Paris Syndrome ?

Srivatsa Ramaswami is always at home, wherever he goes:) That was one of the lessons I felt more than all the vinyasa sequences this legendary teacher still teaches with precision. What he learned from studying over 30 years with Sri T Krishnamarcharya – directly, he shares. Awe-inspriring bio. and yet so so very … humble and … fearless. His expectations and intentions are so clear, there’s no room for fear. Very humble at the age of almost 80, it’s inspiring to learn from someone with such deep understanding and experience. I only have a snippet – scratched the surface only … I had to laugh when he’s noted as E-500 hrs. … I mean,it’s so silly – he’s beyond such certification. He’s studied with the master for 33 years; taught for over 20 years – Pleeaase, he’s a category of his own, way beyond. Is there something like 10,000 hours? That’s defined as mastery even though he would be so modest to decline such a title – as it’s obvious to see he’s not teaching out of ego; he’s teaching in service. There’s that same quality we can feel with BK Bose, founder of Niroga, a place I am currently a student of for the study of yoga therapy. What a blessing that teachers do really appear when you are ready:
Referring back to the video (credit to UpLift – from utube promo) I posted few times here, take the time to watch again and let the significance sink in. It’s a practice of a lifetime you can start any time … to cultivate fearlessness.

And speaking of fear, as seeing that girl with “I love Paris” T-shirt made me think of this interesting illness. It’s called the “Paris Syndrome”.

It’s defined in Wikipedia as:

Paris syndrome (French: Syndrome de Paris, Japanese: パリ症候群, Pari shōkōgun) is a transient mental disorder exhibited by some individuals when visiting or going on vacation to Paris, as a result of extreme shock derived from their discovery that Paris is not what they had expected it to be. The syndrome is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (perceptions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, or hostility from others), derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, and others, such as vomiting.[1] Similar syndromes include Jerusalem syndrome and Stendhal syndrome. The condition is commonly viewed as a severe form of culture shock. It is particularly noted among Japanese travelers.

When I first heard of this syndrome, I thought it was a joke. But look at ourselves and how we welcome our visitors and immigrants … the “foreigners”, ourselves. And again re-look at visitors, newly arrived immigrants and long-time immigrants – and even Americans who are so-many generations rooted on this land. There’s dis-ease among some and it all comes from the sense of not fully being in their own skin; not fully occupying space, not really feeling at HOME. Then in these spots you dreamed about visiting, there’s this feeling of environments and people not meeting your expectations … that could create stress as extreme as Paris Syndrome I think to many who live here. It’s a place of hope and dreams, this place … but it falls short?

It’s not a full blown out Paris Syndrome but there’s a spectrum, a range to any disorder and I feel many here live in fear, experiencing their own version of culture shock frequently. Over time, there’s that sense of being disconnected within and outside of our body and mind. We need to be connected not only within, but within the community; we need a home away from home so many gather among themselves looking for that familiarity disdainful of differences … in a way, there’s that homesick blues those on green cards and even naturalized citizens experience when there’s a disconnect at whatever level. Here. Wouldn’t it be so American, so human, if everyone was a little more welcoming, a little less fearful, and a little more invested in that sense of community. I felt that when I spent the weekend at Niroga Yoga Therapist Advance Training as we heard incredibly service-oriented presentations of cohorts who are true healers. Then we delved into the issues of chronic pain and persistent pain. Lower back pains, shoulders, knees, headaches, the neck … the list is long – and Pain is real. It’s not imagined. It’s not all in someone’s head. With a huge toolbox we have been given, ultimately, it’s about finding safety within your own home, at the same time, welcoming the homeless with shelter and warmth. To be fully connected inside and out; to be integrated and feeling whole and enough. It’s yoga. It’s home:) Swirling thoughts amidst many homecomings this Thanksgiving week.

New Moon before Harvest

is also a special time to reach for this book:
No Mud … No Lotus. Planting the seeds this New Moon week, with an intention to grow the seeds of hopes and healing with what we need most, the nourishment of – courage.
Courage to engage in self-study;
Courage to humbly accept that the divine design is the teacher, of this thing called life (Prince-ish I admit), guiding a practice to live a more fulfilling and enlightened life by showing a way from darkness to …light. Yoga Works.

