Click on the link above for a simple Dosha test based on the Dosha test in David Frawley & Sandra Summerfiled-Kosaks book, “Yoga for your Ayurvedic Type.”
Click on the link above for a simple Dosha test based on the Dosha test in David Frawley & Sandra Summerfiled-Kosaks book, “Yoga for your Ayurvedic Type.”
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 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.
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:
Pleasure and equanimity are its flowers.
Matthew Remski teaches a Ayurveda workshop for Atlas Studio. Find out more here!
Experience has demonstrated to us that yoga is an excellent system for promoting healthy development and can be an incredibly effective means of facilitating wellness in children.
It is noninvasive and its “side effects,” including improved self-esteem, emotional equilibrium, more energy and the ability to self-calm, are completely benign if not totally
Children who practice yoga may not only be better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, studies now show that they may also choose better foods to eat and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Whether over- or underweight, body image issues and poor eating habits plague our children today. Studies suggest yoga may help.
One such study examined the benefits of yoga for adolescents with eating disorders. These teens attended yoga classes as part of their psychiatric day treatment program. Typically suffering from a lack of self-esteem, nearly 75% reported an increase in well-being. They used the words “relaxed,” “calm,” “energized” and “more awake” to describe how they felt after class. (M.J Fury, MA, RYT, and L.C. Kaley-Isley, PhD, RYT)
A case study on anorexic adolescents found that “focused breathing (pranayama), movement sequences (asana), meditation (dhyana), and alert relaxation (yoga nidra)
…reduced starvation-induced stress, safely reintroduced physical activity for a weakened
body, minimized fatigue and… corrected distorted self-perceptions.” (Susana A. Galle,
PhD, ND, CCN, CCH, and Tomas E. Silber, MD)
Other studies on children and adolescents on anxiety, depression, trauma, mood regulation, sense of well-being, self-esteem and “increased wellness” draw conclusions
about the positive effects of yoga on all of these conditions.
Subjective outcomes included “improved focus, strength, flexibility, and balance;
improved sense of self-awareness and pride; and improved ability to calm themselves.”
It was further reported that “the girls overwhelmingly noted that they felt happier, more
relaxed, less stressed, and more at ease in their bodies on the days they practiced yoga
than on the days they did not.” (A. Bortz, PsyD, RYT and K. Cradock, LCSW, RYT)
Perhaps one of the more interesting studies, submitted by Molly Kenny, MS-CCC of
The Samarya Center in Seattle, Washington, suggested that the physical act of balancing
might improve self-esteem in teens. The positive effects of “balance training” on the
subjects’ concentration and attention were “immediately observable,” and she proposed
that the effects on self-esteem might become more apparent over time.
The scientific community recognizes measurement tools used in these studies. Research
in the field of yoga therapy, however, is largely exploratory at this time and warrants
further investigation. It seems simple. Children are suffering from a lack of connection
to their own bodies, their environment and the food they eat. Yoga facilitates connection.
It’s easy, low cost, accessible and anyone can do it. And now it’s being proven effective.
More and more teachers and other interested adults are sharing yoga with children. Kids
have a natural tendency to share what they are learning when they get home, so this is an
easy way to get the whole family involved. Parents may be practicing yoga themselves,
and kids are always interested in what their parents are up to.
Another way is for children’s yoga teachers to invite parents in for a first and/or last class
of a yoga session. A child’s aunt sitting in on a kids class said to me, “They are doing
real yoga poses! That is great.” I’m not sure what she thought, but now she knows what
she can practice at home with her niece. Family classes are another great way to help
everyone feel an increased sense of well-being while learning a practice they can enjoy
at home. With wide age ranges and levels of ability, family classes can be challenging to
teach but also especially rewarding.
Adenia Linker, Hyde Park mother of nine-year-old twins and longtime children’s yoga
teacher, involves the parents of her yoga students by sending home a newsletter every
few weeks. It’s a simple one-page letter with a picture and description of a pose learned
that week and an inspiring quote along with a new children’s yoga book, a Web site or
some other resource that may interest parents.
