The Heart as a Filter

The Heart as a Filter

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. 

February is National Heart Month – Cardiovascular disease knows no borders. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.3 million deaths each year.  Consider the next time you feel an instinct to go from gut to voice the impact you may have to your heart.   Our practice is here to support you in soothing the heart, reducing stress and finding peace in your life.  Choose a new path for a healthy heart.

 

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is The Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.  We are a private sanctuary located in the heart of Highlands Ranch that offers specialized private yoga therapy programs, classes, teacher training, workshops and retreats.  Our founder is Nancy Levenson, a certified yoga therapist with a focus on providing wellness to our community.  To inquire about any of our programs, reach us on our contact form, or call us directly at 303.725.1434.

 

 

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.

 

Yoga Therapy: The Newest Health Trend that Doctors are Paying Attention To

Yoga Therapy is a growing trend in health and wellness and now doctors are paying attention.  And more yoga instructors are moving towards this very focused and specific client training. We have an upcoming open house for the 200hr Integrative Yoga Therapy Training and if you are looking for private therapy work for yourself explore our page on Therapeutic Yoga.  Yoga Therapy 1Read the full article below:

Yoga Therapy: The Newest Health Trend that Doctors are Paying Attention To

 

 

Wandering in the Wilderness and Discovering My Spirit Animal

“The wanderer seeks to discover her unique and authentic place in life.” – Bill Plotkin

Throughout our lives we make sacred contracts with ourselves.  When we venture into the wilderness, we find that some of those may need to be renewed, altered, or may not have been a contract all along.  When we wander, it provides us the time to observe what is around and within us.  I recently spent time in the desert, an exploration of sorts, not sure what I was seeking, but nonetheless, discovered so much about self.

When we take the time to be still, silent and in nature we witness with a deeper clarity the world around and within us.  The desert was dark at night and the cabin I rented provided no window treatments, after all it was in the middle of nowhere.  Something about this eeriness challenged my comfort level.  What was I truly afraid of and why was it showing up now, here, in the dark?  The following morning was glorious, sunshine beamed through those same windows that hugged the darkness around me the night before.  I ventured off that morning to a beautiful rock for relaxation, contemplation and spiritual wisdom.  Upon leaving I encountered the footprints of a mountain lion.  Even there, in the light, the darkness enveloped me once again.   I questioned why something as simple as a footprint sent fear through my psyche?  Was I able to defend myself?  Was I even prepared?  What if I needed to defend another, would I even have the strength to battle anymore?

Mountain Lion

It was here that I was awakened to my spirit animal, the Mountain Lion, the Puma, and the Cougar.  Like a solitary hunter, I was reminded to avoid any sudden move or act of impulse and to truly observe my surroundings, my strengths and my weaknesses.  So much prana flew through me, much like a Kundalini rising.  I could sense my own personal power and set an intention to guard myself at all costs.  In my teachings, one of the first things we learn when faced with a fear, is to bring ourselves back to neutral, back to balance, back into the earth.  As the heat rose in my body, it was important to reground and cool myself down.  What was I really out here to battle anyway?

The eyes of the mountain lion are deep, filled with many past lives, past conquers, and defeats.  I felt my own eyes develop this intensity of awareness and insight.  My steps were soft, my moves deliberate, and my inner guidance system on high alert.  I meandered back to the cabin with a renewed strength and discovered that nothing can bring you into the present moment like wandering through the wilderness.  Many discoveries unfolded on this trip, including the union with my spirit animal.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.