Stress Test

How do you invite your deep regenerative breath?  How do you invite that breath of Joy? How do you cultivate equanimity when there’s mixed bag of various emotions that does not serve you to make positive choices?

Recalling the lovely tea  –  a beautiful tea gathering to celebrate many things but mainly host’s partner regaining his health enough to travel to some exotic land to bring back all these delicacies …to share … sugared rose petals on the rim of tea cups; specially aromatic tea both herbal and black  … Seems like only couple of months ago, he was hospitalized fighting for his life BUT today, after the proper care, he is a picture of glowing health surrounded by loving family.  Bad things happen; good things happen; sometimes it seems like series of bad things and there’s darkness BUT … not losing faith that better days will come again.

I can think of handful of people in the 30-50 range in the last few years – all seemingly vibrant people with similar scary life changing moments of failings.  Usually dehydrated and during a run or some unsuitable workout or … striving too much with little regularity.  Just listen to your breath and notice your breath pattern. Let that inform you.

This is not to scare anyone to say one should become sedentary and never be “out of breath” or not challenge ourselves – no, quite the opposite, we need to exercise to strengthen and work up a light sweat (perspiration is a wonderful way to detox our pores and flush out our overall system – just drink alkaline water infused with electrolytes and eat mineral rich foods) on regular basis and investing the time and effort in the kind of exercise that’s wise; that’s suitable for the condition that day, that time.  Hard workout is fun; we love the endorphins released especially for those who cannot sit still.  Intensity works for some. But not for others.  Or not during certain days and times of the day …

Essential to always round out the exercise and balance with an off-set, what’s called a more “YIN”, cool down, stretches and mindfulness; to really bring down the heart rate into the state of OMMMMM.  It’s been shown scientifically that practice of Pranayama (breath awareness/control/regulation) is one powerful tool to improve cardiac function, de-fog and increase clarity, reverse negative mindset to transport us to that sparkled place of distilled consciousness, quieting the fluctuations and agitations of the mind …as yoga is defined by Patanjali in Yoga Sutras, a bible for every serious yoga student.  It affects our nervous system and our heart health, ultimately creating new neural pathways, improving our neuroplasticity.  Its’ not an anecdotal but an evidence based practice is what I came to learn.  Feel better; feel lighter. Find bliss:) For real.

Therapeutically, it is THE practice of healing the heart in a pill-less form we all have in our inner medicine cabinet  – the CALM, the BALANCE, we can cultivate with training – so there’s the interval pumping up to a spiked HR and then, settling back down, slowing down the heart rate, the pulse and … lowering the blood pressure so there’s less stagnation – both for the blood flowing through our arteries and veins as well as the fluids flowing in our lymphatic system.  To reconnect with that deliciously juicy deep state of knowing.  Also I would observe and heed and HONOR the life transitions and not live in denials – at mid-life there’s that rumored, what some seem to call “midlife crisis” – that realization that the days are numbered and one wants to relive youth by sometimes going to the extreme… I think, though, there’s another peaceful path – by pre-midlife -30/40, it’s time for better self-care: maybe there’s heart palpitations, vertigo, extreme fatigue, panic attacks from anxiety, just plain anxieties or maybe PTDS having undergone some trauma … it’s not that uncommon and we can be open about it  – some form of manifestations we are grateful to witness  … because we will take care to look into it rather than ignore:  perhaps a stress test with EKG could ascertain one’s heart health … Yet some, being in a rat race, cannot take the time out or choosing not to take time out in favor of pseudo-self-care.  We thank our body when it acts up – let’s heed those messages and consult the medical profession if not for anything but for peace of mind. It’s really a waste of time to lament how one used to be able to do this or that – putting on years is not about one loss after another but rather, one ray of hope and one gem of wisdom after another.

So yes, I practice vinyasa flow as an exercise for the most part but … gravitate to the more spiritual quieter gentler yoga practice that helps one (me:) to really tune in and listen to (my) one’s body … better. And this sets the tone for the rest of the day or evening … or give you a mid-day break to re-center so we/I can be responsive but not reactive; kind not annoyed or irritated – when we are patient with ourselves, we can be patient with others too.  Many of us are so connected outwardly and care so much about the external affairs but forget to connect with our own deep inner yearnings and desires.  In this over revved world, we need to get the internal affairs in order. There’s no need to ignore or suppress the inner needs that manifests in variety of ways.  It’s up to us to have some self-awareness; to allow the stream of consciousness to be really that – streams that flow and flourish.  Not to live in fear but to live consciously this NOW.

I don’t have any answers but as a student of Yoga Therapy, I do recall my Heart Health Module in my Yoga Therapy training … Key ideas I can share through yoga are on:

Heart Rate Variability – HRV relates to ANS – our nervous system – NS Balance

Rest – Exercise Balance: Yin/Yang Balance relates to the above … Moderate exercise, stretching and restoration … remember, Yang exercise mostly to strengthen – muscles strengthen with dynamic repetitive motions; fascia/connective tissues and joints heal and rejuvenate with longer gentle but increasing deeper stretch and holds. 

