yoga for health, illness and grades

I am a teaching assistant (TA) for a 3rd year Human Kinetics course called “exercise prescription”. Keith (my co-pilot) and I run the lab sessions, which typically involve us getting paid to exercise with the students (how sweet, right?). This week was especially great since the students came to do some yoga with me! The idea behind these labs are to expose students to different types of training, since most of them will go one to become Certified Personal Trainers (CPT) and Certified Exercise Physiologists (CEP).

 

Less than half of the students have tried yoga; though I should tell you, attendance was mandatory and grades depended on them coming to my yoga class. However, I am deeply honored at how open these students were to the practice. Whatever reservations/judgements they had about yoga seemed to melt away the moment they hit their mats and began to deepen their breath. I am in awe of even the tiniest of transformations that occurred in the room, which was evident by a relaxed jaw here, an unfurled brow there, a deeper calmer breath, and the ability to let the mat support even 5% more of their body-weight.

 

photo credit: Moksha Yoga Kelowna

I think the incorporation of yoga into more CPT (and comparable) programs is another step in the right direction… not only to improve physical health of the collective, but also to enable more compassionate and conscious beings. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about yoga therapy. It seems to me an underutilized therapeutic intervention, and I would love to learn more about this area and draw more attention to its benefits. Dr. Robin Munro is the Founder and Director of the Yoga Biomedical Trust and the Yoga Therapy Center in London. He has been practicing yoga for 40 years and is currently involved with yoga therapy research, clinical work and training yoga therapists.

Dr. Robin Munro, PhD

 

“Yoga therapy cultivates mind/body integration and a sense of harmony with life. It promotes the innate healing resources of the body, helping restore the proper functioning of the various bodily systems” Yoga BioMedical Trust, UK

 

If you share any interest in this, please read his paper on Yoga Therapy (Munro, 1997) here -> yoga therapy (munro, 1997).

 

I’d like to express gratitude to Moksha Yoga Kelowna for allowing us to use their beautiful new space this week (check them out! http://www.mokshayogakelowna.com) and to the HK students for coming to class with an open mind and a willingness to play on the mat!

much love.

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standing a little stronger & a little softer

It’s like I’ve fallen out of bed from a long and vivid dream
Finally I’m free of all the weight I’ve been carrying

Wake me up

 

happy monday!

 

things are changing and new layers are unravelling. another amazing weekend has come to a close, along with it came a new soundtrack to spring (quote above).

soundtrack for spring

 

 

I did an amazing workshop with Jay Fields called “being and becoming”. I spent the majority of this weekend learning how the practice of yoga supports how I live in the world, specifically how I stand and how my feet make contact with the earth.

Jay Fields

the first day of the workshop centered around the psoas muscle. ultimately, by stretching and strengthening this huge intrinsic muscle (which starts behind the ribs and wraps under our abdomen to end at to top of our femur bone) we can stand more solidly. but also, stretching this muscle enables us to soften a bit too! i love the duality in this, stronger yet softer; following your heart, instead of leading with will…

i really like the idea of relaxing and coming into alignment; just being alive in the moment instead of charging through the world with force (willfully).

the second day focused on how we meet the earth, specifically the muscles of the lower leg and feet. by strengthening and lengthening (a weak muscle is a tight muscle), yoga helps us grow our capacity to really feel. i hope she comes back to kelowna and highly recommend that you check out her website: http://www.revelationaryliving.com

 

 

in between “the psoas” and “the feet” was a lovely dinner with some lovely ladies. there’s nothing like good friends, food, and wine to help you be more alive in the moment!   much love.

good friends, lets eat!

shine your light

so, what is dharma, or “righteous duty”? in other words, what is my life’s work? I have been thinking a lot about the idea of “dig one hole and dig it deep” (my deepest gratitude to harshad & trinity yoga centre). to me that means focus your energy on your passion.

i had a lovely dinner (at summerhill organic winery, ah life in the okanagan!) with some lovely ladies last night.

view of lake okanagan from summerhill organic winery

We got to talking, over some delicious vino, about traveling (do you choose ONE destination to immerse yourself in, or dip your toes and move on?) and future work (deepen your current training? or start a new?). To me, it all came back to choosing one path and fully committing yourself.

for example, my buddy levon is an expert sleeper. his dharma (well, what i guess it to be) is to find the most comfortable spot in the room and snuggle in. that’s his passion and where he focuses his energy… as you can see, he’s good at it!.

levon doing what he does best, sleeping.

 

Even with the constant reminders to slow down, I am a multitasker. I want to do research, write papers, do yoga, teach yoga, travel, take interesting photos, be a drummer/xylophonist/egg-shaker, lover, partner, friend, listener… and all at the same time! Now, my focus is on choosing the most important task (whatever that may be in the moment) and doing that well. With respect to my life’s work, my dharma lies somewhere with Parkinson’s disease and yoga (see the amazing book below). I don’t know much more than that, but it’s enough to keep my focus on “digging deeper” to finish my PhD.

my perfect resource!

 

This leads me to this great website, ted.com. People with great ideas have 20 minutes to give the talk of their life! these speakers impart wisdom and their passion really shines through. Your dharma should be what makes you shine… this got me thinking, what would my TED talk be? … what would yours?

(my dear friend Kat introduced me to TED with this inspiring video, i’ll leave you with that)

much love.

intentions

Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.

So, it all start’s here. My intentions for this site revolve around connection; connecting to community, friends, colleagues, yogis, researchers, people living with Parkinson’s disease, or others.

I hope to engage, inspire, and inform.

My intention is to convey information and create links… I’m going to trust the process and see how it all unfolds.

For now, a song. Is is about oppression? emotional connection? the sound of a guitar echoing against bathroom tiles? Nah, just a great tune, so enjoy! xx