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.

Foot Size Doesn’t Matter – Family Day at FREE Yoga in the Park Wednesday, 7.23.2014

Everyone is welcome from babies to adults for our annual Family Day at Free Yoga in the Park.  This event invites everyone regardless of foot size to step on the mat and experience a joyful practice led by Renee Carrillo.

Renee Carrillo NamasteWorks Yoga in the ParkRenee began practicing yoga several years ago as an alternative to fast-paced cardio activities that started to trigger migraines.  Yoga has lessened the frequency of migraines and helped her make it through extremely stressful times as a caregiver.  After experiencing the relaxation and complete peace that yoga brings to ones entire self, Renee was inspired to share the benefits that yoga has to offer with others. She attended the 200 Hour Integrative Yoga Therapy Training at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness with Nancy Levenson.

Renee is passionate about making yoga an experience that people of all ages and abilities are able to explore.  She hopes that people will look inside themselves and discover the amazing ability that we all have within. Renee’s classes are tailored to use breath as a tool to aid in movement of the body and enjoy the experience that is individual to each person.

IF YOU GO: Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16. Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat. Program is sponsored by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and full program schedule.

2014 NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park – June 25 – Highlands Ranch

Meet our returning instructor:  Sue Khodarami

Sue Khodarami - Free Yoga in the Park 2012Sue Khodarahmi has been practicing yoga since 1993, and this is her fifth year to meet us all on the mat for Free Yoga in the Park. In 2009, she returned to the classical style of hatha yoga that first inspired her, and received her teaching certification from the Shambhava School of Yoga. Shambhava Yoga draws from the rich tapestry of yogic teachings to explain how to use the circumstances of our own lives to grow consciously, and features breath-focused hatha yoga to help us relax, open and align with the more subtle flow of energy. Her classes are energetic and fun, with an emphasis on core and upper-body strength and flexibility.

IF YOU GO: Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16. Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat. Program is sponsored by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and full program schedule.

NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park – June 18, 2014

Meet the Instructor – Jenny Clark
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This is Jenny’s sixth year at Free Yoga in the Park. In her early twenties she became deeply rooted in the practice of Yoga. After 18 years of practice, Jenny decided she wanted to share with others the beautiful gift of yoga. She completed her 200 hour yoga training in Castle Rock, Colorado and has been teaching for many years now. Jenny decided she wanted to deepen her knowledge of Yoga’s ability to heal the body and received certification in the 200 hour Integrative Yoga Therapy Training at NamasteWorks Yoga. Never one to stop learning she is currently enrolled in the 500 hour Integrative Yoga Therapy Training Program and simultaneously pursing her 1,000 hour certification.

Jenny’s yoga is very unique to her personal style and experiences. She is passionate in her desire to inspire others to see their own magnificence and internal abilities to heal. She designs her yoga classes to create a positive message of healing in every class. Don’t miss her this week as she leads the Wednesday, June 18 session.

IF YOU GO: Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16. Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat. Program is sponsore
d by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and full program schedule.

FREE YOGA IN THE PARK – HIGHLANDS RANCH, JUNE 7-2014

MEET THE INSTRUCTOR – Barbara Bloodgood

Barbara’s back too!  A breast cancer survivor and a trained breast cancer yoga instructor, Barbara discovered the yoga world after experiencing her own step back from optimal health in September 2002, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy and 36 rounds of radiation to rid the cancer that spread from her breast into her lymph nodes.

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It was then that Barbara became committed to her own yoga journey.  She loved being on the mat, it offered her the spirituality piece that she felt had been lacking for some time in her life and provided her an inward look at her own heart and soul. Come out and join Barbara in one of her gentle practices in the park….you might hear her say the word “alignment”, “alignment”, “alignment”.

IF YOU GO Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16.  Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat.  Program is sponsored by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and program schedule.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness offers Yoga as a Healing Art to the Douglas County communities of Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Castle Pines and other nearby communities.  Our service is one-on-one healing therapy, Teacher Training and Free group classes at Yoga in the Park, Highlands Ranch.

Opening Day – Free Yoga in the Park Draws Hundreds to the Mat

Now in our 6th Year, NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness brought Maitri to the park participants.  Engaging in a one hour long class on understanding that self love is important, participants came out to enjoy the beautiful morning weather and opportunity to connect with self, nature and community.  If you missed our opening day, join us this Wednesday.  We offer the program 100% FREE every Saturday and Wednesday through August 16, with a few minor exceptions.  The full schedule can be downloaded here!

