harsh stimulation actually keeps them focused in the way that caffeine and Adderall (clinical amphetamines) do. I believe that this is not a good example of Mantra, but a harsh maladaptation of sound stimulus as a treatment. While it is of course ad-hoc, it may actually be functional.

It is quite possible that Sanskrit is wholly onomatopoeic and that the sound of each word was chosen to resonate with the Central Nervous System (CNS) and invoke a ‘Spirit’ within, related to the perceived characteristics of the object being coded into Sanskrit . Most languages evolve from a base, savage and guttural proto-human beginning and then over time this language is evolved by it’s users. Latin was already dying, by evolving far beyond traditional Latin in the time of Jesus (CE). The Romance languages, (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and yes, even Romanian) were evolved from Vulgar Latin which were local adaptations of true Latin, not Imperial Roman Latin. Sanskrit on the other hand is a cleverly manufactured language. The Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- may be translated as “put together, constructed, well or completely formed; refined, adorned, highly elaborated”. It is derived from the root word saṃ-skar- “to put together, compose, arrange, prepare” The name Sanskrit means “refined”, “consecrated” and “sanctified”. It has always been regarded as the ‘high’ language and used mainly for religious and scientific discourse.

It may be hard to believe that Sanskrit is the ‘mother tongue’ of the Indo European Languages, from Indian, Iranian, Greek, Latin through Western Europe including English. Sanskrit is ‘natural’ and not evolved by the whim of it’s users, as most modern languages have. It is a shame that the mish-mash language we call English is the ‘lingua franca’ of most of the world.

Personal use of Mantra: For a Mantra to have an effect it must be experienced and “felt” within one’s consciousness. Many single word Mantras can create a stimulus response in the brain, where a certain area would be turned “on” roughly similar to Dr. Penfield triggering the sensation of burnt toast. (q.v.) this can become a focal point for introspection and mindfulness. It clears the brain activity to a single point, no mean feat! The classic Om is phonetically “Aum” and is linked phonetically and possible functionally to the word “Amen”. The similarity to Yoga Mantras and Gregorian Chanting is clear. Mantras may have different effects from person to person. The differences are a result of the condition of the body and mind of the practitioner and thus, we can expect that the efficacy of a Mantra to change, as it changes us !!

Gabriel Axel: Mantras can be done vocally, sub-vocally (whispering) or silently in the mind. It is recommended to start aloud, and then proceed with the more silent variations. Silent repetition does have an effect; when the frequency of any sound is high enough, it extends beyond the human range of hearing and eventually achieves stillness, which is beyond sound itself Moreover, group chanting or recitation of mantra can synchronize the brainwaves between the participants, achieving yet another level of collective effect, as has been shown between musicians, which can help to understand the functional basis for group chanting in many of the world’s wisdom traditions. And so we see that mantras have a subliminal effect on the body and mind. This effect changes over the course of Mantra chanting, as the Mantra changes the body and the mind. Many yoga mantras are based on Sanskrit, which itself was intentionally designed to be sonorous and cause a reflection of the thing being vocalized. Mantras may be performed ‘out loud’, quietly (whispering) or silently in the mind.

Yoga and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis sufferers are often caught between a proverbial rock and a hard place. The rock is that they are in pain, the hard place is that exercise – while often painful to do – can help with arthritis symptoms. So, what is one to do? Enter yoga.

Over the years, a number of studies on the health benefits of yoga have been conducted. In general terms, yoga has been found to help reduce stress, relieve anxiety, and improve cardiovascular health. With respect to arthritis, yoga has been found to decrease inflammation. To understand why this is important, one must first understand what arthritis is.

In its most simplistic terms, arthritis can be understood as joint inflammation. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis or OA. According to the Arthritis National Research Foundation, OA is the “‘wear and tear’ arthritis or degenerative joint disease.” Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis or RA. The American College of Rheumatology states that “Ra is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis…caused when the immune system (the body’s defence system) is not working properly.” Like other forms of arthritis, RA results in pain and swelling.

