Friday, November 25, 2011

Yoga classes end for Fall quarter

Hi there,
Yoga classes are ending next week for Fall quarter.  I have given students the opportunity to post on my blog any reflections over the quarter about learning about yoga.  It has been a great fall and I am very grateful to my students for practicing yoga with me and giving me the opportunity to share my practice of teaching yoga.  Have a great break everyone....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

interesting study done on yoga as an intervention for depression

A Yoga Intervention for Young Adults with Elevated Symptoms of Depression

By Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine 0 Comments
Posted in Articles, Depression
Context: Yoga teachers and students often report that yoga has an uplifting effect on their moods, but scientific research on yoga and depression is limited.
Objective: To examine the effects of a short-term Iyengar yoga course on mood in mildly depressed young adults.
Design: Young adults pre-screened for mild levels of depression were randomly assigned to a yoga course or wait-list control group.
Setting: College campus recreation center.
Participants: Twenty-eight volunteers ages 18 to 29. At intake, all participants were experiencing mild levels of depression, but had received no current psychiatric diagnoses or treatments. None had significant yoga experience.
Intervention: Subjects in the yoga group attended two 1–hour Iyengar yoga classes each week for 5 consecutive weeks. The classes emphasized yoga postures thought to alleviate depression, particularly back bends, standing poses, and inversions.
Main Outcome Measures: Beck Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Profile of Mood States, morning cortisol levels.
Results: Subjects who participated in the yoga course demonstrated significant decreases in self-reported symptoms of depression and trait anxiety. These effects emerged by the middle of the yoga course and were maintained by the end. Changes also were observed in acute mood, with subjects reporting decreased levels of negative mood and fatigue following yoga classes. Finally, there was a trend for higher morning cortisol levels in the yoga group by the end of the yoga course, compared to controls. These findings provide suggestive evidence of the utility of yoga asanas in improving mood and support the need for future studies with larger samples and more complex study designs to more fully evaluate the effects of yoga on mood disturbances.
To download the full article, originally published in Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, click here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer yoga classes

Summer yoga classes are coming to an end this week.  I have given students the opportunity to reflect back over the session and share some of their experience of the process of yoga in their bodies and minds on this blog if they wish.  I would like to thank all of the students who joined me in creating yoga this quarter. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Classes end next week for Spring Yoga

Classes end this week for spring quarter for my yoga students at CWU.  I have given students the opportunity to share on my blog about any benefits or insights they have received during the quarter of yoga, and how yoga benefited their body/min,etc. 

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share yoga with college students at the University.   I first started doing yoga when I was a college student at CWU, I was also a mother of a 3 year old boy, who is now!  Anyway, it helped me clear my mind and relax deeply so that I could keep my focus on being a Mom and student.   Now, I get to give back the gift that was given to me so freely:)

Thanks again everyone for practicing yoga with me.....
Have a great summer:)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The heart never lies

Lately I have been interested in yoga postures, stretches, etc.  that help with opening the heart. 
In thinking of the shoulders in particular, I encourage my students to stretch the front of the heart as well as the back of the heart.  In the back of the heart is where we hide all of the feelings that we don't have time for, or that we don't want people to see...grief, sadness,anger,etc. 

I encourage students of yoga to breath into; open;  and melt away anything keeping a heart heavy.  Many times we round our shoulders to protect the heart, because there seems to be so much that is painful to see....It's hard to breath deep that way:)
However, the heart can take it all....and... once we begin to move the breath into the heart, it is like we are opening up a well that clears and flushes out any stagnancy and allows the heart to be, we can see all the miracles and beauty as well as the pain...
After all, isn't it our birth right to be happy, joyous, and free?  In order to feel that sense of freedom and love means sometimes moving into the mud, and letting ourselves be afraid...alone...and alive in this world. 

One of the most powerful yoga postures you can do for yourself is to place your hand on your heart at night and say to yourself  gently, "I am here for me"....because the heart never lies.