Another Encore:
No commercial vested interest in this film – a film by UPLIFT, We are One. A documentary easily found on utube but highlighting here for the students of yoga, to help with intention setting for our practice – what’s your intention? And let that intention inform your practice – for many, it’s just to lose weight and look good and …feel good … nothing wrong with that – it’s a natural desire and all good – that’s a way in – a start:

I love that cute girl with “I love Paris!” t-shirt:) more on this …

Sports/Occupational Health Module

Taking lots of notes and trying out all experientially on my own body lab, calibrating the intensity and effort. You can always modify a pose …this modification works perfectly with rectangular long flat bolsters but with cylindrical ones, one should exercise caution (too high & unstable) …as I hold space, you are making space from inside out – so it’s all good whether you take the pose to the full expression of that pose OR backing off a little to explore and experiment the subtle sensations …as you stay with that breath, moment to moment.
Still on my long and winding road on my 800 hrs. certification for yoga therapy …a bit more – maybe brainy? than the 200 hrs. which was more about memorizing and teaching sequences already blueprinted – great for vinyasa flow practice for the wanna-be-forever-21 crowd – the style that packs the class – whilst Yoga Therapy is a more complex and deep, being a two year program so …feels a little like grad school only more gratifying. Finally on my last leg of this journey, having taught a protocol last month, then presented a case study this month and now… year end presentation to put together and … some makeup for the modules missed…long and winding road indeed. But so worth it. Imagine, when a student confides in very limitations, I am no longer scared or tenuous. I know what that person is going through and with empathy, still make a customized yoga practice accessible and … truly beneficial for that student’s health & fitness goals, whatever the limitations – it’s subtle & purposeful – to break through the limitations without hurting oneself. Without the frustrations over one’s body – getting out of the negative mode of – “not thin enough; not limber enough; not young enough; not strong enough …” that negative of “NOT ENOUGH” to feeling the abundance and love. You are enough in all aspects.

Anyway, just returned from my weekend in intensive learning, immersed on the topic of Yoga for Sports & Occupational Health. The teacher leading this module said upbeat, love this module ! Isn’t it less depressing than the other modules as we get to be, super positive, supportive, practical perhaps sometimes, working with and for PT or OT to give the students/patients more and more tools and options to work with sports or work-related injuries, pains and discomforts. Or just to enhance performance whilst preventing injuries that would put you out from the season. These tools can be used to enhance performance in sports or preventative medicine of weakened muscles and stiffened connective tissues that’s work-related to move beyond to reclaim our fluidity (& balance!). At any level, and with any intention one sets for the yoga practice, anyone can benefit from this kind of gentle but mindful yoga whether for prevention or for healing.

Our teacher for this module, as we had for four other modules – Endocrine System, Muscular System, Digestive System, Men & Women’s Life Cycle Health modules, was none other than, Baxter Bell, MD & YT. What’s very unique about Baxter Bell, the yogi or Dr. Bell is that he was a successful family doctor but got hooked on yoga (teachers – we all know that epiphany) so much that he decided to leave the family practice to make yoga teaching and yoga therapy along with medical acupuncture practice his full time career. He is said to have a good size students of men forming a line at his classes because he gets the men’s viewpoint and physiology; but women too, are also drawn to his wealth of knowledge, intellect and … humor. Yes, humor – plug for laughter yoga:) If he’s not making you laugh in the 20 minutes intervals as the same time he recommends office workers to set the timer for to get up and do very simple yoga movements, he’s giving you the insights as to how each pose or each breath and yoga technique benefits a practitioner in ways more than the anecdotal evidence we are given. For many – yeah, it felt good – experiential justifications is good enough BUT it’s really validating and convincing when one is given that medical or the scientific justification for that pretzel pose you are trying so hard to master or as the case may be … letting go that need to master that “advance” pose so unhealthy for the body-type and body structure at a certain time of one’s life. Opting out what does not serve you, pressing a pause button in self-care is justified with an intention to get back – to regain, restore and renew:)Seriously.

Baxter Bell in partnership with another very seasoned teacher, Nina Zolotow, has been sharing a wonderful daily blog with the yoga community for many years and finally … it’s now going to be consolidated into a book. Here’s that blog and here’s the upcoming book ! Now I know what to get my family members for Christmas ! Congratulations on publishing the much awaited book and … Thank you for the insightful weekend, Doctor ! You created an opportunity for much debate and discussions … and an opportunity to see deep within as some cohorts/students pointed out. What gives us comfort? What about discomforts? What makes us question and go deeper … even to that gut level to inquire within (Thanks to BK and our insightful cohorts with beautiful hearts who questioned our intentions:) Gratitude for this level of multi-layered learning of Self and others. Once “digested” – yes, at the gut level – and integrated into my own system through my own practice, hoping to share incrementally.