Centering in the Middle of Chaos – How Yoga Kept Me Sane

Centering in the Middle of Chaos – How Yoga Kept Me Sane

A client recently shared a story with me about her use of centering in the middle of chaos. She was undergoing a rather intricate surgery to her left eye. I had asked her if she was nervous at all, given my own fear of having anything resembling a blade placed near eyes. She indicated that she arrived at the facility that morning, only slightly concerned. She was placed in an individual treatment room prior to the surgery, and instructed to relax. She shared with me that she immediately began to draw inward, to find her center. Using breathing practices she had learned in  our yoga classes and a mudra to create clear focus, she began to put her mind at ease. After all, this would be a simple procedure, it was safe.

Shortly after this, two attendants walked into her room. She remained in a total state of stillness, breathing and centering when one of the attendants began to complain to the other, that one of the pre-exam tools was broken. The other then stated that he could not open the cabinet door, “it must be stuck, it’s not working.” As these two fumbled in her presence, her mind went from centering to chaos – “what else isn’t working in this place,” she wondered to herself. The two attendants continued on with their dialogue and she took a deep breath, and brought herself back to center…..breathe, follow the inhale, follow the exhale. She started to repeat a mantra in her mind to keep herself centered. Shortly thereafter, she was wheeled into the operating room, concerned. And, moments later she was completely out.

Her surgery went well and I found her story so profound. When engaged in centering we have to be aware that distractions will try and pull us out. Some may be as insignificant as another thought we are having and some so startling to move us away from center altogether. Only through practice do we learn to stay in the present moment, focused on our intention. I was very impressed by her will. Staying centered is hard enough, but it’s quite another story to stay centered in the middle of chaos.

NamasteWorks offers two distinct wellness approaches focused on supporting you on your journey to optimal wellness and living a healthier lifestyle.  We invite you to explore us in depth and learn how we have been helping support wellness since 2006.  We offer, yoga therapy and yoga teacher training in the Heart of Highlands Ranch and Douglas county,

What’s so special about that?

What’s so special about that?

One day, a religious leader came to the Buddha and asked, “When one follows your Way, what does one do in daily life?”  The Buddha replied, “One walks, stands, sits, lies down, eats, and drinks.”  The man asked, “What is so special about that?”  And the Buddha answered, “An ordinary person, though walking, standing, lying down, eating, or drinking, does not know that he is walking, standing, lying down, eating or drinking.  When a practitioner of the Way walks, he knows that he is walking.  When he stands, he knows that he is standing.”  – Sulak Sivaraksa

This is mindfulness – so simple, yet so difficult.  For some mindfulness is a way of life, for others a lost art.  How many of us can classify ourselves as ordinary?  We go through life with little or no consciousness as to each moment that we are gifted.  We have become so disconnected from our inner world, that we live in the outer world with the same awareness. We end most of our days reminding ourselves of our accomplishments and planning for our tomorrow, but to what degree were we truly present to any experience?

When working with clients, privately or in groups, they are asked to leave the past behind, forget the future exists, and explore the present.  To what extent can they take their awareness to the now. They are asked to explore their body, just as it is, to notice the nuances of the breath and how the breath and body co-exist.  Taken even deeper, we explore the mind-body by witnessing, not judging or editing or altering.  We simply bring ourselves into full awareness and learn to reprogram ourselves to be mindful if, only for just this moment.  Mindfulness is not another goal to achieve, rather it is a state of being truly alive.   And when we are alive, mindfulness invokes an awareness that everything is special, every step, every breath, and every moment.  After all, who among us desires to be ordinary?

If you are looking to explore mindfulness as a method to reduce anxiety or just be connected to the present moment, contact us for a private session or to join one of our outdoor or indoor programs.

by Nancy Levenson, Founder and Yoga Therapist at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC.

 

Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship – Spring 2017

Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship – Spring 2017

Have you been contemplating how you might take your yoga off your personal mat and into the world? Ever wondered what it’s like to guide and inspire students on the yoga path but just didn’t have the funds to take the training? Well wonder no more…This week Yoga Alliance announced it’s Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship program for 2017.

