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

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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!

Summer Sweets

If you are asked about summer sweets, in the US, it’s ice cream, sherbet and icee shaved ice …popsicles comes to mind. But in Japan? What about in Japan? All the above and the traditional sweets that are low in calories and high in refined flavors and cool textures (chewy, slippery, icy, juicy …refreshing!)

When super hot and humid, what do the Japanese in me crave?sweets

Or on the top of the list would be this !

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The top is “Kuzukiri”, a cool refreshing dessert made of kuzu-jello cut into pasta-like stips floating on ice, you dip into brown sugar syrup. Slurp the icy cold jello pasta … cooling the entire over-heated system. Perfect when hot and muggy …I have not had this for years but dream of it whenever hot.

The second is “Kakigouri”, a shaved ice mountain with green tea/matcha syrup. Granished with Shiratama-a mini mochi-like balls and inside is a red-bean paste filling. Ahhhh, to die for …The shaved ice is fluffy and soft like first fresh coat of snow of the ski season … yes, still soft like spring gardening soil, not hardened by an icey surface.

Having said all this – did I actually have them in Japan ?
No, I missed out. Too busy caring for other’s welfare. It’s okay. There’s another time as …
I will be back. I will be back hopefully for a good reason – like to celebrate the restored health of a loved one.

Isn’t this pretty?

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Healing thoughts going to those weakened by heat and humidity.
Self-care can come in a form of low calorie cooling sweet treats that give you a little energy boost.
When feeling a bit wilted and beaten, it’s these small delights that can turn around a bad day into a day filled with gratitude. You’ve got to treat yourself.

Gelato?
Lemonade?

Just Iced Tea? It’s all good. We all need a little lift.
Recharged – ready to tackle the day!

Mame Shiba Inu in Tokyo


On the topic of stress management as I commute to St Luke’s International Hospital. My aunt died at the hospice here but there’s nothing depressing about this place. There’s are babies being delivered in there obstetrics ward while at oncology department beds are readied for chemotherapy and radiation.  

We make our way to their chapel with beautiful stained glass windows. Sometimes we can only:

  • Pray 
  • Find a meditation practice
  • Some call it Mindfulness practice
  • To me, above are all YOGA made accessible to all people. 
  • Find a puppy to care 
  • In my case a mame= bean mini size Shiba inu puppy. 
  • Shiba sounds like Shiva, our higher consciousness … with Shakti, the energy, a transformative power is unleashed where there’s bliss and wisdom. 

There’s many ways people cope with stress.  Yoga works to keep you healthy and happy in spite of it all.  Namaste:)