For those who wondered upon

seeing these food posts – Yes, I did YOGA everyday.

The practice is everything.

Oh, & eating lots of carbs, I actually lost weight a little  – an unintended consequence of eating lots but driving none – living a life of no automobile, no driving for few weeks but being out all day everyday – the urban life, that’s Tokyo.

Making up a module – Yoga for Youth – Return from Japan

A long pause here – returned from Japan Friday and immediately next day, Saturday, I was attending Niroga’s advance yoga studies.  Yes, I am still on that 800 hours Yoga Therapy Certification training journey and what a journey it’s been – winding and … by choice, loooong.  My Yoga Therapist cohort size was 20-something but it’s a bit of a surprise that now the cohort size has grown to over 40 … I really hope Niroga will resume the yoga training after the current focus on bringing Dynamic Mindfulness (the practice) and Transformative Life Skills (“TLS”) curriculum to schools across America.

This module I was making up this weekend was “Yoga for Youth”. I had missed a couple of modules Year 2 of the program, as my mother collapsed, suffering a stroke last year.  I had to fly back to Japan to see her in ICU to witness her recover enough to finally leaving the hospital and then to see her through a rehabilitation sessions with several PTs.  I have a great deal of respect to physical therapists and occupational therapists to say the least as she regained most of her motor functions.  Now she has 3 PT sessions a week and nearly back to the new normal.  Thanks to early detection, attention and care, while some damage to her brain will never be restored, doctors have shared the amazing nature of human brain.  Brain can rewire to compensate for the lost dead brain cells and function – with appropriate training, given the sufficient time to heal. Yes, it’s just as we learned in Niroga’s yoga therapy module – Power of Neuroplasticity !  Never give up you guys !

What I love about Japanese culture is their respect for the elderly and with that, how their healthcare system do not give up on the seniors –  they will keep plugging away until you see improvement.  My mother had a remarkable recovery and improvement in her mobility – and thus, I am grateful to their healthcare system that spurred her progress and healing possible.

During all this family emergency, I missed two and a half modules:  (1) ironically – Yoga for Aging; (2) Yoga for Youth (this one); (3) Yoga for Addiction. Luckily, here I am.  I am back.  I get to show up  – thank goodness.

So truth be told – I had little interest in teaching yoga to youth, but this program has made me re-think to reconsider that possibility.  I am just open but what one of the presenters said was memorable:  If teaching this special population depletes you, then it’s not for you.

On first day, we had two guest speakers – a 16 year old teenager girl in regular public high school and a 18 year old teenager girl in youth detention center – calling in – to hold a Q & A on their experience with yoga.  While it was not a surprise to hear from the mouth of a 16 year old how much she hated yoga and tried to avoid having to be in class by even considering not coming to school to get out of it, she admits now in hindsight that yoga had helped her and now she loves yoga.  So the question was – when did such a breakthrough happen?  Her answer:  when I actually followed through on all instructions instead of doing them halfheartedly.  Instead of not really participating, kinda going through the motions but not really doing them to really doing them.  So once she actually tried going all out, doing all 100%, then afterwards she felt really good.  It felt GOOD.  Anyone who has tried any yoga class, we’ve all felt this.  It’s no miracle.

Question:  What was your image or your understanding of Yoga before you started it?  And what did the word Yoga mean to you before ?

Answer:  I thought yoga was something adults did to deal with stress. I was not interested. But …( ! )

I always wanted to be Buddhist ( ! ? ) so I realized that you can’t just meditate and become Buddhist – there are steps and yoga helps. ( ! )


*** what?  wanted to be Buddhist?  Why???? ***********

that is the question I should have asked – why would a 16 year old young lady with presumably mainstream American life make such a startling (to me) statement?

Especially, having just returned from Shinto/Buddhist country, I was very curious with this 16 year old’s statement.  As the weekend intensive wore on, answers to that nagging question (I should have asked her then and there), I think became more and more apparent.

Dr. Langevin’s work uncovering the key role of Connective Tissues in Preventative Medicine

(above a graduation gift from one of the faculty teachers at Niroga Institute, Tianna Meriage-Reiter, DPT, C-IAYT, WHC  Lovely message to carry with us on this journey.)

We came to find out that Fascia care is important in recovery and healing as said:

“Integrity of Fascia plane is really important.”

-Dr. Helene Langevin

But, to go further to say that the role of stretching connective tissues also plays a big part in preventing manifestation of … inflammations and even cancer cells is AMAZING! Did you ever wonder why stretching is beneficial? Why hold for longer? Why slow movements and holds actually work the muscles more?  And the fascia envelopes each muscle groups … so that stretch one part of the body reverberates to the other distant parts of the body – as with the fascia matrix, all are … connected. It is really that “ripple” effect that reboots our entire system.

I cannot go to this event held in Boston …but hope to read up on it. The findings she shares appear to be what Chinese/Eastern Medicine practitioners and Yin-sters (yin yoga practitioner) always held their faith in.  If we think of practice of certain kinds of yoga as one resembling “needle-less” acupuncture treatment, it’s something everyone can benefit from whether you suffer from chronic pain or not. It’s a discipline and a practice that will bring about holistic wellness, wholeness, yumminess … vibrancy!

Dr. Langevin has published several NIH-funded studies investigating the role of connective tissue in low back pain and now cancer lifestyle intervention.  She has also  investigated the role and the mechanisms of acupuncture, manual and movement-based therapies and their effectiveness.  She has shown that mechanical tissue stimulation during both tissue stretch and acupuncture causes dynamic cellular responses in connective tissue. She postulates the therapeutic effects of stretching on inflammation resolution by stimulating the healing mechanisms within connective tissue.

Connective Tissues manipulation by acupuncture needles vs. stretching ?  This is fascinating how Dr. Langevin via “mouse yoga” concluded from her “mouse yoga” research was that stretching decreases inflammation !  

It’s no longer just anecdotal evidence but now in the hands of medical researchers, it’s real – paving a way for the assertion that an alternative medicine such as acupuncture, yoga and mindfulness practice is medicinal and gives us more “options” aka: “alternatives” in self-care.  And that, is always empowering.  And when we are empowered, there’s hope and … more joy in finding the inner body intelligence, the wisdom, the spark; we are empowered when we find that healer residing within.