The Yoga Alliance® Foundation is giving away 7 Aspiring Yoga Teacher scholarships of $2,000 each. Awards will be given to those who want to attend a yoga teacher training to become an RYT® 200 and meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

Scholarship recipients must enroll in and complete a teacher training program at an RYS® 200 and register as an RYT 200 within 12 months of being notified of their award. Scholarship funds will be paid in USD by Yoga Alliance Foundation directly to the RYS 200 once the recipient completes training and registers with Yoga Alliance as an RYT 200. Awards cannot be used to pay for training that has already started or has been completed.

Yoga Alliance Foundation strongly encourages candidates to apply who have a strong personal practice, are leaders in their community, and add to the diversity of the yoga teacher community. This includes those who have overcome socioeconomic or other personal obstacles, or who otherwise bring a diverse perspective or background.

To find out more and apply for the scholarship program, just click here.

Our Integrative Yoga Therapy (IYT) 200-HR program has been a standard of excellence in guiding individuals on a personal path or a teaching path. Our school offers the initial training right here in Colorado and if you decide to explore further training, our program extends to a 300 HR and 800 HR program, leading up to your Yoga Therapist Certification. Consider the path of leading others into the beautiful dharma of yoga. Click here to learn more about our program.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is a Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance. Nancy Levenson is the Program Director of the local-based program.

Awaken Your Wild & Magical Self – A Women’s Camping Retreat – Aug. 4-6, 2017 – Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Colorado

Awaken Your Wild & Magical Self – A Women’s Camping Retreat – Aug. 4-6, 2017 – Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Colorado

Celebrate the enchantment of nature and the wildness of your magical self as we gather for a primordial camping retreat. You will enter the mystery of nature and self in a playful and exploratory way, as you deepen your understanding of the Divine Feminine. Nature will act as your guide, giving clues to support your wild and magical inner soul. Your human guides, Nancy and Courtney will be there to help you commune with nature and enliven your PranaShakti (life-force) through mind/body practices, daily yoga, dream work, creative expression, hiking, story-telling, divine feminine circles, and ceremonial drumming and dance.

Camping outdoors invites you to step through a portal, and imagine your wild-self emerge as you deepen your ecstasy with nature and self. There will be plenty of time for solo exploration as well as time spent in community. We will witness the sensory magic that occurs when we collectively share in the creation of our breakfasts and dinners. The campgrounds and campfires will serve to support us as we dive fearlessly into our wild and magical selves.

Accept the call of the wild and join us on this secluded camping weekend in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Only an hour drive from Denver, our private group camping location is the perfect sanctuary to unleash yourself in nature’s beauty while exploring the wildness of your magical self.

Date: Friday, August 4 through Sunday August 6
Time: Check in is at 1:00pm, check out is 11:00 am
Fee: $298.04 + $7 park pass per day, carpooling is suggested
Venue: Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Private Group Campsite

Space is limited, so secure your magical ticket today just click here

After purchasing your ticket, please send us a quick note to (email: info(use at symbol)namasteworksyoga.com) and we will forward your Wild & Magical camping detailed package.

Inclusions: Your fee covers the cost of the campsite, breakfast and dinner, the program, your guides and your retreat supplies.

Exclusions: All lunches and snacks will be your responsibility. Transportation is not included and we do encourage that you carpool with other participants. You will need to provide your own wild camping gear. A list of needed camping supplies will be provided when you register. Some camping gear can be rented through outdoor shops like REI. We encourage you to bring drums, your journal, sacred costume, and an outdoor yoga mat.

To learn more NamasteWorks Outdoors other nature & Mind/Body programs, visit www.namasteworksyoga.com/outdoors. You can also learn more about your two guides, Nancy Levenson and Courtney O’Malley. This program is brought to you by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC.