So, if yoga can help reduce inflammation, it makes sense that it is often recommended for those dealing with RA. One arWhat is yoga good for? While yoga is good for many conditions and life challenges one particular condition that benefits from a regular daily yoga practice is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Low impact strengthing exercise – like yoga – has many key benefits to dealing with RA. According to Susan J. Bartlett, PhD, associate professor of medicine at McGill University, keeping muscles strong so that they can support the joints while incorporating movement to reduce stiffness, is key to dealing with RA.  In her article, Why Yoga Can Be Good for Rheumatoid Arthritis,  Kara Mayer Robinson suggests that yoga:

  1. Creates strong muscles to support joints and improve mobility
  2. Reduces stresses and improve mood which is especially important for people experiencing chronic pain
  3. RA is linked with diabetes and heart disease and yoga benefits the healing of both of those diseases

While there are many benefits to practising yoga – including helping those dealing with RA symptoms – it’s always important to first consult your physician prior to beginning a new exercise regimen. If you believe that yoga could be right for you, we also suggest you let your instructor know about your condition and the joints that are most affected. This will enable your instructor to provide you with modifications to ensure you continue to get all the benefits of yoga without causing further injury or a flare-up of your RA. And yogis, remember to always, ALWAYS, listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right while in a posture, take a recovery pose (savasana and child’s pose are often good) and speak to your instructor after class.

Yoga has a number of health benefits, including reducing joint inflammation – which is key in dealing with arthritis symptoms, especially RA.

Postures to help alleviate RA symptoms

  • Vrkasana (tree pose)
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose)
  • Savasana (corpse pose)
  • Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall pose)
  • Reclined supine twist
  • Sun Salutation

Fast Facts on Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic
    inflammation
  • The cause is unknown and it can affect people of any age, but is more common in
    adults 40-60 years old
  • People suffering from RA go through periods of inflammation and periods of remission
  • Inflammation with RA affects the joints by swelling, redness, stiffness and pain, but can also occur in tendons, ligaments and muscles.

arthritic joints

Yoga and Eating Disorders

Laura Mifflin dance instructor & choreographer

by: Laura Mifflin, Dance Instructor and Choreographer

I believe that practicing yoga can be a form of positive treatment for individuals suffering from eating disorders.

This article will explore eating disorders and questions whether or not yoga can be used as a suitable treatment to add some positive outcome or added benefits to those suffering from eating disorders.

With millions of individuals suffering from such disorders, there are several practices and treatments being explored currently which can potentially help them.  One new outlook on treatment is through the practicing of yoga.  Specifically, the practice of asanas, integration of the body and mind, elevated spirit, relaxation, lessened focus on body image or appearance, and more.  The findings reveal that yoga practices do have beneficial impacts on suffering individuals, however, it cannot be stated that yoga is a complete cure-all.  The complexity of eating disorders in general, even when combined with yoga practices, will not provide us with a complete solution to this unfortunate condition.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a healthy young woman who is in shape, and who has confidence in herself.  I am happy with my body image and I can proudly say that I am comfortable in my own skin.  I believe in myself and I rarely find myself struggling with self-esteem issues.  As I go on living my life in this way, I am almost blindsided by the fact that there are individuals out there who are struggling from eating disorders.  What about those people who look at themselves in the mirror and don’t approve of how they look?  What happens to them?  Sadly, in some extreme cases, these individuals end up suffering from an eating disorder, such as anorexia, binge eating, or bulimia nervosa.  These disorders are serious issues, and cannot be overlooked.

At least 30 million people of a variety of ages and both genders, suffer from an eating disorder in the United States alone. This type of behaviour not only has negative physical effects but also adverse emotional and mental effects on an individual.

In most cases, when an individual is suffering from an eating disorder, especially if they are suffering from a disorder such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa, side effects can include weight loss, pale skin, low energy, fragile nails, thin hair, and several other characteristics which are visibly noticeable.  However, the nature of eating disorders are such that their side effects are not always fully visible.  There are things which we can not always see on the exterior, and there are many more issues which are not visible to the naked eye.  In a study Laura Douglass found that “virtually every bodily function and organ is afflicted by the disorder”.  This statement proves just how serious and lethal these types of disorders can be.  The effects of abnormal eating that occur on those with disordered eating are negative.  There are so many aspects of the individual that are affected in such a destructive manner.

Yoga practices can a form of positive treatment for individuals suffering from eating disorders. In fact, there was a group study performed in 2006 that set out to see if there were any correlations between body mass index, drive for thinness, and body dissatisfaction as well as taking into consideration media influences.  After examination, tests, and constant practice of yoga, the findings were noted that there is a positive correlation between body mass index and drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction, and the results also stated that the yoga preventative program was overall quite efficacious.  I believe that the success of this program is due to the fact that yoga is not a program focusing on how one looks, but rather on how one feels.  It is a treatment of the spirit, as well as the body.

