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.

 

Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship – Spring 2017

Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship – Spring 2017

Have you been contemplating how you might take your yoga off your personal mat and into the world? Ever wondered what it’s like to guide and inspire students on the yoga path but just didn’t have the funds to take the training? Well wonder no more…This week Yoga Alliance announced it’s Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship program for 2017.

The Yoga Alliance® Foundation is giving away 7 Aspiring Yoga Teacher scholarships of $2,000 each. Awards will be given to those who want to attend a yoga teacher training to become an RYT® 200 and meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

Scholarship recipients must enroll in and complete a teacher training program at an RYS® 200 and register as an RYT 200 within 12 months of being notified of their award. Scholarship funds will be paid in USD by Yoga Alliance Foundation directly to the RYS 200 once the recipient completes training and registers with Yoga Alliance as an RYT 200. Awards cannot be used to pay for training that has already started or has been completed.

Yoga Alliance Foundation strongly encourages candidates to apply who have a strong personal practice, are leaders in their community, and add to the diversity of the yoga teacher community. This includes those who have overcome socioeconomic or other personal obstacles, or who otherwise bring a diverse perspective or background.

To find out more and apply for the scholarship program, just click here.

Our Integrative Yoga Therapy (IYT) 200-HR program has been a standard of excellence in guiding individuals on a personal path or a teaching path. Our school offers the initial training right here in Colorado and if you decide to explore further training, our program extends to a 300 HR and 800 HR program, leading up to your Yoga Therapist Certification. Consider the path of leading others into the beautiful dharma of yoga. Click here to learn more about our program.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is a Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance. Nancy Levenson is the Program Director of the local-based program.

New Yoga Teacher Training Class starts March 18 at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness

New Yoga Teacher Training Class starts March 18 at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness

There is so much depth to Yoga, it’s much more than just learning a few asanas/postures or how to breathe.  It’s a comprehensive lifestyle system of meeting each moment with bliss.  If you’ve ever considered deepening your exposure to yoga, offering the mind/body aspects to your existing clients, or felt an overwhelming desire to help others, we invite you to consider joining our new training starting,  March 18.

The 200hr Yoga Teacher Training  is for those who want to supplement their existing healing practice with yoga, or deepen their own personal practice. Along with offering Yoga with a focus on health and wellness to the general public, you will learn tools and techniques to teach Yoga-based wellness programs in a wide variety of complementary health care settings. The 200Hr Integrative Yoga Teacher Training is an  immersion program from the lineage of Joseph and Lillian Le Page and utilizes their training manual coupled with hands on expertise and wisdom from Nancy Levenson, an IYT Affiliate Program Director.

This program is open to anyone with a basic foundation in Yoga and is especially suitable for body-workers, health care, occupational, physical, family and clinical professionals, social workers, yoga instructors,  and anyone desiring to deepen their own personal health awareness and wellness.

The 200HR program is the foundation program and Integrative Yoga Therapy also offers a national 300HR and 800HR program that leads to a Yoga Therapist Certification. The advanced yoga therapy programs are detailed at Integrative Yoga Therapy

S01-YA-SCHOOL-RYS-200 (2)The program is registered with Yoga Alliance as a 200-hour Teacher Training program and your instructor carries the highest certification in yoga therapy, a C-IAYT.

So step on the path, join our upcoming 200-HR class beginning March 18.  Send a request for more information via our contact form.

2017 DATES – Mar 18 through July 30.

The 200-HR program is based on 180 contact hours and 20 non-contact hours.  We run a weekend format designed for existing professionals, meeting Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00a-6:30pm.  The 180 contact hours usually meet every third weekend with a few exceptions and this class will have a four day offsite in New Mexico.  Scheduled dates (subject to change) are; Mar 18/19, Apr. 8/9, Apr 29/30, May 20/21, potential offsite in New Mexico – June 1-5, June 24/25, July 8/9, July 29/30.

 

2017 Free Yoga in the Park – Highlands Ranch, CO

2017 Free Yoga in the Park – Highlands Ranch, CO

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District announced today the 9th Annual Free Yoga in the Park event dates.  The program invites the entire community access to yoga for free, Saturday mornings, runs from May 27-August 19, with the exclusion of two exempt dates.

This program welcomes participants to relish the great outdoors while replenishing body, mind and spirit.   Beginner and seasoned yogis are invited to step into the mind/body park – Civic Green Park – the crown jewel of the great outdoors of Highlands Ranch. Once here, participants will delight in the welcoming sounds of nature, be dazzled by the blue skies overhead, drop into the lush lawn underneath, as they explore the edges of their body, mind and spirit.