The more parents, teachers, doctors and other professionals working with children
understand the practice of yoga and its benefits, the more likely it is to be seriously
considered as a therapy.
In an era of children acquiring conditions and diseases previously unknown in childhood,
proper breathing, exercise and deep relaxation may be the powerful healing force needed.
Yoga resonates with children. ”They love the practice, and they love how they feel afterwards. With all of the research and “proof” now available, it may well be just what
the doctor orders.
These notes come from:
Children, who knew how much fun it could be to have children in my life. While the three wonderful children that chose to come to me have been the most intense spiritual challenge of my life to date, they are also the most incredible gift. Children are an endowment of a depth and magnitude that I could never have anticipated.
When our first child, Conor, came along, I remember thinking, as we were walking out the front door of Mount Sinai Hospital, “Isn’t someone going to check that I have the right credentials to take care of this precious little bundle?”
I remember looking around, over both shoulders to see if anyone was going to run up behind me and tap on my shoulder, “excuse me, but do you have a degree in early childhood education? What about a certificate in child care? Or, at the very least, What about your first aid certificate, can I see that please?” But, nothing, nothing happened. No one even checked to see if our baby car seat met industry standards.
I read the books, I took the classes and nothing prepared me for the overwhelming mind, body, and spirit experience that it was to have a newborn baby. “How does anyone ever get a shower, let alone sleep?” B.C., before children, I worked full time at a local TV station, designed and manufactured a line of ladies clothing and ran a showroom in downtown Toronto, I taught 15-20 hours of aerobics and yoga a week, worked out, took courses, traveled and still had time to sleep, eat and have sex. One child and it all came to a screeching halt. Terrified that I would wake up one day and walk out the front door without him, I eventually went on to adjust to parenting; sleep deprivations and other joys of children.
I sit here many years later writing about planting the seeds of wisdom in young children. I really believe that my level of consciousness around this flitted in and out, butterfly fashion, for many years. This process took a real life-time to embody the teachings of the great masters and step back and trust the process of becoming, thereby, letting my children and the children that I have been blessed to work with grow and thrive in the unique and often incredibly resilient ways that they are meant to. The Atlas Children’s Workshop grew out of this process and we seek to train yoga teachers to see the child and facilitate the child’s unique yoga path in each encounter.
Becoming a Atlas Children’s Workshop facilitator is not just another continuing education course meant to fulfill the basic requirements of being a responsible yoga teacher, but a real lived experience of coming into the stream of consciousness to bring in and nurture seed of wisdom for generations.
First published in 1951, Shamanism soon became the standard work in the study of this mysterious and fascinating phenomenon. Writing as the founder of the modern study of the history of religion, Romanian émigré–scholar Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) surveys the practice of Shamanism over two and a half millennia of human history, moving from the Shamanic traditions of Siberia and Central Asia–where Shamanism was first observed–to North and South America, Indonesia, Tibet, China, and beyond. In this authoritative survey, Eliade illuminates the magico-religious life of societies that give primacy of place to the figure of the Shaman–at once magician and medicine man, healer and miracle-doer, priest, mystic, and poet. Synthesizing the approaches of psychology, sociology, and ethnology, Shamanism will remain for years to come the reference book of choice for those intrigued by this practice.
“Eliade writes of the shamans with that masterly combination of sympathy and detachment. . . . . [His] findings will almost certainly be echoed by great voices of the future.”—New York Times Book Review
“Eliade is the most informative guide to the modern mythologies.”–Frank Kermode, New Statesman
“[A] close and detailed yet comparative study of shamanism. . . . [It] has become the standard work on the subject and justifies its claim to be the first book to study the phenomenon over a wide field and in a properly religious context.”—Times Literary Supplement
“Clearly the best work on Shamanism published so far.”—The Review of Religion
by Denise Davis-Gains
Many years ago, during my first pregnancy, I remember being a little arrogant and
wondering what I would learn in a prenatal class at the hospital. This was before I
became a yoga teacher. During that first session the instructor talked about breathing
and exercise, she talked about a lot of things, but breathing seemed to me to be the most
unusual thing to discuss in a prenatal class. Wouldn’t I just breathe normally? Why
would I need to breath in any special way to get through labor and delivery? She talked
about different breathing techniques and I felt rather silly blowing air out of my pursed
lips and preceded to file this class under “LATER” OR “WHATEVER” as my 13 year
old daughter would now say.
