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

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

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

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

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

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

Pushpanjali Mudra – Appreciate Life Just As It Is

Pushpa means “flower,” and anjali means “hands joined together in reverence.”Pushpanjali is therefore an offering of flowers. This gesture also instills a sense of openness that allows us to appreciate life exactly as it is, in the present moment, without reaching out to fulfill perceived needs endlessly.  When we hold this mudra, we notice the natural lengthening of the exhalation, cultivating a sense of relaxation and ease that supports us in releasing attachments more easily.

NamasteWorks Yoga Therapy

Pushpanjali mudra also instills a sense of generosity, which is the antidote to grasping. This gesture facilitates both physical and subtle digestion, instilling a sense of natural abundance, a knowing that we have all that we need, making it easier to release neediness and grasping.

Pushpanjali is one of the many mudras you will encounter in the new book, Mudras for Healing and Transformation by Joseph and Lilian Le Page.  May each of you find a way to instill a sense of generosity throughout the upcoming months and remind yourself of your present abundance 

Mudras are just one of the many therapeutic tools used in our practice.  Mudras are seals that allow the energy/prana of our being to be directed into a certain place within us to support our overall healing and wellbeing. 

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.

Using Mudras and Movement in Your Teaching

In this instructor inspired workshop, explore how mudras can change the energetic shift of your entire practice. You will experience a variety of mudras and how to apply these ancient seals to your teaching to create dynamic shifts in energy and movement. Taught by Nancy Levenson, PYT-1000, ERYT 500, with extensive experience with mudras for healing.  For Yoga Instructors – Earn 5 CEU’s.  Space is limited.  RSVP via the contact form or by calling 303.725.1434.  Held at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness Center.

 

Mudra Workshop (C)NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness

Using Mudras and Movement in Your Teaching
Saturday, September 15, 2012 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
5 CEU’s – $59

NamasteWorks Yoga and Wellness is located in a vintage home, at 5860 S. Curtice Street, Old Town Littleton, Colorado. 303.725.1434.  We are not a walk-in studio, rather a private center – A Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.  Visit us at www.namasteworksyoga.com

Caring for the Physical Body – Practice Being In It

The first step in caring for the body is to practice being it, having moment to moment awareness, awareness of the breath, sensations, feelings and thoughts.  Can you even remember the last time you stepped mindfully into your physical body? Each day we are given an opportunity to honor this temple through the simple practice of awareness. 

Being in the Body - NamasteWorks YogaAs you open your eyes in the morning, are you aware of what you first see or do you jump into action, or chose to close them again and retreat under the covers.  There is no right or wrong, just an opportunity to notice that each brings a different quality to the body and an opportunity for us to take our first morning sip of awareness.  Awareness is one of the most powerful tools we have for our optimal health.  Allow your morning awareness to permeate you the same way a warm shower awakens all the senses.  Step into your body and allow the inner experience to awaken and inform the outer experience.  When you find yourself hunched over, achy, crying in pain as you step forth into the day, have you identified, examined and contemplated what inner sensations, emotions, feelings, or thoughts have guided your body to respond in this manner?  This is the body’s way of giving you an opportunity to step into the present moment and gain a sense of where you are simply through body awareness.

Consider doing you own body scan each morning before you even rise.  Imagine a search light floating through you from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes.  Follow this scan consciously taking note of sensations or areas that feel especially open and spacious or those that might feel more closed and tight. When you begin to move the joints, do you notice they move with ease or are they rigid and almost immobile?  Or maybe a certain part of the body is calling out to you…..”Here I am, notice me.” 

Allow yourself to shift your morning mindset from areas of pain and resistance to those areas of comfort and pleasure. Hold onto these points and make them the focus of your awareness.  When you learn to listen to the messages of the body a shift occurs and you innately begin the healing process.    And who knows, you may find yourself waking up to a whole new body.

Consider enhancing your body awareness with a breath with movement practice utilizing mudras, pranayama, pranavayus and meditation.  Our therapeutic center’s mantra is – A Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.