When practicing yoga, you will notice that your body is able to feel sensations never once thought of as possible, and you will discover that you are able to put yourself in a place and in positions that may once have been impossible for you.  Relaxing and breathing into poses and postures personally allows me to enjoy the placement and test my limits.  Pushing the body to a safe but challenging position gives us some satisfaction.  I believe that eating disorder sufferers who involve themselves in yoga, beginning at a moderate pace, would be able to let go of the dissatisfaction they also tie to their bodies, and actually allow for more self-approval.  If satisfaction can be given to an individual, they may also be able to lose that drive for unnecessary thinness, and focus on accepting their body.

As we keep discovering different aspects of yoga as it relates to eating disorders, we see how the idea of improving the wellness of those suffering from an eating disorder is not simple, and the improvement process is no easy task.  According to the study done by Boudette in 2006, yoga contributes to the recovery process of individuals suffering from eating disorders because yoga is able to introduce relaxation to their consciousness, which is often a newly found sensation in this circumstance.  Boudette reports that “the combination of yoga postures (asanas), followed by relaxation (savasana) creates a deep sense of peace and freedom they have never before experienced.” The hope of this relaxing feeling is that it will be a new sensation that the body will be involved with, and hopefully enjoy.  The relaxation will try to let the body of the eating disorder sufferer reach a new level of enjoyment with respect to how it feels.  With the focus being on the feeling of the body, attention has now been redirected away from how the body looks, which tends to be the primarily and perhaps the only focus of the eating disorder sufferer.  Once that focus is shifted away from how one thinks about their physical appearance, the individual suffering from the eating disorder will have some relief.  The pressure to look a certain way, which has been impressed upon them from our culture’s media, or where ever it came from, and the stress of modeling him or herself into this body type will hopefully then be reduced.  I feel that this relief would show the overworked mind of the sufferer some much-needed peace.  With the mind at rest, and the body under less stress, the two should be able to find a better connection and become more stable, if a positive routine is established and reinforced.

One concern that should be mentioned in regards to using yoga as a suitable treatment for eating disorders is that some consider yoga to be a form of exercise.  The issue here with yoga being a form of exercise is that individuals suffering from eating disorders have risks associated with combining exercise and abnormal eating.  It is reported that  “Vigorous exercise can be a means of weight loss or one of several tactics used by the individual to counteract the ingestion of excess calories or deal with body image concerns.  […] terror of being fat can cause some individuals to fall into the trap of excessively exercising while still falling short of the “perfect body”.  Falling into the trap of too much exercise is risky.  If yoga practice were to become the treatment for the patient, I would suggest an easy, controlled yoga class, with constant supervision by the yoga instructor.  This way, it can be ensured that an individual does not take this treatment too far, or cause bodily harm.”

The danger of disordered eating is so dominant to some individuals that any treatment needs to be used with caution.  Disordered eating is a habit which cannot be easily escaped from.  Individuals suffering from disordered eating are constantly under a struggle.  Once personally affected either directly or indirectly by eating disorders, you should understand that there is one source of recovery out there for this serious condition; that being yoga.

Disordered eating is a sickness, and we are in search of the cure, using various methods which we can only hope will be effective, and so we must continue to study these methods if we are to help those who are suffering. We can try, and believe, and practice yoga and preach its many benefits, and see how it positively benefits those individuals who are struggling from eating disorders.  As yoga as a practice continues to develop and be a source of inspiration and assistance to more people, we must make sure that it can also help the people who could really use its benefits the most.  If we can give body satisfaction and self-contentment to everyone, why wouldn’t we?  Let us all practice: living, laughing, loving ourselves, breathing, exercising, and healthy eating.


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Intro to Ayurvea: Matthew Remski

What we know about ayurveda we have learned from Matthew Remski and the sources that he has pointed us to.  Any awareness that I had before meeting Remski has been tainted by his broad and informed viewpoint.

matthew remski

Matthew suggests that the

“best evidence shows that the holy trinity of preventative and supportive health consists of proper diet, adequate exercise, and stress reduction. ayurveda focuses on how these three can speak most efficiently through the medium of a person’s constitution. Constitution cannot be concretely defined, but gleaned from the holistic analysis of physique, drives, social context, development, and emotional and mental patterning. Assessing what a person needs begins with beginning to understand who a person is and is becoming.”

In contemplating the usefulness of the ayurvedic body of knowledge Matthew suggests that “stress reduction is the broadest category.” Ayurveda addresses all stressful relationships: to food, to time, to family, to culture, to technology, to the earth, to one’s self-narrative.

ayurveda_1

Matthew goes on to explain that

“underneath the technique, ayurveda performs the important function of speaking to a recently-buried layer of consciousness. Its lore arises from the majority experience of our history: the hundreds of millennia prior to books and science, when we relied on intuition, mythology, and dreams to forge connection of balance and meaning.”

