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.

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.

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.

Summer Solstice 2014 and Sun Salute

Wishing you a joy filled Summer Solstice. Today is the beautiful solstice, where we celebrate the longest day of sunlight. The twilight hours—morning and evening—call us to make the journey back to our inner selves. Take the time today to notice the rising and setting sun. Feel the essence of her warmth and rays of light by chanting the beautiful mantra – Gayatri (Guy-ah-tree).

Invite the Gayatri into your Sun Salutation practice today.  This method of honoring the sun was  taught to me by my master teachers Joseph and Lilian Le Page, and taught to my students by me, and their students by them.  Invite the twelve words to flow to the twelve classical steps of the Surya Namaskar.

OM, bhur, bhuvah, swaha, tat, savitur, varenyaum
bhargo, devasya, dimahi, dhyo, yo nah, prachodayat

Translation by Joseph Le Page:

Om, body mind and spirit
That Sun God
That we venerate
May the divine light which we meditate upon
Inspire our vision and energy

NamasteWorks Summer Solstice

Interested in learning more about meditation and mantra as part of your journey to optimal health?  Contact NamasteWorks Yoga and Wellness.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is The Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.  We offer specialized private yoga therapy programs, classes, trainings, workshops and retreats – with healing at the focus.  We serve clients suffering with anxiety, depression, stress, structural issues and respiratory and digestive diseases that seek wellness.  We custom tailor each client’s wellness program based on a vision of health as a unity of body, mind and spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Heart as a Filter

By: Nancy Levenson, PYT 1000

 

We know that the heart chakra, Anahata, is the balance point of the lower and upper chakras, but have we contemplated its true placement in the emotional body?  When we consider that the heart chakra resides between the Manipura (3rd) chakra and the Vishuddha (5th) chakra we discover the power of the heart to act as a filter.  Consider that an imbalance in our Manipura chakra may result in violent outbursts, or the need to be right and have the final word and we can witness that natural jump for Manipura to Vishuddha.  We have a gut reaction and for some of us the instinct is to react and allow the vocal chords of the throat chakra to respond.  What would happen, if we realized the power of the heart as a filter?  Just as a cup of tea or coffee moves from compression of beans, through a slow filter, to ensure that the result is a smooth and tasteful beverage, we too can employ the filter of the heart to deliver a smooth result from a gut reaction.  If we use the heart as a filter, we are given an opportunity to gain connection with the self inside, to ruminate on our gut instinct and invite in the time necessary to offer a loving response that supports our optimal health and the health of others. 

We can magnify this experience with one of the many mudras offered through Mudras for Healing and Transformation by Joseph and Lilian Le Page.  I suggest, Purna Hridaya Mudra, the Gesture of the Open Heart.  Consider the next time you feel an instinct to go from gut to voice, to stop at the filter of the Heart.  Draw the hands into the gesture, take 3-5 breaths and then allow the Vishuddha chakra to respond, and notice the change in the communication. 

Purna Hridaya Mudra

Can Being Bound Teach You Something?

This month in our NamasteWorks Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher training, lead instructor Jammie Speyer, taught a session to the student teachers on Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the synovial fluid in the body, attacking it instead of protecting it.  Joints are primarily affected, but the heart, lungs, eyes, and other organs can be affected as well.  While RA mainly affects the skeletal system of the body, it can also attack and damage the muscular, circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems.

RA Workshop

To help student teachers “feel” some of the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the students were bound at the joints.  Jammie then led them through a flow class, so that they could sense from the inside, what they observe happening from the outside.  Student teachers were able to feel for themselves, the difficulty of dropping into child’s or dog pose that seemed so simple just moments earlier.  Sensory exploration is one method employed to educate our student teachers about diseases and conditions. 

To learn more about our teacher training, CEUs, retreats and more, visit our site at http://www.namasteworksyoga.com

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is The Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.  We offer specialized private yoga therapy programs, classes, trainings, workshops and retreats – with healing at the focus.  We serve clients suffering with anxiety, depression, stress, structural issues and respiratory and digestive diseases that seek wellness.  We custom tailor each client’s wellness program based on a vision of health as a unity of body, mind and spirit.