Love and light on your sacred and blessed journey.......:)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Time for me to fly

I am currently up in the air flying to the city of angels, Los Angeles,, the city of angels:)  Just taking a moment to be grateful for this ability to be online while in the air, it truly is amazing this gift of the internet.    I am also reminded of how small I am...just a person in this craft, looking down at the state of Oregon.    The balance,  the beauty of being able to be part of experience. 

Some of the yoga poses remind me of flying...this ability to stand on one leg and allow myself  to move into the present moment.  Recently I was in Spokane listening to Sting's yoga teacher Ganga White and he spoke about how even when we stand it requires balance, and balance is not something to be mastered, but more to be explored.  Just staying open to it, remaining curious with whatever shape you are in....
Balance is a gift...a teacher...another opportunity to learn how to let go and fly.

"Now I make you laugh, and you make me cry...I believe it's time for me to fly.."  Reo Speedwagon

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yoga classes end for the Winter this week.

Even though it snowed again today, yoga classes end for the winter.  I am so grateful to all the wonderful students who showed up and practiced yoga with me.  I have given students the option to post on my blog about what stood out for them in their bodies, minds, and energy through the winter in yoga practice.  My yoga students have been a bright spot during this dark and cold winter...

Thanks for making it a great winter!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Death becomes her....

Living in a culture of narcissism to successful, be attractive, be healthy..hmmm... to deny death?   People 100 yrs ago surely did not live as long as they do now, and even though we have made progress with technology and science,  yet we still are powerless over death.  In Buddhism, one of the ideas is that it prepares the mind for death.  Every day is just a practice of keeping thoughts in the present..because that is all that is going on anyway.   Thich Nhat Hhan, (sorry I may not have the correct spelling here) said that it takes all the conditions to be present to light a match.  You need the wood, the stuff on the wood, the stuff to scrape the stuff on the wood to make the light...the air..the stuff in the all has to be just right for there to be a flame. 

I am thinking when it is our time to die, all the conditions have to be present for us to go.  And, that is the great deny it, I'm not sure it is helpful, but to live in the awareness of death is no party either.

A friend of mine passed away earlier today.  Someone found him at his home in the country where he was living a pretty ordinary life.   He decided to live a clean lifestyle about a decade or so ago...and he most of the time went out of his way to help people.  Someone said to me recently, "when it is your time, it is your time".  Right now, that seems to make sense to me.  When all the conditions are present then the mystery happens. 
Jai Bhagwan...(I honor the truth that resides in all of us)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

sit that's it

I am always amazed at the complexity of meditation.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying people who make it complex are wrong, but people are pretty much just sitting.  Isn't that what we are talking about?  The majority of the activity happening in meditation is just that, "sitting".  

Now, there is this idea that if a person learns to sit with his or her self and be present with the breath, sensations in the body, etc....then that sense of presence can be carried out into daily life.  Which is a great goal for many of folks who don't multi-task or work at a stressful job, or live in a super stressful environment.  So, what my meditation teacher told me the goal is....well, to not have a goal.  Watch your thoughts if you must, but let them pass through and treat them all the same.   If you have some profound and peaceful experience...she said..."SO WHAT".  The profound and peaceful experience is a side effect of sittting.     If you need to cry, scream, shake, rattle or crow while sitting..."SO WHAT"...don't get up for 20 minutes and try not to move too much.  You will get through it, you are alone...and it is okay to say to one's self..."There, is going to be all right"....
Cuz' it's true...everything is going to be all right.  Just sit:)

Friday, January 21, 2011

being Present in Mountain pose

Life gives us many opportunities to be present....for example:  being born, learning to walk, learning how to ride a bike, dancing, singing, making music, making love,  giving birth...and the ultimate act of presence, dying.  

All the thoughts of the future and past are just the future and past.  I heard someone say once that if you have one foot in the past and one in the present you are pissing on today.  So...bringing both feet into the present..just for today, right here, right now, in this very presence.

In the practice of yoga, keeping both feet on the ground and standing in the very first posture of Tadasana-Mountain, that is the gift of being able to stand.  Such a simple thing,  Ah, but how lucky those of us who can stand, not everyone is able to stand....