Ayurveda reminds the postmodern person of a time when her internal climate mirrored her external climate in a language she could intuit and add to. A time when she was, in a word, possessed by nature and its evident rhythms. This experience is still within us, but is now starved for attention. Ayurveda treats the ancient person within.

As for yoga — it occurs whenever the wounds of consciousness provoke conscious action. Today, yoga is primarily a mode of re-embodiment. Expressed through whatever tools work, yoga is the will to reveal our latent inter-subjectivity, and to sense our shared flesh — to use the term of Maurice Merleau-Ponty — with the world.

When Matthew Remski teaches Ayurveda, he begins with the following reduction:

Ayurveda in 7 steps

  1. Each person is two: a conscious part prone to alienation from self, other, and world, but also gifted with integrative capacities; a perceptual part, autonomically attuned to time and the environment, already and naturally resourceful and supported.
  2. The latter is a unique combination of elemental qualities and movement patterns we may call “constitution”. It is the basis of the former.
  3. Constitution can harmonize or clash with its natural and social environment, whether by conscious choice or by circumstance.
  4. Inattention to sensual feedback, internal rhythms and environmental changes prematurely weakens first vitality, and then immunity.
  5. As immunity weakens, the natural strengths of structure, metabolism, and coordination express their shadows: congestion, inflammation, and disorganization.
  6. Good digestion is the root of somatic and psychic health.

Pleasure and equanimity are its flowers.

http://matthewremski.com/wordpress/view-of-ayurveda/


matthew remski ayurveda teacher

Matthew Remski teaches a Ayurveda workshop for Atlas Studio.  Find out more here!

There’s “Exercise” And Then There’s “Movement”

Amanda Raynor Human v2.0

by: Amanda Raynor, BEd.

Mobility Expert, Co-owner/manager at Human 2.0/writer/educator/community builder/furniture re-arranger

It’s all over the news these days: sitting for extended periods of time is bad for you. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in January of this year – Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk For Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization In Adults: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis (click here to read more) – has really gotten people talking…

The scariest bit of information to come out of this is the fact that even an hour of exercising a day isn’t going to do you much good if you are still sitting the rest of the time. So many of us thought that going to the gym before or after work meant that we’d be healthy.  Nope.

The question now becomes, what can we do to change this? Our lives are so dependent on computers, cars, etc. It’s going to be tough, but we MUST figure out how to incorporate more movement into our daily routines.

The good news is, the little things count.

You may or may not have heard of the term “NEAT”. It stands for “non exercise activity thermogenesis”. Simply put, it’s all the physical movement in our lives that isn’t part of a planned exercise routine or sport. Activities include things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, playing a musical instrument, small movements such as toe tapping, and fidgeting in general, just to name a few. As it turns out, NEAT can have a substantial impact on our metabolic rates and caloric expenditures.

So yes, take that walk at lunch instead of sitting. Park in the farthest section of the lot when you go to the store.  Get up and do a few stretches and some squats every half an hour or so. Walk to see a colleague face-to-face instead of emailing. These are all great ideas, but there’s more. There are ways of embedding activity into your life on an even more elemental level.

Imagine a house without couches, chairs, even beds. Where and how you sit and/or sleep can also sway your “moving” or “non-moving” lifestyle one way or another.

In a conversation with Joe Rogan, Katy Bowman – a bio-mechanist, and author of books on natural movement and human development – suggests that we’ve made our environments a little “too” comfortable.

Mattress and bedding companies would have us believe that the “ideal night’s sleep” would mean climbing under the blankets and not moving for eight hours straight.

Katy says that our bodies aren’t meant to remain in one single position for that long. She says that we SHOULD be moving all the time – even a little – and that it’s this fairly constant stirring, the circulation of our system, that helps the body rid itself of toxins. If we remain in any one position for an extended position, we inhibit this. In essence, we stagnate.

“You are a filtration system and movement is your biggest filter changer. Your whole lymphatic system depends on movement. It doesn’t have its own pump. Your lymphatic system: that’s what’s taking your cellular waste and moving it out of your body. It’s laying right next to your arterial and venous system, so as muscles work, they pump blood over to the working tissues and it kind of washes everything away. So your lymphatic system doesn’t need a pump, because why would it? Why would you not be moving? Movement is something that a human should be doing all the time.”

If you sleep in a ultra soft bed, there is very little stimulus that might cause your body to change positions. As we are seeing, this is not necessarily a good thing.

Same idea goes for chairs and couches. We’ve made them so comfortable and so awesome, the we slump down in them and stay that way for hours. Now, you may not be ready to throw out all of your furniture just yet, but it might be a good idea to change things up a bit.  Sit on the floor more often, try sleeping without a pillow, maybe get a firmer mattress.