The Yoga Prescription

By Nancy Levenson

Having just returned from a week’s vacation, I picked up my mail and was stunned to see so many personal letters from friends and acquaintances.  I just love the old art of postage stamps and hand written addressed envelopes – it indicates someone took the time to send me something that touched them in a way that reminded them of me.  With elation, I opened one after the other, to find the same article included by each, The Yoga Prescription – The ancient practice goes from gym class to doctor’s orders.  By Laura Hilgers. 

This article which appears in the current issue of Oprah shares the story of Jacquelyn Jackson, former employee of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the day her world changed in Tucson.  While reading her story and journey of her PTSD from the shooting and another personal tragedy, it reminded me of my own tragic day of being in New York on 9/11.  Jackson and I both sought out multiple healing therapies and modalities to recover from a tragic event.  She and I both found long-term relief and recovery from employing the tools of Yoga Therapy.

Yoga Therapy honors the integration of the principles and teachings of yoga and eastern philosophies with Western science and medicine.  Yoga Therapy is an invitation to discover yoga as a healing art, designed and customized for each specific client.  Through the process of working with a yoga therapist, one discovers the path to their own healing has always been inside themselves.

Today, medical and therapeutic professionals are discovering how the ancient art of Yoga Therapy compliments more traditional practices of medicine and talk therapy to enhance health and wellness at all levels of the person. 

 

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is The Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.  We offer specialized private yoga therapy programs, classes, trainings, workshops and retreats – with healing at the focus.  We serve clients suffering with anxiety, depression, stress, structural issues and respiratory and digestive diseases that seek wellness.  We custom tailor each client’s wellness program based on a vision of health as a unity of body, mind and spirit.

We all know how to breathe, Don’t We?

by: Nancy Levenson

Breath begins and ends our journey of life.  And we all believe we already know how to breathe, so why should we learn new ways to breathe in yoga?  After all, breath is something that occurs naturally in our body.

On a daily basis we take an average of 20,000 breaths.  Prana (energy) and yama (the control of that energy) is what yoga pranayama is all about.  Breath awareness is the primary focus of our teaching at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and our 200HR Integrative Yoga Therapy teaching program.  When we become aware of our breath, we can help refine the optimal functioning of our lungs, ensuring the free flow of our prana.  In our yoga practice, every move we make is guided, not followed, by the breath.

In our western lifestyle, many of us have become chest breathers, the reverse of healthy and optimal breathing.  When we chest breath, we ask our organs and body to work harder, we use our prana less efficiently, we limit the amount of oxygen reaching our vital tissues, we can feel the fight/flight aspect of living in our sympathetic nervous system and create complications to our health.

You can do a simple check on yourself to determine if you are breathing in the chest or belly.

1.  Lay down in a supine position on the mat – we encourage Savasana, a relaxed yoga pose

2.  Place your left hand on your check and your right hand on the belly

3.  Draw the breath in threw the nose, and out the nose, breathing naturally and easy and notice which hand is rising first, the left or right

If you find that your left hand is raising and perhaps you notice your right not moving at all, you may well be breathing in a way that does not support your optimal health.  If you are a chest breather, you are most likely taking in almost 12,000 more breaths per day than normal.  While that may seem great, it actually is nothing more than a taxing of our vital respiratory system. Unfortunately, many instructors will guide you to follow them in pranayama practices that may be contraindicated for your health.  Pranayamas are sensitive to providing your body either a cooling, neutral or heating effect.  Just because an instructor says, “take Ujjayi Pranayama”, it may be the very breath, you should avoid.

 To learn more about pranayama or to obtain a full breath assessment, consider a one-on-one yoga therapy session.  Our goal is to guide you back to optimal breathing, which ultimately leads to optimal health.

To learn more about our Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher Training, contact us for a full syllabus.

Nancy Levenson is founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness which 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, a RYS Registered Yoga Alliance School providing a 200HR Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher Training and Free group classes at Yoga in the Park, Highlands Ranch. 

 

2.23 The Union of the Seer and the Seen

Interpretive Translation by Joseph Le Page – 2.23 The Union of the Seer and the Seen

The union of the seer and the seen, purusha and prakriti, allows us to perceive the nature of each clearly (and to recognize their essential unity).

