Yoga Therapy RX – Do Physicians Know How to Prescribe Yoga?

Yoga Therapy RX – Do Physicians Know How to Prescribe Yoga?

Yoga therapy differs from what most Westerners have experienced as yoga classes.  Yoga therapy is yoga with healing at its focus.  With its roots dating back thousands of years, yoga therapy is now finding its way as a primary vehicle for optimal wellness for individuals and has become an adjunct to modern medicine.  But, a big gap exists in the health care field – a physician’s ability to refer patients to yoga and yoga therapy.

Yoga Therapy uses the postures of yoga along with breathing exercises, meditation, life-style management, and many other tools in a targeted manner, customized to each patient.  When practiced correctly for the condition, yoga can have tremendous effects on a patient’s overall wellness.  But, understanding the value of referring a patient to yoga therapy versus general yoga is as important as choosing between two pharmaceutical drugs.  Today most doctors are not equipped with the necessary background or knowledge to know the difference between the growing plethora of yoga practices offered in the marketplace.

Should physicians know how to refer the right yoga to the right patient for the right condition? Well consider this.  I sat across from a neurological doctor on a flight from Denver to Hawaii and found out that he worked in my neighborhood at a prominent healthcare facility.  After some polite and friendly conversation, I asked him if he referred his patients to yoga.  “Oh yes, I think yoga is good for everyone,” he quipped.  I then asked him what type of yoga he recommends his patients experience?  He looked at me perplexed and not sure if this was a trick question or not, then simply replied, “you know the one down the street.”  I shared with him that the one down the street was contraindicated for most of his patients, did he know that?  His interest peaked and we delved into a deeper discussion on the difference between styles, a yoga instructor versus a certified yoga therapist and the benefits of referring patients.  All of this left me wondering, how do we educate our physicians to refer yoga or yoga therapy?  In general, one style of yoga is not better or worse than the other, but when it relates to a healthcare condition, it could be contraindicated and cause the patient to suffer because of an uninformed choice.   What about your own physician, do they know what Yoga Therapy RX to write for you?

Nancy Levenson, founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC in Highlands Ranch is an advocate for helping physicians understand how to prescribe yoga to patients.  If you are interested in having her visit your office and provide your team with more knowledge of this growing field, she can be reached at 303.725.1434.

Nancy carries a Professional Yoga Therapist certification, is an experienced registered Yoga Alliance instructor and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.  Nancy has worked one-on-one with hundreds of clients, sometimes partnering with their physicians to guide optimal health.  She specializes in nervous system, respiratory and digestive disorders, anxiety, stress, and depression management.  She is also the Program Director for Integrative Yoga Therapy’s foundational training program, training students every year from the yoga, medical and other healing professions on the value of yoga as a healing art and therapeutic yoga. You can learn more about her and her practice at http://www.namasteworksyoga.com

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.

 

Therapeutic Yoga Meditation for Connective Tissue

All of the cells and tissues of the body are interconnected, held together by connective tissue. This tissue forms an amazing web inside the body. Most of us know about tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones, but our connective tissue remains a mystery. It stretches from within each cell and ever single organ of the body. It’s everywhere from the base of our toes to the top of our head. It is our body’s internal fabric. In yoga, we work to open the connective tissue to allow it to gradually open from stiffness or tightness towards a pliable and flexible structure. We use our yoga postures to open the front lines, back lines, spiral lines and back to front lines of the body and each time we open these lines, we allow our connective tissue to soften, move, expand, and contract. The next time you are embodying yoga, try to feel these deeper tissues of your being, move your awareness deep inside to the level of connective tissue. I offer you the following 25 minute meditation to take you into their inner awareness of this vital and beautiful web inside each of us.

Click here to listen:  Connective Tissue Meditation by Nancy Levenson

 

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

Find Your Center – Dancing Around the Mandala

Special Therapeutic Workshop
One Day Only – Saturday, March 31, 2012
9:00 am – 12:00 pm– $39

There are three positive words that can help you anytime you are feeling disconnected, “Find Your Center.”  When you say or think these three words, you are immediately drawn back to your inner self, toward your own vibrant energy.  For centuries, Mandalas have been used to draw us back to center.  Mandala means circle or center and everything in life has a spiral or mandala inside, from the smallest atom to our own solar system.

Mandalas are designed bring us inner focus and peace, to help us slow down, release stress, tap into our innate healing power and inspire wisdom in our life.  Carl Jung asserted that Mandalas are a key to personal transformation – they represent an archetype of wholeness. 

Take a symbolic journey inside yourself and unlock your own center in our upcoming workshop series, Dancing Around the Mandala.   Experience a fusion of creativity, quiet self-exploration, relaxation and movement as we discover how a mandala provides insight, healing and form to our inner dance. Our pilgrimage will include an hour of drawing and interpretation of your personal mandala, an hour-plus yoga practice and a relaxing meditative Yoga Nidra to deepen your awareness of dancing around the mandala.

We offer you a private setting to uncover the mandala in you. Led by Jenny Clark – 200HR PYT, Therapeutic Yoga Instructor and CMT. This one-day only workshop is $39. All materials are included and we encourage you to bring a snack. This program is limited to ten participants and an RSVP and pre-payment are required. Send your request through our contact page and we will hold your space and send you the details.

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.

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.

Navigate the Natural Journey of Meno-Pause

Have you stepped into that confusing phase in your life…..peri, pre, or post menopause?
Is your strategy just sweating the whole thing out?
Are you confused by all the messages you hear from friends, the media and your doctor? 

We invite you to take part in our wellness workshop this Saturday, Feb. 4 from 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Navigate the Natural Journey of Meno-Pause.  In this workshop you will be empowered through knowledge and awareness of body, mind and spirit, experience a yoga practice to cool your central nervous system, learn soothing breathing techniques and participate in creative expression.  Drawing from her background in Therapeutic Yoga, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Menopause, Troy Krebs aims to offer you a morning filled with natural approaches to support you during this transition period.

We offer you a private setting to navigate the natural journey of meno-pause. This one-day only workshop is $39 and we still have a few spaces left.   Feel free to call us at 303.725.1434 to reserve a space or send a request via our contact page at www.namasteworksyoga.com

 

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 an 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.

New Beginners Yoga Series Starts February 1

We are Starting Another New Beginners Yoga Series
8 week introductory series begins February 1, 2012 

7:00-8:00 pm, Wednesdays – $99

What better way to celebrate yourself than to give the gift of yoga to you.  A new beginners series starts February 1.  Almost all of our clients stepped onto the mat for the first time in our setting, offering each an opportunity to discover their own transformation.  Feeling comfortable to explore yourself with a new awareness and  discover the integration of breath and movement in a classical yoga series is what this class aims to provide you. We offer you a private setting to achieve optimal health, joy and relaxation. Max. 10 clients.  This class will be led by Renee Carrillo, 200HR Therapeutic Yoga Instructor.  This year, make a commitment to you. 

Our last class sold out in just two days, so don’t delay.   To register for this new series, pre-payment is required.  Send your request through our contact page and we will hold your space and send you the details.  Other evening series available on  Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

 

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.