As Katy says, “We say we are too sedentary. I would say that you have too much repetitive geometry, which is different. It’s like you gotta get out of your couch and exercise. I would say maybe you just get out of your couch. Maybe you keep watching Netflix, just sit cross-legged on the floor, just put your legs out in front of you because that IS movement. That IS exercise. It’s just not in special clothing, in a class, in a gym.”

In order to combat the problem of “sitting disease”, maybe it’s as simple as going backwards in time a little: getting rid of this notion of movement in terms of “exercise” or “fitness” only, and create a climate in which movement – NATURAL human movement – is an integral part of how we exist.  It has been for MOST of our history, declining markedly over the last twenty-five years or so. There’s no reason why it can’t be that way again.


Visit Amanda Raynor’s Ottawa Mobility Center Human 2.0 on the web by clicking here

Trikonasana

Krista Blakelock - doula

TRIKONASANA

By: Krista Blakelock – Inspired Yoga Teacher | Birthing Expert | Kitchener Doula, Avid Traveler

 


 

I see him glance over at me for a second time. He’s trying hard to focus on the basketball game playing on the television behind the bar, but he’s looking over at me completely perplexed.

I figure I should help him out.
“You’re at a bar watching television, I don’t care for sports so i’m doing this instead.”

“But you could do that at home,” he retorts.

“You could watch basketball at home too.”

He hesitates; commercials come on and he looks back at me, “So? Why would you come here to knit?”

Shockingly, not all people who knit are crazy cat ladies with agoraphobia.

“I just finished work, I like wine and occasionally talking to people at a bar is pretty cool,” I tell him.

“Last week a group of eight ladies came into the bar that I work at. They all ordered a beer and then pulled out knitting! They stayed for like, five hours!” He tells me.

From a servers perspective I totally understand the frustration of having a large part of your section taken up by people who are not spending a lot of money. It limits the amount of tips that can be earned and the amount of tables he can serve throughout the night. However, not all women who knit have apartments that would comfortably host eight friends, their bags of wool and needles. So, I decide his evil eye towards my speckled blue wool is not because he believes knitting to be terrible, but because of the tips he missed out on a week ago.

Personally, I don’t like to knit in big groups. Maybe with one or two other people, but typically i’ll knit alone. It is a way of grounding myself, and at the same time challenging myself to maintain focus on my breath, relaxation in my shoulders and proper posture through my spine. Sounds strange but if my body is hunched up and tense, the stitches in my wool become tighter making the subsequent row difficult to knit. So, in a way knitting is like a yogic practise to me.

In French, the verb “to knit” is “tricoter.” In Sanskrit, triangle pose is called “Trikonasana.” For some reason my brain made this connection and while practicing a flow sequence involving triangle I decided that this pose felt like my knitting meditation.

A triangle is formed between the knitting needles and the stitches. Similarly the legs form a triangle with the ground creating a sturdy base from which to lift up the torso and create space for breath and length in the spine. When the upper arm lifts towards upwards the third arm of the triangle is created connecting my body from the ground to the sky. I always feel at peace when I am holding my core, aligning my shoulders and really rooting my feet down into my mat.

Growing a knitted piece takes patience, alignment and attention. Stitches may slip off the needle, I may misread a pattern, or lose a stitch and some days my fingers and brain just don’t want to communicate. On the mat, trikonasana requires the same virtues. Patience to support weight and resist pressure, attention to breath and to alignment.

Furthermore, in chemistry a triangle is used to represent “change.” Reflecting on trikonasana I believe that my breath is able to facilitate change throughout my body, mind and heart. The triangle between my knitting needles is constantly changing a raveled ball of yarn into a functional piece of something. Currently, I’m working on a headband for a lovely lady who wants to live in a hobbit house, with a garden rooftop and a distillery in her basement. Bringing us full circle, or more appropriately: Complete triangle, back to why I am knitting in a bar…

A glass of wine after work, a knitting project and a bit of time to reflect on my breath, body and heart feels like the perfect thing to do in a bar on a Monday night.