NamasteWorks Outdoors Therapy Guides

When you journey with NamasteWorks Outdoors, you will be guided by two companions, teachers and lovers of nature.  Both Nancy and Courtney are modern day pilgrims that have walked the path from profound loss, grief, and depression to reclaim their health and wellness through blending mind/body and nature therapy.  Now, they collaborate to welcome other women to step into the wild, leave the urban chaos behind and hear their own voice through the voice of nature.  They invite you to open a pathway to your own vitality as they guide you to find peace, meaning and solitude in nature, while replenishing your body, mind, and soul.

Nancy Levenson, C-IAYT, E-RYT

Nancy is a certified yoga therapist and founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC.   After her own nervous breakdown, she discovered her path to wellness was rooted in yoga, meditation, wilderness and nature work. She calls herself an empath – highly sensitive to the valuable relationship we share with all living things, and the transformative healing qualities nature brings to self.  She guides others to explore their own true self.  Her tools include everything from nature to the physical body to poetry.

 

Courtney O’Malley, MA, NCC

Courtney is a nationally certified counselor. Following the death of her husband, she sought solace in nature. It was there that she received healing, renewal and ultimately transformation. Now, she seeks to find beauty and freedom in her life, and desires deeply to help women find their own theme words that help them live into their truth. Drawing from her therapy experience, mind/body practices, years in the outdoors, she invites women to discover their true self and connection to nature.

 

 

Explore some of their upcoming programs at NamasteWorks Outdoors.

Moonrise Camping

Moonrise Camping

Join us overnight in celebrating the full moon and the feminine as we allow the night sky to speak to the wildness of our soul. The moon and stars will be our light and guide us as we delight in womanhood and nature. We will use a combination of nature walking, creative art, goddess work, reflection and moonlight yoga to bring renewal, peace and transformation. Our program will be infused with storytelling by fire. As women, we will partake in a community dinner prepared by the entire group – you will be advised of what to bring and breakfast will be included by your hosts. No prior camping experience required, you just need the feminine spirit to explore a night out with us.

Date: Friday, October 6 thru Saturday, October 7
Time: 4 pm – 10 am
Fee: $119 pp
Venue: Fly’n B Park, Highlands Ranch, CO

Registration opens this Spring. If you would like to ensure a space in this program, send us a note to notify you on the day registration opens. Program space is limited.

Bring: A detailed camping list will be available once registrations opens.

To learn more NamasteWorks Outdoors other nature & Mind/Body programs, visit www.namasteworksyoga.com/outdoors. You can also learn more about your two guides, Nancy Levenson and Courtney O’Malley. This program is brought to you by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC and the Highlands Ranch Metro Districts.

Through the Lens and into the Wild Self

Through the Lens and into the Wild Self

This four-hour mid-morning program invites women to explore the beauty of the Highline Canal and develop a candid relationship with nature. With camera in tow, you will be guided to discover the great outdoors and capture the field of the natural world and how these images relate to the inner world of the wild self. Learn how the landscape combined with mind/body therapies can feed our soul. This program includes a 3-5 mile hike to capture nature’s images, self contemplation, time with community and exploring nature in story and texture.

Date: Friday, September 15 or Wednesday, September 20
Time: 9:30-1:30
Fee: $59 pp
Venue: Highline Canal and Fly’n B Park

Registration opens this Spring. If you would like to ensure a space in this program, send us a note to notify you on the day registration opens. Program space is limited.

Bring camera, sunscreen, hat, walking shoes, water and a lunch

To learn more NamasteWorks Outdoors other nature & Mind/Body programs, visit www.namasteworksyoga.com/outdoors. You can also learn more about your two guides, Nancy Levenson and Courtney O’Malley. This program is brought to you by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC and the Highlands Ranch Metro Districts.

