Wishing you and yours peace, love, and joy and all the magic of the season!
2. YOGAVIBES is a subscription online yoga service that also offers more than 400 free videos that focus on specific poses, pranayama, and meditation practices.
3. YOGA JOURNAL Looking for a way to build a daily yoga habit? Find it here with the Yoga Journal 21-day Yoga Challenge. Sign up and starting January 9th, you’ll receive a daily video, weekly meditation practices and daily newsletters.
It was a Monday in August after I returned from vacation when I began experiencing pain from a pinched nerve in the C8-T1 area of my spine. At first it simply felt like I had an overworked or tight muscle behind the shoulder-blade. Then came an ache in my triceps and forearm. Within a couple of weeks, I was in near constant pain that at times was unbearable. Working at a computer and driving a car aggravated the symptoms. It hurt to lay down. I couldn’t sleep. I was a mess.
I began work with an amazing physical therapist, Dr. Glynn Hunt, who I knew could help me but the first couple of weeks was a confusing time. I was pain-free while I did yoga and weight trained. But the pain resumed as soon as I stopped. Once I realized that the pain often escalated the morning following these workouts, I decided it was time to stop everything that might be interfering with the healing and just focus on my therapy.
Fast forward to today, and thanks to Glynn I am gradually recovering and have been free of pain and numbness for a week. I’m feeling strong enough to get back to this blog and realize that I have some lessons to share about what I’ve learned during this time.
Being a yoga instructor, I felt like I should have been immune to a neck/back injury – isn’t yoga supposed to help create a healthy back? Had I fallen into a trap of believing that yoga is the ‘be-all-end-all” for backs? Yeah I think I had – and that was my mistake. While yoga does offer tremendous benefits to the spine and can offer therapeutic support in recovering from an injury, it was simply foolish to think that it can make someone totally immune to injury. In fact there were a number of things that contributed to my back injury:
As we commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, there is much being said about the worst attack ever made on American soil and its lasting impact on our country. I can still recall the feeling of terror as the events unfolded on that day and I know that it changed me profoundly.
In the decade before 9/11, my life seemed at a standstill. Despite wanting to do a great many things, I ultimately found myself in a constant state of inaction because I worried and wondered and waited for when conditions were perfect. I was wasting time and not really living.
Watching the events unfold that day, forced us all to remember just how vulnerable we are, and that life is extremely precious. It was a huge wake up call for me. Instead of descending deeper into my ongoing state of worry, I became mobilized to take action. Witnessing the tragedy of 9/11 forced me to start living in the present moment. I began to move toward my dreams, instead of over-analyzing and waiting for just the right ‘whatever’ to come along. Within the year we bought the old farm-house we dreamed of owning, I went to work at the radio station I longed to be part of soon after, and within another year we were an approved foster-care home and on our way to building our unique family. In the years since, I adopted three children, became a yoga instructor, and volunteered for causes to make a difference for others.
Today is about remembering the people whose lives were lost that tragic day. While I didn’t know any one of them personally, the horrifying circumstances of their deaths forever changed me and, dare I say, my life is richer for it. Perhaps a life lost is never in vain when it can touch another in a positive and meaningful way. I certainly believe that to be true.
I’ll be teaching two Sunday “all level” classes at Yogasphere in Newtown this month!
Perfect for beginners and experienced students alike, this class focuses on a range of basic postures that will help to increase strength, agility and focus. This flowing class includes modifications to meet the needs of students of all levels.
Class fee is just $5 and proceeds benefit charity.
Complete August schedule is here.
“Noodle, don’t noodle…” Wiser words were never spoken on the big screen… okay, maybe those words weren’t the wisest ones, but certainly this clip carries an important lesson we all need to be reminded of whenever we find ourselves wondering and worrying.
One of my new students surprised me when she commented on the power of setting an intention in class the day before. It struck me how well she had grasped this part of the practice, and how quickly. What she learned in just a few classes has literally taken me years to fully understand.
I recall countless times being sent into an internal tailspin when the instructor would suggest ‘setting an intention’ at the start of class. My mind would run off in a mission to get it right. In the five seconds given for this task, a stream of possibilities would fill my head and I’d inevitably judge each one unworthy.
Then came the day when I arrived at class after having given much thought to how important it was that I be fully present in that particular practice. I had unknowingly set an intention: mindfulness. The result was profound. The physical practice was not only challenging, it felt surprisingly new. I connected deeply to the class theme of ‘letting go’ and understood first hand what I’d been taught about how the body stores emotions. While doing hip openers, thoughts of a relationship I have long known I needed to release immediately came to mind. I purposefully remained open to those thoughts and began to feel a sense of peace. Having an intention that day made my experience on the mat more deeply rewarding.
I recently read that “intention” is what separates yoga from ordinary exercise. Yoga is about connection between the mind and the body – working with an intention cultivates that connection.
Suggestions for setting an intention: