Breathe New Life Into Your Bones℠ – A Mind/Body/Nature Focus on Bone Health

Breathe New Life Into Your Bones℠ – A Mind/Body/Nature Focus on Bone Health

There’s no better time to contemplate our bone health than during the Halloween Season.  As one of the living systems of your body, having healthy bones and preventing bone loss is something we are all faced with, regardless of age. Your bone health is connected to your mind-body system and when one moves out of balance so do the others.  On October 27, during this 3-hour FREE workshop you will discover a holistic approach to managing your bone health.

You will creatively get to know and sense your bones, engage in prana/breath/energy for the bones, discover strategies to relax your bones, engage in a gentle nature walk to reduce stress and learn how to keep the adrenals healthy with movement and yoga.  You will experience the benefits of Yoga Nidra, a deep meditative sleep for combating the bone damaging effects of a cluttered mind.  Our skeletal system is alive.  At the end of this program you will walk away with a new appreciation of the framework that is your body.

Date: Friday, October 27
Time: 9:00 am – noon
Fee: Free to the community through a Grant
Capacity:  Limited to 30 participants
VenueLone Tree Hub, 8827 Lone Tree Pkwy, Lone Tree, CO 80124

To register:  Click Here to Register.  Program space is limited to 20.  If you have questions, please call 303.725.1434 or reach us through the contact form.

Bring sunscreen, hat, walking shoes, water, and a snack – Yoga mat and all art supplies are provided.

This program is brought to you by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC and The Lone Tree Hub – a community and enrichment center for all ages, part of South Suburban Parks and Recreation.

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.  To learn more about The Lone Tree Hub click here.

Rediscovering Your Beautiful Self: Using yoga therapy to free yourself from your harshest critic- yourself

“As we think and act so our world becomes.” The Dhammapadda

I remember going on my first diet when I was thirteen years old. And since that tender, early age I had been struggling with what I believed was a weight problem all my life. It wasn’t until I started taking yoga classes, becoming a yoga teacher, and finally going through yoga therapy training that I fully understood I didn’t have a weight problem, I had a self-acceptance problem. Through most of my young adulthood I believed I was not thin enough, pretty enough, knowledgeable enough etc. etc. Yoga helped change how I viewed myself. Even better, yoga helped me break from my negative thinking patterns that went into the obsessive realm particularly when I was denying myself of food. Yoga helped heal me in three ways:

1. I learned to live more in the present moment. “I think, therefore I am,” is a famous philosophical phrase once spoken by Rene Descartes, and before yoga came into my life this is how I lived. Every thought that occurred in my mind was my reality. If I worried that my house was not clean enough for neighbors to visit, that was my reality. Never mind that the neighbors were coming over to see me and did not notice the dust in the corners. When I started taking yoga, the instructor said to “just breath, feel and listen to your body”. For the first time in a long time my mind stopped racing and I noticed my breath and began relaxing. I began to connect with a self that was non-critical, non-judging and beautiful just the way she was at that moment. She was inside me all my life but somehow I lost that connection within me. I now try to live by the philosophy, “I breathe, therefore I am”…. a much gentler way to live one’s life.

2. I became more compassionate with myself. In the past I was my harshest critic. I beat myself up if I could not fit in a pair of size 4 jeans. I became depressed every time I weighed myself…every single time. I began to use my breathing techniques I learned in yoga class and therapy training and applied it in my daily living. Rather than being upset when a driver angrily shook his head at me, I now take a deep breath and continue driving, moving on literally and mentally. I haven’t stepped on the dreaded weight scale for almost five years now. How I feel is much more important than a number on a cold metallic platform. When I occasionally do eat that greasy hamburger and French fry plate, instead of thinking negatively, full of regret, I shake it off, take a deep breath and move on. I find I can again start eating healthy the next day because I understand it’s not an all or nothing battle.

3. I have found my own beautiful self. I now understand that I am more than my worries about the future, much more than regrets about the past. I am my breath, my body, my soul and yes, even my busy little mind. I listen to how I feel when I am eating, when I am standing, conversing and engaging with others. I know I am worthy even if others don’t think I am. I try to find beauty in myself and I try to find beauty in others even if they don’t see it. Yoga helped me to see past the external self, to let go of judgment and competition with others. I now understand that we are all the same. We are all struggling in this world together. We are all beautiful and worthy beings.

The best thing about a yoga practice is that you can experience the benefits in the first class or therapy session that you take. You can experience the benefits with your first deep breath you take. However, this is an ongoing process, and the benefits grow exponentially as you stick with it. As time goes by you might also notice you feel calmer in your daily interactions with others. You might find yourself less reactive in life situations. You can recognize when you feel off-balance and try to maintain a positive attitude. Your happiness comes more from nurturing body, mind and spirit rather than external things and depending on others. The benefits of yoga have a snowball effect. So stick with it and understand that yoga is not about doing yoga but rather, it’s about being yoga every moment, every breath of the day.

Andrea Mathwich - NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness

Guest Teacher Bio: Andrea Mathwich M.A. is a Registered Yoga Instructor who works in Boulder County, Colorado. She recently received her certification from Integrative Yoga Therapy at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness in yoga with a therapeutic focus. She teaches senior yoga and vinyasa yoga in various settings. Her goals are to help people of all ages to build self-esteem and self-compassion in this increasingly disconnected world.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is a place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art, offering a private sanctuary in Highlands Ranch for private on-on-one yoga and therapy, 200HR Integrative Yoga Teacher Trainings, private classes, workshops and retreats.

Verbal Yoga for Seniors

Namaste

As a communications major, I know the importance of being able to use words to create an engaging yoga practice for my senior yoga students. If you have ever felt like your clients are lost, falling asleep or seem uninterested, consider crafting a new communication strategy in the classroom.

Start with a headline. Great writers and communicators know the importance of a headline. A headline conveys what the story is all about. Have a headline for each of your classes or what is commonly referred to as a theme. Each senior or chair yoga class I teach starts with a theme, something that will grab my students attention. For instance, Uncorking the Joints. Your headline then unfolds to develop the whole story of your class. The intention, mudras, pranayama, postures and the meditation all work to support your theme, just like the body of a story helps support the headline. Read more

When One Door Closes another Door Opens

by:  Nancy Levenson, 500 E-RYT, 1,000 PYT,  Professional Yoga Therapist

After five years of instructing yoga at Colorado’s largest retirement community, Wind Crest, I rolled up the last mat, tucked away the last chair, stacked the last block and shut the door.  I leave behind a joy filled journey and legacy of guiding seniors in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s through chair yoga, floor yoga, movement classes, breathing exercises, meditation and private sessions.

At a time, when yoga teachers were training to deliver the next best intense practice, I was off studying geriatrics, the senior body, somatic movement, restorative yoga and deepening my immersion in servicing a community that had not been really considered viable for the yoga business. It’s a door I knocked on, a door that opened and a journey I will never forget.

The door that opened for me at Wind Crest went way beyond yoga; it was a life enriching experience, one filled with many stories, fond memories, lots of laughter, some sadness when we lost people we loved and always filled with new friends and personal growth.  Each week brought new challenges, new learning experiences and new opportunities for me to grow a market that had never considered yoga before and for me to personally grow.

Each time one door closes another door opens.  I closed this door to move forward and focus on my own therapeutic wellness center, NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, located in Old Town Littleton.   Even though I opened this door a year and a half ago, I felt a need to nourish this experience, to explore what lies ahead with more veracity, and to peer deeper and see if there is another door even beyond this one. Our journey in life takes us through a series of doors, we just need to ready when they open and acknowledge when the time has come and they need to close.

 

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, 5860 S. Curtice St., Littleton, CO 80120. We are not a walk-in studio, we operate as a private center for our clients. All classes require a RSVP. www.namasteworksyoga.com – A Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.

Alternative Healing for Depression in Elderly Adults

From time to time our site shares some interestering articles by guest authors. Alternative Healing for Deression in Elderly Adults, Researched and Written by Meghan E. Ecklund, touches on new modalities that seek to offer a holistic approach to healing.

Alternative Healing for Depression in Elderly Adults

Most everyone has felt sad or depressed at times. In the self-help section of any bookstore there are many titles that strive to help individuals deal with their moods. There are compilations of stories to inspire and sympathize with emotions and life’s tough situations. Feeling depressed is a reaction to loss, life struggles or going through rough times, and an injured self-esteem. When feelings of intense sadness, including helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, last for days or weeks at a time, and start to keep you from functioning normally, then you may have clinical depression. Clinical Depression is a growing problem in the human populace today. Nearly 10% of Americans suffer from depression each year . Of that number, 6 million cases of depression are seen in elderly Americans age 65 and older . (Read the full article)

Alternative Approaches to Improving Individual Wellness for Seniors

Friday, October 22nd – 9-11:00 am

The Colorado Culture Change Coalition will be hosting a Wellness panel focusing on alternative approaches to improving individual wellness for seniors and non-senior alike. The Panel:

 1. Dr. Sheldon Goldberg, M.D., FAAPMR – He will speak to advances in topical medication  administration.

 2. Nancy Levenson, Founder of NamasteWorks and Yoga Wellness, RYT, PYT, Yoga Therapist – She will speak to Yoga Therapy as a Model for Optimal Health

 3. Mary Dieffenbach, RN, ND – Doctor of Naturopathy – Mary will speak to her experiences and successes in reducing medications.

 4. Evy Cugelman from Pinon Management.  Evy is a certified Therapeutic Touch educator and a Validation instructor, as well as versed in many holistic practices.

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 Event is open to the public:

14221 East Evans Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80014, 303.750.0820

Directions from I-225: Take the Iliff Avenue exit, Exit 5, Go East on Iliff Avenue, Turn left onto E Blackhawk Street, Turn right onto E Evans Avenue, Garden Plaza of Aurora is located on the left side of the street.  Take the 2nd entrance into the community, on the independent living side of the community.  Parking is available in the parking lot or on the street.

The First OM – Sounding with Seniors

A yoga therapist utilizes many tools to guide her student to optimal health.  One of those tools is the sacred sound OM through the introduction of both chanting and the value of silence to heal the body.   Inviting students, especially senior clients to explore the sacred sounds of mantras, chanting and OM, may be uncomfortable for you and them at first, but bringing these tools to life can be playful and enjoyable.

I am forever grateful to Dr. Lorin Roche and his work with The Radiance Sutras.  It is in his Sutra 19 that I have found a beautiful way to express, explore and examine sound and silence with my students.  With Lorin’s permission, I have reprinted his Sutra 19 below. 

 

Sutra 19
Pinda mantrasya sarvasya
Sthula varna kramena tu
Ardhendu bindu nadantah
Shunya uchcharat bhavet shivah
 
Lightly begin a sound.
Choose any vowel – ah, ee, oo, uu,
Then add mmmmm.
 
Explore the feeling,
The vibration on your tongue, mouth and throat
As you quietly say ahm or eem or om.
 
Continue thus, allow the sound to enchant you
Into its inner delights.
A motion toward silence will carry you
Until the sound is only internal,
With no movement of the tongue.
 
Listen as the sound goes on resounding within,
Continuing of itself.
Until it becomes just a shimmer.
 
As even the wisp of that hum fades away,
Be intimate with the Great Silence,
The source of all sound.
©Dr. Lorin Roche – The Radiance Sutras 

©NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC, http://www.namasteworksyoga.com, by: Nancy Levenson

Combining Prithivi Mudra and Pranayama

Combining a mudra, a hand gesture, with alternate nostril breathing can help senior yoga students restore and balance their subtle body in a safe and easy practice. Instead of the traditional fingers to the nose method, try using an approach that feels more accessible.

For this breath work, have your clients either seated in a chair or on the floor in simple seated pose, depending on their flexibility.

Start your clients out in Prithivi Mudra, also known as the Earth Mudra. Prithivi Mudra tends to be easier for seniors to manage, even with arthritic hands. Have your client place the tips of the thumb and the ring finger of each hand together. Then extend the remaining fingers straight out. Then guide them through a three part series of Anuloma (Alternate) Pranayama (Energy/Breathing); Chandra Anuloma Pranayama, Surya Anuloma Pranayama and Anuloma Viloma Pranayama.

Mudra

Part 1: Chandra Anuloma Pranayama connects the participant with the cooling side of their body, the left nostril, the feminine side. Have them then place their left hand under the right, palms facing upward and place the hands a few inches from the solar plexus. The elbows are naturally drawn outward to the sides of the body, creating a triangle from the crown of the head to the hands, which form the base. Ensure that the hands are not touching each other and that the fingers remain extended. Now encourage them to experience breathing through the left nostril only. Guide the process by having them Inhale and breathe in the left nostril, exhale and breathe out the left nostril. This is a slow and deep breath, not a face rapid breath. Repeat six to ten times on this one side. I’ve even had my students who are somewhat skeptical attempt to breathe in on the right side and notice how difficult if not impossible it is to do while holding the Prithivi Mudra.

Part 2: Surya Anuloma Pranayama connects the participant with the heating side of their body, the right nostril, the male dominant side. Simply have your students reverse the position of the hands, placing the left hand now above the right. Shift the awareness of the breathing in and out through the right nostril. Repeat six to ten times.

Part 3: Anuloma Viloma Pranayama connects the participant with balanced nostril breathing. In this phase you will be guiding them through a shifting of left and right nostril dominance. Start with the left hand under the right, breathing in to the left nostril. After completing one cycle of inhale, exhale; shift the hands and the instructions to breath in and out of the right nostril. Repeat six to ten times. Then release the breath exercise altogether and guide them back to natural breathing.

Many of my students find the practice an easy way to explore the boundaries of the right and left nostril and an enjoyable and easy way to connect with, restore and balance the flow of their breath.

©NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC, http://www.namasteworksyoga.com, by: Nancy Levenson

Yoga as Medical Therapy – A Workin, Not a Workout

A recent class I held, “Sensitive Soles – Yoga for the Feet,” is an example of how yoga therapy can help increase awareness of the body, breath and mind. The gift of yoga is that it heightens our own internal awareness of how our body feels from day-to-day and how it functions as a balanced unit. When any one element of the body is out of balance, the entire structure suffers as other parts of the body compensate for any weaknesses. Yoga therapy is designed to help bring balance to the physical, energy, emotional, wisdom and bliss body – known in yoga as the Five Koshas.

Yoga therapy is receiving a lot of attention these days, not just by students but by the medical profession. According to a 2008 Yoga Journal Study, one significant trend to emerge from the study is the use of yoga as medical therapy. According to the study, 6.1%, or nearly 14 million Americans, say that a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to them. In addition, nearly half (45%) of all adults agree that yoga would be a beneficial if they were undergoing treatment for a medical condition.

The group that participated in the yoga for the feet program learned first-hand the importance of bringing sensitivity back to the feet and maintaining awareness of tactile sensation. Keeping the sensors between the feet and mind open and active helps create early awareness to any potential  issues. When we feel from the inside out we become our own best advocates to optimal health.

©NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC, http://www.namasteworksyoga.com, by: Nancy Levenson

Effort and Ease – A soft approach for opening Senior Hips

Effort is defined as something done or produced through exertion while Ease is freedom from pain, tension and effort. In this soft hip opening practice use the qualities of effort and ease to open and broaden your client’s awareness from the inside out. I’ve provided the sequence along with some cueing.

Flow

Start out in a bent knee Savasana for your breath work. Practice alternating between a focus on the inhalation and a focus on the exhalation, noticing which feels more easeful and which requires effort. Notice sensations in the knees and hips. Relax into the position and notice if it takes effort to maintain the position or if you are at ease in the pose. Continue the breathing exercise for 3-5 minutes.

Now open the knees, keeping the feet wide and drop into windshield wipers. This is your baseline pose. Notice how much effort is required to flow both knees from the right to the left with breath. Explore the movement as if it were the first time your noticed you had hips. Is it more easeful to move right or left? Float back and forth with breath eight times on each side, then hold left. Allow the legs and hips to yield to the earth, release and relax. Notice any force required to rest in the pose, then float to the right and repeat. Feel as if you are shifting the energy in your hips. Read more