That first labor was 24 hours long with 5 hours of pushing and eventually forceps
intervention to help get my very large child out of my apparently somewhat narrow
pelvis. I held my breath and did not have a coach to remind me to breathe and I am sure
now that this slowed down the process much more than was necessary. While I managed
to deliver vaginally, it was an experience that could have been eased by some gentle
coaching with breath and sound.
In the year after the birth of my first child I decided to become a yoga teacher and took
him with me to nurse as I worked through basic yoga teacher training. I learned about
holding the breath and how as I held my breath pain would increase and how when I
released the breath, I could release pain in my body.
Practicing simple breath awareness during pregnancy can help during the labor and
delivery process at the end of the pregnancy and it can also help to make sure that
mom and baby are getting optimal amounts of oxygen during the gestation period.
Remembering that there is a miracle happening in the body. Through the coming
together of a few cells a child is forming. To maximize the growth potential of that child
we want to get as much oxygen as possible as that is one of the foundational building
blocks of a human being.
During my second pregnancy, the midwife nurse exclaimed repeatedly that, “we should
be making a video of your breathing techniques.” I discovered how using breath
awareness alone could help with labor and delivery. It was amazing how just letting
the breath out during the contractions could allow the contraction and gravity to do its
job. I noticed if I held my breath that the contraction was not as productive. Experiment
with this concept by pinching your hand hard and firm, hold the breath, and notice what
happens. Do the same thing and let the breath out long and slow. Notice the difference.
Try it again and let out a long, deep guttural “ahhhh” sound and see how it feels. This is
the foundation of basic benefits of breath awareness and pregnancy.
• Decrease in resting heart rate
• Decrease in blood pressure
• Decrease in respiratory rate
• Increased efficiency of cardiovascular & respiratory functions
• Normalized gastrointestinal & hormonal functions
• Increase in endurance and energy level
• Breathing exercises improve sleep and normalize weight
• Increased bodily awareness
• Improved mood and well-being
• Improved sense of self-acceptance
• Increased self-actualization
• Can reduce anxiety, depression and feelings of anger and hostility
• Increased attention span, concentration, memory and learning
The biochemical profile improves, indicating an anti-stress and antioxidant effect. Some changes include a decrease in blood glucose, triglyceride, cholesterol, and stress-
hormones. These are some of the basic benefits of practicing yoga breathing during and after pregnancy.
Some exercises that might help to achieve these benefits include the complete yoga breath, watching the gap and alternate nostril breathing.
• Sit quietly
• Become aware of the natural rhythm of your breath
• Imagine inhaling from the bottom up, like filling up a pitcher of water.
• Inhale into the belly
• Feel the chest expand
• Fill up right up to the collar, the back of the throat and the nose
• Exhale from the top down
• Collar, chest, abdomen
• Allow the attention to follow the breath all the way in and all the way out.
• Notice if the attention wanders and without judgment or criticism bring the attention back to the breath when you are ready.
• Start with about 1-3 minutes and practice longer as your ability to pay attention increases to about 10-12 minutes
Watching the Gap:
• Repeat this same process as above
• When you have established a regular complete breath rhythm bring the attention to the space between the exhalation and the next arising inhalation
• Notice where the attention goes in that space
• Allow the gap to become wider & deeper without restraining the breath in any way
• Stay with this exercise for 1-3 minutes and build up to 10-12 minutes
We breathe predominantly through one nostril for 60-90 minutes and then the sinus
rhythm changes and we breath from the other nostril for 60-90 minutes, alternating
throughout the day. Take a minute and notice which nostril is dominant right now.