 

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Yoga In Mexico with Robert Fox

sunset in mexicoby Robert Fox, Tai Chi & Qi Gong Instructor

 

 

 

According to Wikipedia, “Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline that denotes a variety of schools, practices and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism (including Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism) and Jainism, the best-known being Hatha yoga and Raja yoga.”  It dates back to the 6th century BC.  It wasn’t until 1980 that yoga became an accepted form of exercise in the western world.  My wife and I live in Cambridge Ontario, and we have been life long YMCA members.  All kinds of fitness is an important part of our lives.  We became certified fitness instructors years ago, and today I still teach aerobics and weight resistant classes at the Cambridge Ontario YMCA.

yoga in mexico with robert fox

For the past 5 years, we have lived in Bucerias Mexico for February and March.  This year, I decided to offer a yoga class in the Ana Ruth’s hotel, where we live on the roof outdoors.  Bucerias is on the Pacific Ocean just a few miles north of Puerto Vallarta.  The environment here is perfect for yoga.  It seems like there is a yoga class being offer on every street corner.  Are these classes being taught by certified yoga instructors?  I doubt it.  Am I a certified yoga instructor?  No.  So I advertise my class as “Robert’s mobility class”.  Since I have had tons of experiences and courses in Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Creative Movement, Yoga, and since I am a qualified certified fitness instructor, I believe I can offer the participants some helpful exercises.  To make the classes even more appealing, they are free.

Back in Canada, I attend at least one yoga class per week and I have also researched yoga extensively on the internet.  When I am teaching my weight resistant class back home, I incorporate yoga moves into the hour, and those exercises are appreciated by all.  My wife and I have taken two separate courses from a certified Tai Chi instructor in Ontario.  We are pretty good at doing the 108 peaceful Chinese moves.  I have also been exposed to many Qi Gong classes, and at one time when you didn’t have to be certified in it, I taught it at the Chaplin Family YMCA in Cambridge.

yoga in mexico with robert fox

I retired from teaching with the Waterloo Region District School Board 15 years ago.  I taught for 33 years at the elementary level.  I have a specialist certificate in Drama Education, and have taught many courses in movement.  I still use those strategies in my weight resistant classes at the YMCA.

My Friday morning at 10 a.m. class here in Mexico consists of a little Tai Chi, a little Qi Gong, a little yoga, and a lot of Drama.  It lasts one hour and we always begin with a warmup and end with a cool down.  Of course we stretch a lot and hold poses too.  In drama class, back in the classroom, we use to call those poses, tableau.  The slow movements were called articulations.  Here is a list of what we did today, Friday 13th in Mexico …

  • warm up – a) brain gym  b) the Owl
  • The Golden 8 Energy Balancing Exercises
  • The Big 5 – lunge/squat/bridge/pushup/press
  • Tapping for stress reduction
  • Memory Hangers

Please contact me for more information at … theoldfoxx@rogers.com

Check out our daily blog of life here in Mexico at … buceriasmexico2015.blogspot.com

Sincerely,

Robert Fox


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Inspired Yoga Teachers with Krista Blakelock

Krista Blakelock - doula By: Krista Blakelock – Inspired Yoga Teacher | Birthing Expert | Kitchener Doula, Avid Traveler


After participating in my first yoga class in 2008, I was immediately hooked. I loved the focus required, the quiet space that I could go to within myself and also the challenge. I admit I was not the “zen hippie” that people perceived when I spoke about my new found love of yoga. When I was in a class I truly felt that I should push further, hold the pose longer, fold deeper and do the most extreme variation of the options demonstrated; but within, my mind was never sincerely connecting to my body. My practice has changed a lot over the years and so too has the connection I feel between mind and body.
In 2012, working as a doula enabled me to practice yoga in a very different way. Mom’s who were active prior to their pregnancy were asking me for options so that they could keep their body moving without too much intensity. Other women simply wanted a way to relax and lengthen out their backs and chests, and stretch their hips. Showing clients various poses took me for a loop. When I taught, I was incredibly attentive to alignment, depth and length of breath, their changes from week to week and how steady they could be in a pose.  Moms were so happy to do shallow lunges and feel blood and oxygen pulsing through them and to baby. I was in awe of how content and proud they could feel even though in my personal practice, they technically were not in Virabhadrasana, Warrior 1 pose.
I continued with my own intense practice, but would teach clients slow, flowing sequences. My observations of how great they felt when they did supported hip rotations, neck and shoulder rolls, and a modified Surya Namaskar was reinforced week after week and slowly I began giving myself the same allowances to slow down. The real difficulty for me was to be still in a pose and convince my mind that it was totally okay. Allowing my body and mind to come into alignment and really soak up the benefits of a pose has had incredible benefits and I have to believe enables me to teach more honestly.
I regularly return to the quote by Richard Bach, “You teach what you most need to learn,” to remind myself how important it is to marvel at my breath, what my body does for me each day and how it feels to really connect with the sensations and changes within. Today, I am thankful for each mama who has brought life into the world, because through my interactions with them I have been able to come to life within my own mind and body in a very new and vibrant way.

