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.

 

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.

Free Yoga in the Park – It’s Never too Late – Highlands Ranch, CO

Free Yoga in the Park – It’s Never too Late – Highlands Ranch, CO

“If we wait for the moment, we shall never begin”  – Both an invitation and a little history

What a beautiful reminder that it is never to late to start!  Tomorrow, Saturday August 6 is our final day of the season for the 2016 Free Yoga in the Park, Highlands Ranch.  First, we invite all of you have never begun the journey, to start tomorrow.  Almost 75% of those who practice with us, tell us that their first class was right here, in the park, with NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and our volunteer teachers. Now in our 8th season, many are still practicing.  Second, it’s never too late for you to join us and we invite you to the final day, final practice.

This program has been a love of Nancy Levenson.  She brought this concept to the Highlands Ranch Metro District nine years ago.  It was born out of a journey she took to a concert with George Straight.  His song, Just Give It Away inspired the idea just give away yoga to the community.  This program started out FREE and is still FREE.  Many of these programs have sprung up all over Colorado – some free and some asking for fees.  Regardless, they all invite you, the community to experience a practice with mind/body/spirit and the ultimate, Nature.  And here we are closing out season eight.

Thank you to the amazing teaching staff of 2016.  Yoga sessions have been guided by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness volunteer certified instructors; Nancy Levenson, Jena Sawyer, Renee Carrillo, Barbara Bloodgood, Charmaine Strattman,and  Kate Roberts.

Join us tomorrow for the final practice of the year.  This practice welcomes both beginners and seasoned yogis alike.  So, step outdoors in nature, breathe life into yourself, and connect to your own innate bliss.  Saturday morning from 8:15-9:15 – Sessions are held at Civic Green Park, located at 9730 Ridgeline Road, Highlands Ranch, CO, adjacent to the Highlands Ranch Public Library.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is a private yoga center located in Highlands – A place to Discover Yoga as a healing art.

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SoulSutras Adventures in Nature

SoulSutras Adventures

It’s as easy as a day in nature…

Friday, July 22 or Saturday, July 23

Or Join Us for Both

IMG_7750Do you think it’s possible to reach a deeper understanding of your inner call by talking to a tree, or listening to a meadow? Accept this invitation to wander and discover the very essence of self through the gift of nature.  Our guided day adventures are designed to help you delight in the gentle progression of your inner landscape using the outer landscape as your medium.

The word Sutra (Sanskrit) translates as thread.  When we accept the invitation to follow the thread of our life we awaken the depth of our innermost self.   Most of us don’t have the practical tools necessary to answer the call of our inner voice, leaving us depleted and moving through life lacking inherent joy and happiness.  Nature becomes the conduit to unravel our soul’s thread.

We warmly invite you enter your sanctuary at our soul immersion day adventures.  You will be hosted by two guides, Nancy Levenson and Karin Dietrich.

We will wander in nature, right here in our lovely state.  While each day trip is completely different, you will discover aspects of self through yoga, meditation, wandering through nature, natural art, journaling, reflection, time alone and in community, poetry and more. Every adventure works to deepen your self-awareness and ultimately bring forth your true nature.  We will meet at our designated location at 8am and finish at 3pm.  All nature trips are within one hour of Denver and you should be in good physical shape for a slight climb.  More details will be sent once your register, along with a health and waiver form.

Cost of the program for one day is $29, or choose both days for only $59.  Pack your own lunch and snacks and bring water and sunscreen.  Space is limited, so act fast as these programs will sell out.   If you would like to join us for one of these days or both, RSVP – by calling 303.725.1434 or send us an email from the contact form on the site.    We do accept MC/Visa.

 About Your Guides

Nancy GuideNancy Levenson

Nancy’s mantra is helping others Discover Nature & Yoga as Healing Arts.  She is founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and SoulSutras Adventures.   After a 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 and healing qualities nature brings to self.  She guides “wanderings” in the great outdoors to help others explore their own soul contracts, wisdom and true self.  Her tools include everything from the physical body to poetry.  She believes JOY is our birthright.

Karin GuideKarin Dietrich

After a successful career in nutrition therapy and healing arts, a series of challenging life events forced Karin to take time out for herself to rebuild her own body, mind and spirit. In this transformative process she discovered the amazing Healing Power of Nature and reconnection with Life and Spirit through solo time in the outdoors and months-long travels in her camper van. Creating awareness and presence, being vs. doing, and connecting to the wisdom of Nature, Oneness and Life is what she now shares and enables others to experience through gently guided immersion workshops in nature.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving” – Lao Tzu

 

 

Easing PTSD with Yoga-based Trauma Therapy – A Personal Journey

A commentary by Kate Roberts – a recent graduate of the 200 HR Integrative Yoga Therapy training at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness.