Many things can interfere with the sinus rhythm; allergies; environmental factors; colds;
viruses; pregnancy, and other conditions. One way to re-establish a regular rhythm is to
practice alternate nostril breathing.
Alternate Nostril Breathing:
• Start with the complete breath as above, establish a comfortable rhythm, about 1-2 minutes
• Prepare the right hand by folding the first two fingers into the palm of the hand
• Use the right thumb to open and close the right nostril (just gently lay it on the nose to close the nostril, no pressure necessary)
• Use the right ring finger to open and close the left nostril
• Inhale completely through both nostrils
• Exhale completely through both nostrils
• Close the right nostril
• Inhale through the left (short quick powerful inhalations)
• Close the left
• Exhale through the right (long slow drawn out exhalations)
• Inhale through the right
• Close the right and
• Exhale through the left
• Repeat for 3-10 minutes
It is a good idea to check with your primary health care provider before beginning any
new exercises or practices during pregnancy. It is a good idea to work with a teacher to
ensure that you are getting maximum benefit from these ancient practices.
Focusing on the act of breathing clears the mind of all daily distractions and clears our
energy enabling us to better connect with the Spirit within. ~Author Unknown
Denise Davis-Gains, a yoga teacher since 1993 and trainer of teachers since 1997, lives
and works in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada with her three children. Denise has had the
privilege to assist in the birth story of many of her students. She trains yoga teachers
in the yoga of fertility & bringing children into to the world consciously. You can find
out more about her at www.atlasstudio.com and she can be contacted at 519.240.9642 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Yoga is one the best ways to prepare for labor, delivery and motherhood in general.
The general benefits include, but are not limited to:
Stress & Happiness – the practice of yoga reduces stress and clears the mind through stretching, breathing and meditating
Flexibility & Strength – gentle stretching in your current range of motion and challenging muscles within the current level of strength helps to maintain physical fitness and encourages blood circulation for you and baby.
Swelling, Inflammation, Immune System – flowing exercises that stimulate circulation and movement of the lymphatic system help to reduce swollen feet, ankles, hands and fingers and improves the strength of the immune system for you and baby.
Labor – Yes, yoga can help to prepare you for labor. Breathing exercises and tension
releasing practices leave more oxygen for you and baby. Learn techniques to help move the
baby down the birth canal and to manage the pain associated with childbirth.
Back Pain – Reduce or avoid back pain through regular yoga practice and improve posture and the ability to carry the growing weight of your child.
If you have specific questions about your and your pregnancy or would prefer private yoga
sessions contact Atlas Studio at 519.240.9642
This is our five step list for what you can do when getting ready for labor and delivery, which should make the entire experience more enjoyable and less stressful. 🙂
– Your birth plan, write it down
– What your partner has to do when you go into labor
– Phone list and when to call each friend and family member
4. Plan time for rest, pampering and one-on-one time with your partner
– Splurge and have a experienced yoga teacher come and guide you through deeply relaxing and preparatory postures, breathing exercises and mantras for easy labor and delivery
Diana, the daughter of Jupiter is called the goddess of childbirth because her mother bore her painlessly.
She is usually depicted with bow and arrow that her father gave her as a young girl, symbolizing female strength and power.
To invoke the protecting power of Diana – or the aspect of the divine that will protect you through labour and delivery – on a moonlit night…
“Diana please help me shine brightly like you. Assist me in releasing anxieties about the health and well-being of my child and myself. Let me fully experience this gift without fear. Take me to a higher place where I may best serve humanity as a shining example of one who listens to her inner wisdom, love and guidance. Let this experience be full of life, love and light. Thank you.”
Inspired by Doreen Virtue’s notes on Diana in her book, Archangels & Ascended Masters: A Guide to Working and Healing with Divinities and Deities.
Atlas Yoga Studio
18 Ainslie Street South, Unit B
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
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