Each unique session runs from 8:15-9:15 am.   Led by seasoned instructors, participants are guided on a journey that starts with a grounding meditation, a yoga movement practice and a nourishing drop into the Earth for reflection.  Each practice then moves from the mat, into the community, and out into the world.

“We are pleased to have created a program that integrates the great outdoors with the great indoors of self and celebrates and suffuses an entire community with the radiance of yoga and nature,” said Nancy Levenson, founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and Free Yoga in the Park, Highlands Ranch.

Excluded dates:  June 10 and June 24

200 HR Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher Training 2017 – Colorado – Open House

Open House
Saturday, September 10th – 10am-12noon, 2017

Open House NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness

Are you considering yoga training with a therapeutic focus or know someone interested? Then join us for our Program Spotlight to learn more about our 200HR program starting January 14, 2017.

This spotlight is all about you and answering questions you may have about teacher training, homework, outcomes, and more. Come to this informal session and Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.

This program is open to anyone with a basic foundation in yoga and is especially suitable for occupational therapists, physical therapists,yogis, health care professionals and other mind/body modalities seeking to enhance their overall practice.

Nancy Levenson, Program and Affiliate School Director for Integrative Yoga Therapy will be on-hand, along with other graduates of the program to offer insights and answers to all of your questions. This program is non-residential and runs every third weekend, beginning January 14th. It’s not too late to join us, just RSVP. Event held in our private studio in Highlands Ranch.

RSVP by September 8th, send a message through the contact page or call 303.725.1434

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

 

 

Summer Solstice 2016 – June 20th

Summer Solstice, which occurs today at 4:30 MST,  marks the day each year where the sun graces our sky, creating our longest day and shortest night.   In the tradition of time immortal, yogis have honored the summer solstice by practicing 108 sun salutations.

Sun Salutation, is the graceful sequence of postures linked together to create a dynamic flowing motion.  Each posture is linked with breath, with each pose counterbalancing the previous pose to create an overall body, breath and mind practice with the intention of awakening your own inner sun.    Discover the therapeutic effects of spending time with the sun today.

Summer Solstice 2016

 

 

About Nancy Levenson:  Nancy’s mantra is helping others Discover Yoga as a Healing Art and their personal path to their wellness. She is founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness.  She explores the tools, history, philosophy and science of yoga in working with clients to discover their own innate healing process. If she could, she would sprinkle JOY in everyone’s life and remind them of their own true nature as a path to wholeness.

She loves guiding yoga retreats all over the world and has recently added private one-on-one desert excursions and private retreats for clients to explore their own contracts, soul wisdom and spirit animal through a practice called, SOULSutras.

 

Invite inquiry to lead you like a torch through the dark

“I ask myself daily: ‘What is worth my time, attention, prana, love?’  The insight that comes from this inquiry is like a torch leading me through the dark.” ~ Sean Johnson

Namasteworks Yoga Light

At this time of year with our focus shifting to consumerism, it’s a wonderful reminder to pause at every opportunity and reflect on these four core inquires; time, attention, prana (life force), and love.

In last night’s yoga practice, students were asked to reflect on these inquires as we moved through every breath and each posture. Drawing our awareness so closely to body, mind and spirit, creates an inner knowing in the present moment.  We can gain deep understanding about ourselves when we question. Take a moment to just notice your own breath in this present moment.  Is your time even worth noticing this life force?  Can you truly give attention to each inhale and exhale for even one full minute?  Witnessing how the inhale offers itself over to the exhale, like an exchange between two lovers, and how the exhale offers itself back over to the inhale.  Can you sense the innate qualities and characteristics of your own prana?  And, perhaps wrap your mind around the awareness that every breath you are taking and receiving is from the same air that has always been here.  Allow your mind to move to a place where you share your breath right now with those you love. Then shift the awareness to those that came before you, and before them, and before them. And now share with those that will follow, breathing your life force through eternity.  

Where your attention is placed, insights develop and we can light our way through darkness. I encourage you to take on this practice of these four inquires; time, attention, prana and love for today, this week or this month. You may discover your own eternal insights and perhaps, move away from the frenzy of the holidays to the spirit that is intended.

About Nancy Levenson:  Nancy’s mantra is helping others Discover Yoga as a Healing Art and their personal path to their wellness. She is founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness.  She explores the tools, history, philosophy and science of yoga in working with clients to discover their own innate healing process. If she could, she would sprinkle JOY in everyone’s life and remind them of their own true nature as a path to wholeness.

She loves guiding yoga retreats all over the world and has recently added private one-on-one desert excursions and private retreats for clients to explore their own contracts, soul wisdom and spirit animal through a practice called, SOULSutras.

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.