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 and private sessions require an RSVP. www.namasteworksyoga.com – A Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.

Healing Through the Prana Vayus

In the opening scene of the Kite Runner, we witness two friends taking command of nature’s air as they fly their kites through the village, out into the open landscape and into a vast competition, where each participant has learned how to master the wind, allowing them to fly their kites in an amazing chorography and dance.  As two of the kites appear to collide, we gasp, hold our breath, blocking our own inner winds, only to witness the kite master’s precision in creating a shift and find the kite flying a new rhythm, a new current.

We too have the ability to ride the winds of our prana vayus.  Within the body, prana is divided into different forms each with its own function and location.  These different energy currents are called vayus, inner winds, or energy movement.  According to Ayurvedic philosophy there are ten vayus that perform ten functions, five major and five minor.  The five major prana vayus are Udana (circular movement of prana), Prana (upward movement of prana), Samana (horizontal movement of prana), Apana (downward movement of prana) and Vyana (all pervasive movement).  Each of us has these internal currents of energy that flow within us and when we feel out of control, tapping into the prana vayus and shifting our inner winds, can bring us back to optimal health.

In our therapeutic yoga, the prana vayus play an important role in assisting our client’s journey to a balanced state of body, mind and spirit.  Each vayu travels it own channel and is intimately linked with a system of our body, an element, and one or more chakras.  When a vayu is out of balance, that system of the body tends to also be imbalanced.  And, when imbalance occurs, we invite all sorts of disorders and dis-eases to emerge.  We can also rely on one vayu too much in our daily living which is the case with stress induced disorders.  When one vayu becomes prominent over all others, both hyper and hypo conditions of our physical body can occur.

At NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness our approach is to help clients bring awareness to their vayus, find imbalances and then choose the appropriate Langhana and Brahmana tools, of pranayama, asana, meditation, and mudra to allow the client, just like the kite, to soar once again, unobstructed and untangled.  Interested in your own prana vayu assessment?  We would be happy to help you understand how to soar unobstructed.

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 and private sessions require a RSVP. www.namasteworksyoga.com – A Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.

Is There One Right Way to Breathe in Yoga?

Let’s start first with an exploration of this question.  Since yesterday, you’ve probably taken twenty thousand inhales and twenty thousand exhales.  How present were you to any of those breaths?  Did you notice the natural rhythm of your inhale and exhale and the rise or fall of the belly or chest?  Or, hone in on an awareness of one being longer or shorter than the other?  Perhaps you sensed the texture, the length of the breath, or how the breath moved about your own being?  Or maybe your awareness was focused on where the breath began its journey and where it ended inside you?  If not, maybe you want to take a moment now and just be with your own breath. What you will discover is that we all have our own innate breathing pattern, some good, some not so good.

In our therapeutic practice, we aim to help clients learn that there is NO one way to breathe in yoga.  But, there are ways to breathe optimally to enhance our overall health.  Each breath we draw upon infuses our inner being with a lush gift of prana and learning how to honor that gift in how and where we move the breath are all equally important.  In our Breath with Movement sessions, we guide our clients to move their physical body to their own innate breathing, not group movement, but individual movement.  When we allow our body to be guided by the breath, we step into a beautiful flow, a meditative movement that fuels and energies us as well as dispels the body of no longer needed toxins, stress, and dis-ease.

And the way we breathe changes from moment to moment, and practice to practice.  Our trained therapeutic instructors guide you to flow your movement to your breath to enhance all systems of your body.  Using the concept of Langhana or Brahmana breathing, tied to mudras that support,  and yoga movement that awakens,  you will discover that there is no one way to breathe in yoga, but a rainbow of strategies to maintain optimal health.

Private therapy for the respiratory system is also available and guided by Nancy Levenson, PYT-1000.  She will work with you to improve conditions of Asthma, COPD, Anxiety and other taxing disorders to the respiratory system.

 

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.