Visit Krista’s website: http://stardancingdoula.wix.com/

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Yoga For Children Bibliography | List of Resources

YOGA FOR CHILDREN BIBLIOGRAPHY


 

Asencia, Teressa. Playful Family Yoga. Priceton Book Co., 2002

Atkins, Terri, Cowan, Palomares, Schuster. Feelings Are Facts: Helping Children Understand, Manage & Learn from Their Feelings. Innerchoice Pub; ISBN: 1564990109; Teacher edition (February 1993)

Ban Breathnach, Sarah. Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy. New York: Warner Books, 1996.

Berkus, Rusty. Life is a Gift. Red Rose Press, 1982

Berger, Kathleen and Ross Thompson. The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence, 4th Edition. Worth Publishers, 1980.l

Bersma, Danielle. Yoga Games for Children. Hunter House, 2003

Blakeslee, Thomas R. The Right Brain: A New Understanding of the Unconscious Mind and its Creative Powers. Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1980.

Briggs, Dorothy Corkille. Celebrate Yourself, Making life Work for You. DoubleDay, 1970.

Briggs, Dorothy Corkille. Your Child’s Self-Esteem. Doubleday, 1975.

Brooks, David, et al. The Case for Character Education : The Role of the School in Teaching Values and Virtue. Studio 4 Productions; ISBN: 1882349016; (January 1997)

Budilovsky, Joan and Adamson, Eve. Idiot’s Guide to Yoga, Second Edition. Alpha Books, 2001

Chanchani, Rajiv and Swati. Yoga for Children. UBS Publishers’ Distributors, 1995.

Cohen, Ken et al. Imagine That: A Child’s Guide to Yoga. Integral Yoga Distribution; ISBN: 0932040403

Colletto, Jerry and Sloan, Ed.U, Jack. Yoga Conditioning and Football. Celestial Arts, 1975

Dawson, Paul. Human Body Explorer. DK Books, 2000.

Day, Jennifer. Creative Visualization With Children. Element Books Ltd., 1994.

De Brunhoff, Laurent. Babar’s Yoga for Elephants. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 2002

Dennison, Paul. Brain Gym (Teachers Edition). Edu Kinesthetics; ISBN: 0942143027; Tchrs/Rev edition (June 1994)

Drury, Nevill. Creative Visualization, To Attain Your Goals and Improve your Well- being. Barnes and Noble Books, 2001.

Erikson, Joan M. Wisdom and the Senses. W.W. Norton, 1988. Fezler, William. Creative Imagery. Simon & Schuster, 1989.

Franklin, Eric. Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery. Human Kinetics (T); ISBN: 0873224752; (February 1997)

Fried, Suellen and Paula. Bullies and Victims. M. Evans, Inc., 2000

Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1983.

Garth, Maureen. Starbright: Meditations for Children. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1991.

Garth, Maureen. Moonbeam: A Book of Meditations for Children. Harper Collins Juvenile Books; ISBN: 1863711422; (March 1993)

Gold, Taro. Open Your Mind, Open Your Life. Beacon Press, 1999

Gooch, Sandy. If You Love Me, Don’t Feed Me Junk. Reston Publishing Co., 1983.

Goode and Watson. The Mind Fitness Program for Self-Esteem and Excellence. Zephyr Press, 1992.

Gordhamer, Soren. Just Say Om. Adams Media; ISBN: 1-58062-549-5; (2002)

Gordon, F. Noah. Magical Classroom, Creating Effective, Brain-Friendly Environments for the Classroom. Zephyr Press, 1995.

Gregson, Bob. The Incredible Indoor Games Book. David S. Lake Publishers, 1982.

Groves, Dawn. Yoga for Busy People. Barnes and Noble Publishing, 2002

Hannaford, Carla Awakening the Child Heart: Handbook for the Global Parenting. Jamilla Nur; ISBN: 0971664706; (May 2002)

Hannaford, Carla. Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head.

Great Ocean Pub; ISBN: 0915556278; (October 1995)

Hendricks, Gay and Wills, Russel. The Centering Book. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice- Hall, 1975.

Hendricks, Gay and Roberts, Thomas B. The Second Centering Book. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1977.

Hendricks, Gay. The Centered Teacher. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1981. Iyengar, B.K.S. Light On Yoga. Schocken Books, NY, 1966.

Jenkins, Peggy, Ph.D. The Joyful Child. Aslan Publishing, 1996.

Jenson, Eric. Learning with Mind and Body.