Scars on the Land℠ – Using Nature & Mind/Body Therapy to Heal Ourselves

Scars on the Land℠ – Using Nature & Mind/Body Therapy to Heal Ourselves

This full day program,  in collaboration with the Highlands Ranch Metro Districts,  supports women in our community who are in a transition and seeking strategies for healing through nature and mind/body therapies. Scars on the Land℠ is for women suffering from sorrow, grief, depression or feeling anxious in today’s world. We will use nature, mind/body therapies and creative expression to heal broken places. Exploring the scars that we discover on our land will aid us as we will look deeper inside the scars of our inner selves.

Releasing the body’s memories through somatic movement and yoga, meditation, nature walking, journey mapping, and community circles the program aims to replenish and refuel each participant’s radiance. We will meet at 9:00 on the grounds of the Highlands Ranch Mansion and after spending our morning in nature, we will then arrive in the studio for lunch and the balance of our day’s program.  Lunch and all materials are included.

Event Details
Date: Thursday August 17
Time: 9:00-4:30
Fee: $89 pp
Venue: The Grounds of the Highlands Ranch Mansion and NamasteWorks Yoga Studio

Registration: Registration opens in two weeks. If you would like to ensure a space in this program, please send us a note to notify you on the day registration opens or call 303.725.1434.   Program space is limited.

Bring: water, sunscreen, sunglasses, comfortable walking shoes, hat and yoga mat

This program is brought to you by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC and the Highlands Ranch Metro Districts.   To learn more NamasteWorks Outdoors other nature & Mind/Body programs, visit www.namasteworksyoga.com/outdoors.  You can also learn more about your two guides, Nancy Levenson and Courtney O’Malley.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, Meet the Owner, Nancy Levenson

Nancy Levenson, Founder NamasteWorks Yoga + WellnessNancy Levenson is founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, a premier provider of mind/body wellness services.  Nancy’s mantra is helping others find their inner SPARKLE and their personal path to wholeness. Her areas of fascination and expertise, blends classical yoga of the physical, energy, and mind bodies with nature in guiding clients to discover their own innate healing process and light. If she could, she would sprinkle JOY in everyone’s life and remind them of their own true nature as a path to wholeness.

Nancy’s primary focus is working with clients suffering from depression, anxiety and stress. She approaches each client with an integrated and holistic plan that revolves around the 5 Kosha Model to wellness, body/mind/energy/wisdom and bliss . She describes her style of yoga as compassionate, expressive and spiritual.  She has also spent over a decade focusing on clients suffering from Back Pain, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Parkinson’s and other nervous system disorders like POTS.

She understands first-hand the impact of stress and illness to the body. Having had her own stress related career and subsequent meltdown and seeing her aging father undergo a loss of total body use. Nancy has since committed herself to her yoga therapy practice and the tremendous gift of offering wellness services to others.

She says her journey and love of yoga and nature is always expanding.  After completing her 200-HR yoga instructor certification, she went on to complete a 500-HR E-RYT yoga certification, followed by another few years of deeper study to become a C-IAYT, Certified Yoga Therapist. She is also a certified in Restorative Yoga and AyurYoga, blending Yoga with the sister science of Ayurveda,  and most recently has been studying nature wisdom and healing.  She counts among her influential teachers, Joseph & Lillian LePage, where she received her yoga therapy training through Integrative Yoga Therapy, Judith Hansen Lasater, the guru of restorative yoga and Gary Kraftsow, founder of Viniyoga.

In addition, Nancy is the Program Director for the Integrative Yoga Therapy 200-HR teacher training offered in Colorado and has trained many of the local teachers in the community and state.  She is also an Integrative Yoga Therapy mentor for students completing the rigorous multi-year Yoga Therapist Certification.

Prior to opening her own yoga center in Littleton and now her in-home studio in Highlands Ranch, she served as the yoga instructor at Wind Crest, Colorado’s largest retirement community, for five years, serving clients in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s find renewal in their bodies through chair yoga, gentle yoga, movement classes, breathing practices and private sessions in addition to guiding group classes for 24HR Fitness.  She is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and Yoga Alliance.

