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,

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.

 

Free Yoga in the Park – Highlands Ranch 7/30/2016

Ride, Run, Walk, Dance, Skip, Drive..

However you get there, join us for FREE YOGA in the Park in Highlands Ranch tomorrow morning. We have only two weekends left for you to step into the great outdoors and experience a morning awakening. As our 8th season comes to a close, you will be guided tomorrow by Barbara Bloodgood and the final day August 6, Nancy Levenson.

It’s an opportunity to bond with nature, to shift perspective, to observe at a subtle level and develop a relationship with the Divine.

Program starts at 8:15 at Civic Green Park. Full details athttp://namasteworksyoga.com/events.   Program is brought to you by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District.

yoga in the park 2016

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.

 

 

 

Foot Size Doesn’t Matter – Family Day at FREE Yoga in the Park Wednesday, 7.23.2014

Everyone is welcome from babies to adults for our annual Family Day at Free Yoga in the Park.  This event invites everyone regardless of foot size to step on the mat and experience a joyful practice led by Renee Carrillo.

Renee Carrillo NamasteWorks Yoga in the ParkRenee began practicing yoga several years ago as an alternative to fast-paced cardio activities that started to trigger migraines.  Yoga has lessened the frequency of migraines and helped her make it through extremely stressful times as a caregiver.  After experiencing the relaxation and complete peace that yoga brings to ones entire self, Renee was inspired to share the benefits that yoga has to offer with others. She attended the 200 Hour Integrative Yoga Therapy Training at NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness with Nancy Levenson.

Renee is passionate about making yoga an experience that people of all ages and abilities are able to explore.  She hopes that people will look inside themselves and discover the amazing ability that we all have within. Renee’s classes are tailored to use breath as a tool to aid in movement of the body and enjoy the experience that is individual to each person.

IF YOU GO: Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16. Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat. Program is sponsored by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and full program schedule.

2014 NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park – June 25 – Highlands Ranch

Meet our returning instructor:  Sue Khodarami

Sue Khodarami - Free Yoga in the Park 2012Sue Khodarahmi has been practicing yoga since 1993, and this is her fifth year to meet us all on the mat for Free Yoga in the Park. In 2009, she returned to the classical style of hatha yoga that first inspired her, and received her teaching certification from the Shambhava School of Yoga. Shambhava Yoga draws from the rich tapestry of yogic teachings to explain how to use the circumstances of our own lives to grow consciously, and features breath-focused hatha yoga to help us relax, open and align with the more subtle flow of energy. Her classes are energetic and fun, with an emphasis on core and upper-body strength and flexibility.

IF YOU GO: Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16. Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat. Program is sponsored by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and full program schedule.

NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park – June 18, 2014

Meet the Instructor – Jenny Clark
Jenny Clark 011 (2)A

This is Jenny’s sixth year at Free Yoga in the Park. In her early twenties she became deeply rooted in the practice of Yoga. After 18 years of practice, Jenny decided she wanted to share with others the beautiful gift of yoga. She completed her 200 hour yoga training in Castle Rock, Colorado and has been teaching for many years now. Jenny decided she wanted to deepen her knowledge of Yoga’s ability to heal the body and received certification in the 200 hour Integrative Yoga Therapy Training at NamasteWorks Yoga. Never one to stop learning she is currently enrolled in the 500 hour Integrative Yoga Therapy Training Program and simultaneously pursing her 1,000 hour certification.

Jenny’s yoga is very unique to her personal style and experiences. She is passionate in her desire to inspire others to see their own magnificence and internal abilities to heal. She designs her yoga classes to create a positive message of healing in every class. Don’t miss her this week as she leads the Wednesday, June 18 session.

IF YOU GO: Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16. Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat. Program is sponsore
d by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and full program schedule.

FREE YOGA IN THE PARK – HIGHLANDS RANCH, JUNE 7-2014

MEET THE INSTRUCTOR – Barbara Bloodgood

Barbara’s back too!  A breast cancer survivor and a trained breast cancer yoga instructor, Barbara discovered the yoga world after experiencing her own step back from optimal health in September 2002, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy and 36 rounds of radiation to rid the cancer that spread from her breast into her lymph nodes.

NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park 6.4.2014 004

It was then that Barbara became committed to her own yoga journey.  She loved being on the mat, it offered her the spirituality piece that she felt had been lacking for some time in her life and provided her an inward look at her own heart and soul. Come out and join Barbara in one of her gentle practices in the park….you might hear her say the word “alignment”, “alignment”, “alignment”.

IF YOU GO Yoga in the Park takes place in Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 16.  Arrive 15 minutes early to sign a park waiver and settle onto your mat.  Program is sponsored by NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness and the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Visit www.namasteworksyoga.com for more info and program schedule.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness offers Yoga as a Healing Art to the Douglas County communities of Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Castle Pines and other nearby communities.  Our service is one-on-one healing therapy, Teacher Training and Free group classes at Yoga in the Park, Highlands Ranch.

Opening Day – Free Yoga in the Park Draws Hundreds to the Mat

Now in our 6th Year, NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness brought Maitri to the park participants.  Engaging in a one hour long class on understanding that self love is important, participants came out to enjoy the beautiful morning weather and opportunity to connect with self, nature and community.  If you missed our opening day, join us this Wednesday.  We offer the program 100% FREE every Saturday and Wednesday through August 16, with a few minor exceptions.  The full schedule can be downloaded here!

NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park  2014 Opening Day 087  NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park  2014 Opening Day 105NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park 2014 Opening Day 112NamasteWorks Free Yoga in the Park 2014 Opening Day 139

FREE YOGA IN THE PARK – OPENING DAY MAY 31 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The opening day of Free Yoga in the Park in Highlands Ranch is just around the corner.  Join us on Saturday May 31.  The program runs from 8:15-9:15am.  We are located at Civic Green Park at 9730 Ridgeline Road, located adjacent to the main library.  What you need to know to participate:

  • Bring NO money — it’s FREE!
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • We ask that you arrive at least ten minutes before the start of the program, at 8:05 so that you have ample time to sign our required waiver form, located on one of our park benches.
  • We encourage all participants to arrive on time, as we begin with a centering and meditation and it’s best to not have late arrivals distract those that participate in the program
  • Bring your own mat, or work on the lawn in bare feet — it’s your choice.
  • Bring a hat, sunscreen and a water bottle, the morning sun creeps up fast and it’s intense.
  • Work at your own level, we always offer modifications and suggest that you listen to your body.  Yoga is journey into self, not a competition.
  • There are restrooms located at the park for you use.
  • PRINT THE SCHEDULE FOR THE SEASON SO YOU DON’T MISS A DATE! and Join our Facebook Page

Come, have fun and step into a journey into self.  Our volunteer teachers are here to guide you through your practice and answer any questions you may have afterwards; so come up and meet us;  Nancy Levenson, Jenny Clark, Jena Sawyer, Sue Khodarahmi, Barbara Bloodgood, Renee Carrillo, Jenny Domingue, and Laurie Knight.  Our sponsors are NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC and the Metro District of Highlands Ranch.

YIP 7.27.2013 041a Tree