Kalish, Leah. Yoga Fitness for Kids (ages 3-6 and 7-12) Videos. Gaiam, Int. 2001

Kalish, Leah and Spahn, Diane. Yoga Kit for Kids. Imaginazium, LLC, 1999.

Kessler, Rachael. The Soul of Education, Helping Students find Connection, Compassion and Character at School. Association for Supervision and Curriculum, 2000

Kilpatrick, William K. Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong. Touchstone Books; ISBN: 0671870734; Reprint edition (September 1993)

Kilpatrick, William, et al. Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories. Touchstone Books; ISBN: 0671884239; (November 1994)

Koch, Isabelle. Like a Fish in Water, Yoga for Children. Inner Traditions Int., 1999

Kohn, Alfie. No Contest: The Case Against Competition. Houghton Mifflin, 1986

Komitor, Jodi, Adamson. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Yoga with Kids. Alpha Books; ISBN: 0028639359; 1 edition (July 20, 2000)

Lark, Liz. Flow Motion, Yoga for Children. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2003

Lark, Liz. Yoga For Kids. Firefly Books Ltd., 2003

Lickona, Thomas. Raising Good Children. Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub; ISBN: 055337429X; (October 1994)

Luby, Thia. Children’s Book of Yoga: Games & Exercises Mimic Plants & Animals & Objects. Clear Light Pub; ISBN: 1574160036; (July 1998)

Luby, Thia. Yoga for Teens. Clear Light Publishing, 1999

Madison, Dr. Lynda. The Feelings Book, the Care and Keeping of Your Emotions. Pleasant Company Publication – American Girl Library, 2002

Majoy, Peter. Riding the Crocodile, Flying the Peach Pit, A Sensory Approach to Education. Zephyr Press, 1996.

Mehta, Mira. How to Use Yoga. Smithmark Publishres, 1994.

Merritt, Stephanie. Mind, Music and Imagery. Aslan Publishing, 1996.

Miller, Elise and Blackman, Carol. Life is a Stretch, Easy Yoga Anytime, Anywhere. Llwellyn Publications, 1999.

Moorman, Chick. Talk Sense To Yourself: The Language of Personal Power. Personal Power Press, 1985.

Murdock, Maureen. Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery With Children for Learning, Creativity & Relaxation. Shambhala Publications; ISBN: 0877734224; Rev&Updtd edition (February 1988)

Oaklander, Violet. Windows To Our Children. Gestalt Journal Press, 1988.

Pearce, Dr. Joseph C. Evolution’s End: Claiming the Potential of Our Intelligence. San Francisco: Harper, 1992.

Pearce, Dr. Joseph C. Magical Child. Plume Books, Penguin, 1977.

Petrash, Jack. Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out. Gryphon House; ISBN: 0876592469; (September 2002)

Phillips, Kathy and Stewart, Mary. Yoga for Children. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1992.

Promislow, Sharon. Making the Brain Body Connection: A Playful Guide to Releasing Mental, Physical & Emotional Blocks to Success. Enhanced Learning & Integration; ISBN: 0968106633; (February 1, 2000)

Rogers, Carl & H. Jerome Freidberg. Freedom to Learn.

Saraswati, Swami Satyananda. Yoga Education For Children. Bihar School of Yoga, India, 1990

Semigran, Stu and Sindy Wilkinson. Making the Best of Me, A Handbook for Student Exxcellence and Self-Esteem. ACE Program, 1989

Sivananda Yoga Center and Staff. Yoga Mind and Body. DK Pub. Inc., 1998

Spolin, Viola. Theater Game File. St. Louis: Cemrel, Inc., 1975.

Sumar, Sonia. Yoga for the Special Child, A Therapeutic Approach for Infants and Children with Down Syndrome, Cerabral Palsy, and Learning Disabilities. Special Yoga Publications, 1998

Trivell, Lisa. I Can’t Believe It’s Yoga for Kids. Hatherliegh Press, 2000

Walker, Richard. Guide to the Human Body, A Photographic Journey Through the Human Body. DK Books, 2001.

Weinstein, Matt, and Goodman, Joel. Playfair: Everybody’s Guide to Non-competitive Play. Impact Publishers, 1980

Weiss, Brian. Meditation. Hay House Inc., 2002 Weller, Stella. Yoga for Children. Thorsons, 1996. Whitelaw, Ginny. Body Learning. Perigree Trade, 1998

Periodicals:

Yoga Journal. 2054 University Ave. #600, Berkeley, CA 94704 / www.yogajournal.com. Subscriptions: 800-600-yoga

Yoga International. Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the U.S.A. Subscriptions: www.yimag.org


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