Commentary: The Union of the Seer and the Seen

The union of the seer and the seen forms a field of learning and awakening, allowing us to perceive both the world and our own inner being with absolute clarity.

As we gain greater clarity, we come to see that the personality with all of its wants and needs is not the destination, but only a means to awaken the seer, our limitless true being.

But the personality has an essential role to play along this journey, providing a relative sense of security that is gradually released as we awaken to the absolute safety of our authentic being.

NamasteWorks Yoga + WellnessAnd each of the joys and tragedies that form our life’s tapestry are part of this process of learning and awakening, like a butterfly’s stages of release that allow it to finally unfold its wings of freedom.

Along this journey there is a natural reciprocity in which we receive exactly the lessons we need while providing others with the experiences that support their awakening.

But to make this journey requires both wisdom and compassion equally, for wisdom guides our way while compassion allows us to see that everyone is seeking unity within the limits of their understanding.

As wisdom and compassion meet, awakening occurs naturally, allowing us to perceive that the satisfaction experienced at the level of the personality is only a dim reflection of the wholeness of our true being.

With a greater sense of our inherent wholeness, we release our compulsive need to do and achieve motivated by feelings of being defective and incomplete that are ultimately just beliefs.

And our deepest beliefs are disguised most convincingly; a sense of unworthiness looks like humility and control issues are camouflaged as self-mastery until all masks are released to reveal our authentic being.

Our spiritual beliefs are the last to leave as we come to see that even our “experiences of ecstasy” are just a release of energy as we evolve from the complexes of the personality to the clarity of simply living.

With clarity and simplicity, the world becomes less threatening, eliminating the need to struggle with or resist the seen, thereby allowing binding desires, anger, fear and suffering to dissolve naturally.

With the release of negativity, we awaken to the beauty of both the seer and the seen while perceiving their essential unity, allowing us to live in deep appreciation at each moment along the life journey.

For unity is our destiny, like drops of water within life’s stream, our boundaries in the form of limiting beliefs are dissolved gradually until we reach the sea of limitless being where all separation is released.

As separation is released, the world outside and our inner being are experienced as expressions of a single source energy, divided into two initially to create the contrast and clarity to perceive our essential unity.

And this union of the seer and the seen is ultimately like a marriage ending, but reversed one hundred and eighty degrees – it begins with the pain of separation and culminates in the honeymoon of unity.

Joseph Le Page is the founder and director of Integrative Yoga Therapy (IYT) and a pioneer in Yoga therapy training programs. IYT, a leader in the Yoga therapy field since 1993, is the result of Joseph’s life experiences, his training as a Kripalu Yoga teacher and his master’s degree work in experiential education, along with his lifelong interest in mind-body health. Joseph is also the founder and director of Enchanted Mountain Yoga Center in Brazil, which is one of the largest Yoga centers in South America.

Joseph Le Page and Lillian Le Page have recently released a new book, Mudras for Healing and Transformation.  They are also the authors of Yoga Teachers’ Box.  Joseph Le Page has also authored Healing Tools 3 CDSet and Loka Samasta Sukino Bavantu music CD.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is an affiliate school of Integrative Yoga Therapy.

NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park – June 19, 2013

 Free Yoga in the Park -Meet the Instructor – Kelly Conrad

 

NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park, Highlands Ranch, COWe welcome Kelly to our team of instructors at Free Yoga in the Park this year.

Kelly was introduced to yoga eight years ago as a group fitness instructor. She immediately fell in love with the practice that offered a profound sense of both physical and mental wellbeing.  She has explored yoga through workshops, classes, research and trainings over the years; most recently completing her 200 hour Integrative Yoga Therapy teacher training program with NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness instructed by Nancy Levenson. Her therapeutic trainings have allowed Kelly to deepen her own practice and bring the ancient insights of yoga into  mainstream classes and private training sessions. Kelly especially connected to Integrative Yoga Therapy because of the equal emphasis the teachings placed on an individual’s physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual dimensions.

Kelly is able to relate well to clients both in group and private settings. Her practice generally focuses on vinyasa flow with breath, gentle yoga, and yoga/Pilates fusion.  She understands that total well being is a union of mind, body, and spirit – allowing us to tackle each day with a sense of strength and joy.

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. 31.  Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat. 

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.