I came to Yoga by way of a car crash that nearly killed me, ending life as I knew it and the life that I had planned. I was 20 and had just discovered who I wanted to be and where I wanted my life to go when I earned by EMT-B certification with the intention of enrolling in nursing school when I returned to college. All that changed on July 16, 2000, when I visited my sister’s family on their ranch in Paradise Valley, MT, to meet their newest edition, Tyler, while on my days off from Lake Hospital in Yellowstone National Park. After driving to Emigrant for pizza and a movie my sister’s car was run off the 75 mph highway by an oncoming motorist in too big of a hurry and passing a motor home on a double-yellow line. My four month old nephew and I were both flown to St. Vincent Hospital in Billings, MT, where he was pronounced brain-dead and I underwent brain- and various other- surgeries to save my life. I was placed in a medically-induced coma for one of the two months I was in the hospital, opening my eyes for the first time on my Dad’s birthday, August 8th. Rehabilitation began while I was still an In-patient, doing such things as re-learning how to walk and how to hold an eating utensil. After my discharge, I continued rehabilitation with four more grueling months of physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. I was then spit-out of the medical system a fully-formed and healed adult… except that I wasn’t.

The American Psychological Association defines trauma as “an emotional response to” a negative event in one’s life. According to Judith Herman (1992) in Trauma and Recovery, traumatized individuals can range anywhere from a raped college student to a military combat soldier, from a car crash survivor to a grown man who was sexually abused as a child, from a prisoner-of-war to a housewife who is a prisoner in her own home. Survivors of trauma often suffer from a plethora of debilitating side-effects and symptoms which negatively impact their “quality of life” and are collectively known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD (Emerson et al., 2009; Sparrowe, 2011).

Findings from studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and others have shown Yoga-based trauma therapy to ease the “fight-or-flight” response (e.g. increased heart and respiration rates) triggered by the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is a problematic and intrusive symptom among those suffering from PTSD (Emerson et al., 2009; Sparrowe, 2011). Trauma-sensitive Yoga was found to positively affect how patients were able to self-regulate (“calm down”) and reduce distressing physical and emotional symptoms when used in conjunction with traditional therapy methods in the treatment of trauma-induced PTSD (Sparrowe, 2011).

About three years after suffering my Traumatic Brain Injury, and while attending community classes in preparation for returning to college, I found Yoga. At my eldest sister’s prompting, my Mom suggested I attend a Yoga class—even researching where and when—until I finally acquiesced. It was a community class that consisted of women my Mom’s age. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the building and room used for the class, as well as the Yoga instructor, were all highly suitable for a Trauma-sensitive Yoga class (Emerson et al., 2009). The location of the building was one of safety for me, as it sat next the St. Vincent campus; the environment within the building was one of reverence, hushed but welcoming; the Yoga room contained no windows and no mirrors, had adequate but low lighting, and there was minimal outside noise; the instructor was friendly, welcoming, and very knowledgeable—everything I needed at this time in my life when nothing felt normal, including me.

Because survivors of trauma often dissociate from their bodies, the objective of Trauma-sensitive Yoga is to reacquaint a survivor with sensations in their body, which is similar to what I was doing at this time in my recovery: I was not only re-learning how to inhabit and maneuver my physical body, but I was also re-learning how to mentally re-connect with sensations in my body (Sparrowe, 2011). This was a loving and gentle Yoga class, where modifications for each body type were taught and encouraged.

Yoga taught me how to re-inhabit my body fully, how to interpret and regulate how I react to sensations, and how to embrace the new “me”.

Sparrowe, L. (2011). Transcending Trauma. Yoga International magazine. Retrieved from this source.  http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/yoga_transcending_trauma.pdf

Emerson et al. (2009). Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: Principles, Practice, and Research. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 19. Retrieved from this source.   http://givebackyoga.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Trauma-IJYT-Article_.pdf

Herman, J. L. (1992). Trauma and Recovery. Retrieved from this source.   https://www.uic.edu/classes/psych/psych270/PTSD.htm

American Psychological Association. (n.d.) Retrieved from this source.   http://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/

Bio PictKate Roberts is a Certified Yoga Instructor as well as 200-RYT certified. She began practicing Yoga after being severely injured in a 2000 car crash, when she found that it helped her find ‘balance’ in her life as she recovered from her injuries and completed college. Kate earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human and Health Performance—Health Promotion Option and a Minor in Art at Montana State University Billings in 2010.  Kate recently completed her 200HR Integrative Yoga Therapy training at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness adding therapeutic yoga to her teaching skills.  She enjoys gardening, reading, arts-crafts, and walking her dog Maggie.

 

 

 

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
Jenny Clark 011 (2)A

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.

NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park 6.4.2014 004

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.