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FREE YOGA IN THE PARK – OPENING DAY MAY 31 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The opening day of Free Yoga in the Park in Highlands Ranch is just around the corner.  Join us on Saturday May 31.  The program runs from 8:15-9:15am.  We are located at Civic Green Park at 9730 Ridgeline Road, located adjacent to the main library.  What you need to know to participate:

  • Bring NO money — it’s FREE!
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • We ask that you arrive at least ten minutes before the start of the program, at 8:05 so that you have ample time to sign our required waiver form, located on one of our park benches.
  • We encourage all participants to arrive on time, as we begin with a centering and meditation and it’s best to not have late arrivals distract those that participate in the program
  • Bring your own mat, or work on the lawn in bare feet — it’s your choice.
  • Bring a hat, sunscreen and a water bottle, the morning sun creeps up fast and it’s intense.
  • Work at your own level, we always offer modifications and suggest that you listen to your body.  Yoga is journey into self, not a competition.
  • There are restrooms located at the park for you use.
  • PRINT THE SCHEDULE FOR THE SEASON SO YOU DON’T MISS A DATE! and Join our Facebook Page

Come, have fun and step into a journey into self.  Our volunteer teachers are here to guide you through your practice and answer any questions you may have afterwards; so come up and meet us;  Nancy Levenson, Jenny Clark, Jena Sawyer, Sue Khodarahmi, Barbara Bloodgood, Renee Carrillo, Jenny Domingue, and Laurie Knight.  Our sponsors are NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC and the Metro District of Highlands Ranch.

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Free Yoga in the Park May 31 – August 16, 2014 – Highlands Ranch , Colorado

Take an inward journey in the great outdoors

Join us for the 6th Annual Free Yoga in the Park – No experience required– best part, it’s all FREE!  No donations, no requests, no solicitations.  We believe yoga is a sacred practice into self.  It’s a time to honor an inward journey without the chaos and interruptions of daily living.

NamasteWorks Yoga has stated that this year’s theme is Maitri – a Sanskrit word that means an unconditional friendship and love of oneself.  It’s easy to forget that self love and friendship is our starting point to exploring and expanding ourselves out into the world.

This program blends yoga, breath work, mudras, mediation, nature and community with the ultimate intention of bringing health and wellness to local residents, creating a happier you and community for all.  Last year, over 5,000 participants were inspired to roll out their mat and join in the weekly community event.

NamasteWorks Free Yoga

DATES AND LOCATION

Beginning Saturday, May 31 through August 16, 2014, residents age 18 and over  can participate in an hour long practice each Wednesday and Saturday morning from 8:15-9:15, with only a few minor date exceptions.  Sessions are held at Civic Green Park, located at 9730 Ridgeline Road, Highlands Ranch, CO, adjacent to the Highlands Ranch Public Library.

 2014 INSTRUCTORS

Yoga sessions are guided by NamasteWorks volunteer certified instructors; Nancy Levenson, Jenny Clark, Sue Khodarami, Jena Sawyer, Renee Carrillo, Barbara Bloodgood, Jenny Domingue, and Laurie Knight.

So, mark your calendar and JOIN US ON OPENING DAY – Saturday, May 31 and take a journey into self while enjoying the great outdoors. 

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   Opening Day Instructor:  Nancy Levenson
Founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness,
Professional   Yoga Therapist, PYT 1000, E-RYT 500

Mandala Yoga – The Circle of Unity

When we open our heart to body, mind and spirit, we sense a connection.  The loving balance of energies is felt throughout us and extends beyond us.  To close our Free Yoga in the Park series, we joined our collective loving energy into Mandala Yoga. 

Mandala means circle or center, and is derived from the root manda, meaning essence and la, meaning container; thus, a mandala is a container of essence.  Joining hands, breathing, moving, and laughing filled us with joy, bliss, unity and oneness.  It represented our journey onto the mat to join in community, peace and practice.   Click on any image to enlarge.

All images copyright ©2013 All Rights Reserved

Yoga helps create a sacred space to bring each of us to our center.  Love Your Body, Love Your Mind, Love Your Spirit – The Circle of Self.

When we embrace the present moment, we notice that our life is perfect, whole, and complete.  When we extend that to the greater community, the whole community is perfect, whole, and complete.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness offers; Yoga as a Healing Art to the Douglas County communities of Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Castle Pines and other nearby communities.  Our service is one-on-one healing therapy, Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher Training and Free group classes at Yoga in the Park, Highlands Ranch.

Yoga Never Ends – But Tomorrow We Say Goodbye

We roll out the mat, take our space, breathe in the fresh air and join in community.  An hour later we are alert to our senses, aware of our body, mind and our spirit.   But, Yoga never ends — it lives inside us 24/7, in our actions, our thoughts, our words, and our very being. 

We invite you to step on the mat with us for our final practice of Free Yoga in the Park this season, Saturday morning, August 31,  8:15-9:15, session led by Nancy Levenson of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness.  While we say goodbye tomorrow, we know Yoga never ends.  It’s a seed we carry inside us when we Love Our Body, Love our Mind, Love our Spirit.  May each of you carry that seed inside you until, we meet again.

On behalf of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, the Highlands Ranch Metro District and the amazing volunteer instructors; Nancy Levenson, Jenny Clark, Sue Khodarahmi, Jena Sawyer, Renee Carrillo, Jenny Domingue, Jammie Speyer, Kelly Conrad, Meghan Ecklund and Barbara Bloodgood, we thank you for the opportunity to serve and bring yoga not only alive in the outdoors but, inside each of you.  Namaste!

Stay tuned for our Moonlight Yoga and Kirtan in the Dark – announcement coming soon…..

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