Stress Management: is critical to keep those healthy vital signs in check, including ideal weight gain/loss and maintenance.  



Subbed a rather cozy class – My mind wondered as I had sacrificed something else dear to me to cover for a teammate  – Is it a cozy class regularly to begin with or do students stay away when they hear “sub” to misunderstand that a class led by a sub is somehow less in quality?  If that’s the case, you might be wrong.  Granted, when I go all the way out to the City for a certain teacher’s class and if that all the sudden became a sub’s class, I may want to make a u-turn and just not attend.  When I travel a distance to fight traffic and worry about parking to get to a class, I am going because of that teacher … to me, a yoga class is not all the same and replaceable – it really matters and depends on who teaches it. For me, it’s to really learn. Or to be inspired.

But – sometimes, I am wrong.  Sometimes, as my friend mentioned – he really likes a class covered by a sub for exposure to a new refreshing methods and teaching style.  I too actually prefer that the sub not copy or mimic the regular teacher – that’s so boring. Besides, it’s better to be that authentic self to bring what’s uniquely your own from your own journey of learning and attaining.  Be a breath of fresh air and be totally different while sticking to the menu/style set forth – that would be ideal but perhaps that’s because I am attending a class not for a routine practice which I have at home but for something that I cannot get from my own routine practice.  That might be a different intention than from a student who is there for that “routine” practice not for any inspirations.

To be honest, sometimes, the sub may be more experienced with way more training and skills under her/his belt, just covering as a favor so … don’t miss your rare opportunity colored by prejudice unfounded on truth.  Check who the sub is, his/her credentials, experience level and … go for it… try the class and see.   Obviously, if the sub turns out to be a trainee or someone very green, or someone who does not put out with care anything deemed not “owned” by her/him, then, maybe your prejudice is well founded so save the trip and wait for the return of the regular teacher. Yet, sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised by a very capable sub.

Anyway … it’s a waste of my precious time to just be that routine to “babysit” a class if students are too inflexible, rigid and fixated on a routine of sameness – yawn – but if they are open to new perspectives, a shift, a petit-transformation, then, it’s well worth my time to cover.

A student – a young lady with not a flaw to her body-line who had rushed in harried – when leaving said :  with a smile and evident relief, “I had such a stressful day today.  This was just what I needed.  Thank you.”  Those words made it all worthwhile.  It’s about getting out of our own way and … showing up.


Trying to translate some TED talks – fascinating but draining at the same time – is this a brain exercise for brain fitness?  This work is going to exhaust my brain power besides all this sitting and driving so … need some yoga therapy for regeneration.  Some has asked what is Yoga Therapy – well, all yoga is that even though Yoga Alliance no longer allows the use of that very word because it sounds too medical – so there’s IAYT and these are some titles that may help you see what it’s about:

Yoga for Scoliosis – Have completed Part 1 but … there’s Part 2 … it’s a lot. Elise Browning Miller is wealth of knowledge and a masterful teacher.

Yoga for Back Health – for regular you and me – you can be very fit and still have this issue caused by any number of reasons.

Yoga for Heart Health – HRV

Yoga for Immunity Boost

Yoga for Digestion

Yoga for Athletes – and this can further go into such things as Yoga for Cyclists; Yoga for Rowers; Yoga for golfers; Yoga for – name of sport 🙂

Yoga for Recovery – 12 Steps-like

Yoga for Depression & Anxiety

Yoga for Emotional Balance – Bo Forbes, PhD/YT

Yoga for Grief Relief

Yoga for Veterans – My therapist cohort specializes in this – Perry !

Yoga for Cancer Care & Caretakers

Yoga for Osteoporosis (Prevention/Management) – my mother could not drink milk and eat dairy or just pop calcium with vitamin D – so other methods besides calcium rich diet …any weight bearing exercise helps BUT yoga is great for its mindfulness component.

and my favorite might be

  • Yoga for Women’s Health – through all cycles:)
  • Yoga for Stress Management – Melatonin for Insomnia? Why? There’s no need.
  • Yoga for Weight Control – To reduce, to regain or to manage – for that balanced approach

So if one wonders why it’s taking so long for me to get certified in this particular field, it might be that there’s so much, this is why. There’s so so so much to learn… The journey has taken 2 years so far … & to that reinforcement idea – one should always consult MD’s or PT’s, CD’s after yoga’s body awareness brings one to that place.

Above photos:  Text book by Elise Miller – you can get on Amazon like everything else – very helpful; photo of one of Niroga teachers, Saraswathi Devi showing an assist – which could in turn cause back problems for the yoga teacher/therapists … so the right way as to care for others means we know self-care first-hand. Saraswathi is another one of those teachers who epitomizes graceful and purposeful aging – with the most beautiful resonant voice. A much needed sense of humor to boot.