Enhancing Mood with Mudras, Movement and Meditation

Enhancing Mood with Mudras, Movement and Meditation – One Day Only
June 11, 8:30-10:30 am, $19.

Explore your primal nature in this two hour blended yoga class. We will go on a journey through free form movement of the body blending yoga, somatics and ballet, finding and moving the breath with mudras and dropping into a deep meditative state with Yoga Nidra – all in an effort to enhance mood, release stress and find joy! Taught by Nancy Levenson of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness. 5860 S. Curtice Street, Littleton. RSVP required, no drops in, class limited to ten. To Register send an email via the contact form or call 303.725.1434.

 Nancy specializes in yoga therapy for depression and respiratory ailments.

The 5 Pranavayus – Opening to Lightness and Joy – June 8

One Evening ONLY
Wednesday June 8, 2011
5:30-7:30 pm, $19 

Discover the exhilarating joy of mastering your internal winds (the breath/prana) to provide vitality to your body, breath and mind.  If you desire to enhance your overall respiratory, digestive and circulatory health, then join this evening workshop on the ancient yogic mastery of The 5 Pranavayus.  In this two hour experiential and informational evening you will discover that Prana is the radiance of life itself, the moving force behind sensation, the tool to dispel of impurities, and the source to bring balance back to the body. You will be given a map for this holistic journey. 

Taught by Nancy Levenson, yoga therapist of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness.  5860 S. Curtice Street, Littleton.  RSVP required, no drops in, class limited to ten. To reserve a spot, send an email through the contact form or call 303.725.1434.

Earthing and Prana Vidya

I am in praise of the new book, Earthing by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. and Martin Zucker. A few months back I wrote an article entitled, “Lying Mindfully on the Earth.” In this article, I shared with you the importance of getting down and lying mindfully on the earth daily to connect with a convergence of two energies, the feminine, yin energy of the Earth and the masculine, yang, energy of the sky as a source of healing our bodies.

Earthing takes this exploration even further and explores the concept of reducing inflammation naturally by equalizing our body’s energy with that of the Earth’s. The subhead on the book reads “The most important health discovery ever?” I believe the authors have an important message to share, a message that many civilizations have known for centuries, known as grounding.

In my yoga therapy practice grounding a client is one of the first processes we discover together. Although the Earth serves as a major tool to ground and heal, many other tools are available to ground a client in yoga therapy. First, we may work to connect with the client’s Apana Vayu, the downward movement of prana through the body. Apana Vayu roots and grounds our energy, allowing us to feel anchored into the Earth. This downward current of energy nourishes the low abdomen, pelvis, eliminatory and reproductive systems of the body. Carefully choosing appropriate pranayama, asana and mudras allow the client to not only heal, but actually sense this downward current of energy throughout their physical body.

My theory is that energetically, prana holds the key to all healing. Utilize the knowledge to control your prana with the ability to equalize your body to the Earth and you have two very powerful tools to achieve optimal health. I highly recommend Earthing as a must-read for anyone considering a way to ground and heal their physical and energetic bodies.

© Namasteworks Yoga + Wellness, LLC. Founder, Nancy Levenson, Serving the Highlands Ranch and Littleton, CO communities. http://www.namasteworksyoga.com

Hasa – The Smiling Mudra

One of my favorite scenes in City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal, is when he returns from his yahoo adventure and greets his wife at the airport. He holds up his index finger to his mouth and says, “Look what I found” as he exuberantly displays a wide smile. If you saw the movie, you know he had just had a mid-life birthday, felt trapped in his career and seemed unhappy in his life. He sets out on an adventure in search of a magic elixir to curb his depression and what he finds is a smile.

Imagine that –something as simple as a smile can change one’s emotions and reignite joy inside the body. Physiologically, a smile helps to increase endorphins, a brain chemical sent through the nervous system. These endorphins act as a barrier to stress and pain and increase a state of euphoria.

In my therapeutic practice, I have many clients who come to me no longer smiling. Whether its bodily pain, physical stress or emotional drains, the loss of a smile can have a tremendous impact on one’s health. Read more