Nancy spent her business career in high level marketing roles for major publishing and telecommunications corporations including the San Diego Union Tribune, American City Business Journals, Tele-communications, Inc., Starz Encore Media Group and WISDOM Television, the mind, body and spirit network.  Nancy graduated magna cum laude with a BA in mass communications from the University of Denver.

In her spare time, you can find her hiking, biking, kayaking, or riding her motorcycle through the beautiful outdoors of Colorado.  She is also a trained master gardener and a member of The Touchables”  improvisational troupe, and can be seen performing at the Voodoo Comedy Club and other locations in the area.

Blending Nature, Art and Yoga Therapy – Imagine That

Blending Nature, Art and Yoga Therapy – Imagine That

Nature, Art, and Yoga Therapy (NAYT) is an integrated wellness strategy designed to relieve the body of physical stress, the mind of negative and fearful thoughts, and strengthen the nervous and immune systems. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), studies the effects of how the brain, nervous system, and the immune system impact each other.

A dysfunctional immune system is unable to protect the body and PNI studies on split brain research have found functional differences between the right and left sides of the brain.    According to author Barbara Ganim, in her book Art & Healing, split-brain research revealed that we think and process our experiences, feeling, and emotions as images first and words second.  This research validates that the body responds to an image of a thought first, and then associates words to describe the thought.  This leads us to understand that imagery offers a powerful method to releasing stored emotions and feelings of pain.  And, alternatively can be used to keep the body/mind healthy.

Today’s expressive arts of nature, art, yoga and body movement, dance, dreams, guided imagery, music, chanting, and sound, all integrate imagery as a powerful healing tool.

In nature therapy, we first experience the world through our eyes.  Every aspect of nature creates a sensory awareness infusing our nervous system with sight, sound, smell, touch and perhaps, taste.  It’s easy for us to recall a time we might have been walking through a wooded forest.  We can see the path, the trees and the undergrowth all around us.  We can tune into the sounds of wildlife, our breath and the movement of nature.  We breathe in the essence of the pines, the intensity of the air, and nature itself.  We have the ability to touch the earth with each step, feel the texture of the bark or the local foliage.  And, depending on our willingness, we can even delight in nature with our taste buds.

In art therapy, we explore these same senses but, also embrace our own emotions, fears, and desires.  We draw our inner world out through painting, sculpture or other forms of mixed media.  The imagery becomes an expressive tool for us to communicate deep feelings and use our own stories to heal body/mind and spirit.

Yoga therapy focuses on the path of yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to the body and mind.  Much like split-brain research, yoga therapy focuses on the balance of the left and right, the sun and moon, the feminine and masculine (HATHA Yoga) to integrate and support the wellness of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous symptoms and awaken our essential nature. Ultimately, combing nature, art and yoga therapy can lead us on a enchanted journey of body, mind and spirit.

What if you took just one day, to explore nature, art and yoga therapy?  We believe that you will awaken to a mystical experience, touching and celebrating your own divine spirit, strengthening your immune and nervous system and finding yourself stronger and healthier. We invite you to join us this upcoming Saturday, in our Glistening the Soul program – a snowshoeing day retreat for women.

We will blend nature, art and yoga as we begin our day with a welcoming ceremony outdoors. We will guide you on how to connect with the beauty and peace in nature through your five senses and support you as you develop your intention for your time snowshoeing. You will have the opportunity to bond through sharing with your fellow adventurers. We will then move to a time of introspective work. You will practice leaving your world behind and hone your nature skills and receive that which you need from your time outdoors. You will be sending a powerful message to your soul that you are ready to receive whatever wisdom, peace, or nurturing you are seeking. We will then stop for sharing and processing your time outdoors as well as lunch. We will then journey indoors to NamasteWorks Yoga studio to complete our time. You will have the opportunity to creatively express your experience through journaling, art and mind/body practices. Your day guides include Courtney O’Malley and Nancy Levenson.

Our full day program is only $89.  If this sounds like the transformation you seek, call Nancy at NamasteWorks Outdoors to reserve one of the remaining spaces in this program.  303.725.1434.