In Berkeley 

Yoga and Addiction is such a grim dark subject (NOT!), I had to counter it by upping my happiness quotient through good deeds – meaningful actions.  Got the above  for a teen who accompanied me to assist an Adaptive Yoga class at UC Berkeley Friday. 

So a little reward for spending 2+ hours on campus just observing yoga teachers aiding an Adaptive Yoga class.  To assist one must be min 18 years old so – unfortunately he could not help. I worked with 30-something young lady and her caretaker – This thirty-something, why don’t we call her “Anna” is normally wheelchair bound and has a conputer monitor to convey her words as Anna cannot speak. Yet she squeals  in joy when some movement or touch feels good to her – I learned a lot from Anna.Thank you Anna for allowing me to figure things out about our body and mind; what’s normal, what’s the new normal … what is it like to not have freedom and control over one’s motor functions. 

After the class – went to North Berkeley and stumbled into a French bakery. Treated this well-meaning teen to a Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cake – ahhh could not resist taking a little bite – ouuuuu – so sweet. Anyone addicted to sugar? That’s an addiction – food addiction, alcohol addiction, screen-addiction, hedonistic addictions, prescription drugs addictions … there are many kinds of addictions us weak mortals exhibit destructive behaviors with – why is that? How would a yoga practice help ? It’s an interesting module full of surprises. How does a mindfulness practice inherent in a yoga practice help heal?

*** Next months’s module is “Adaptive Yoga” and here we are, doing our homework before that actual intensive …

When Cal students come back, then these yoga students are in for a real treat as there will be such high ratio of assistants. Yeah hooray they get to get out of that wheelchair and move their limbs! You will be lifted out of immobility !!! 

Experience that freedom to feel alive ! That we all take for granted. 

Thank you for a valuable experience. 

Photos, videos?

To come, to come:)

Returned to teaching, assisting and taking few classes -and to my Yoga Therapist Teacher Training with Niroga – it’s lovely to see the regulars and some new faces. Thank goodness, so fortunate to accumulate so much in my toolbox to serve me when I’m feeling out of balance, I am here to share! Here are some of the things that I find yoga to serve ME quite well with … let me count the ways and teach by living it:

– jet lag (battled it? No befriend the body’s internal clock – resist sleep, why? get up 3am? why not?)
– sleep issues, insomnia (Here comes the Sun, the morning sun … and the mooon, ahhh, the moon – sun and the moon practices – love ’cause it … works)
– fatigue (REST then get moving you all)
– weight loss/gain (my weight has bottomed to 118lb and then up to 135lbs, all in the last 3 years – stop the yo-yo)
– anxieties (gone!)
– headaches (gone)
– heat stroke (it’s not only about hydration, it’s about the pores you guys – our pores, our entire skin, the organ, needs to breathe:)
– digestive issues (gone)
– hypertension (gone)
– injury recovery (yes, it’s that:)
– resiliency in stress management (on-going:)

All the while, in heaps I’ve gained in flexibility, strength, and mindfulness – living with gratitude in joy, yet at all times aware of grief, loss and struggles we all face. And overcome:)
We are divine and made to find the homeostasis when we live in clear, full awareness. Namaste:)

Yoga Therapy that matters:)

Between the stimulus and the response there is a space, and in this space lies our power and freedom.
– Viktor Frankl


The above is the prescription for general well-bing and that I was reminded of after having to fly to Japan to be with my aging mom who suffered a stroke and got carried into the hospital only to be admitted straight into ICU – internal bleeding in the head requires urgent care, yes. Every second counts as more bleeding, more brain cells and neuropathways in trouble. SO between travels and work and family and illness in that family, there’s no time to go to yoga classes (thank god I’m trained as an instructor and a therapist to take care of myself at times of dire straits:) but everywhere you go, the yoga studio for your practice is within. It’s right there within you – you can do yoga just about anywhere. ANYWHERE.

One of the things I notice as I observed and assisted with my mother’s recovery is how important Rehabilitation or Physical Training is. Having come across Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and a Language Specialist at St. Luke’s International Hospital, I could not have been more thankful that my mother received the best in post-stroke care. You have to start moving as soon as you are able – so as soon as her bleeding stopped with IV-meds transfusion, she was directed to start her physical therapy with these amazing compassionate professionals. Keenly aware through the slow simple movements – Move those muscles or you lose them. Really vital before strengthening those muscle groups is the iron rule – YOU’VE GOT TO STRETCH. Banish stiffness, bring the circulation into all the tightness – Tightness in the body; stiffness in your ligaments are intrinsically related to restrictive breathing that ultimately affects your mental clarity such as cognition and reasoning. Knowing that body and mind are intrisically connected, when the body is constricted and tight, so is your breath; when your body is soothed and relaxed, so is your mind, ultimately affecting your psyche … your quality of life.

Upon returning, I thought I never make it back to my Yoga Therapist Training Intensive – so beaten by a bad case of jet lag – this month’s module themed “Yoga & Addiction”. Beyond all the notes, the above quote shared by our teacher strikes a chord in me. Whether you have an addiction issues or not, or if you have a friend or a family member with such challenge, enlisting outside support of a well trained therapist could make a difference between recovery or demise. Recovery and healing is possible through yogic training for the mind & body. It takes practice for all to access this power referred to above – there’s so much benefit to practice of yoga for the external physical aspects as well as for overcoming and befriending the internal struggles we all confront whether it be innocent addictions or destructive addictions. First we start with a little commitment to practice each day and it becomes a habit and the kind of habit that gently nudges the behaviors in such a way to stimulate new grey matter growth, benefits, i.e., neuroplasticity – all attained through the mindful practice of yoga.

Give it a try! It’s lifelong:) I love it.

Photo of “Healing Yoga for Wellness” by Lorien Neargarder, RYT 500
Nothing beats a direct and real contact with her but … sometimes we aren’t so lucky.
She will be missed in California – all the reason to get this DVD!