I started this year in a very depleted state. My family life is full and rich so I knew it was something changing within me. My lovely cousin has a small house in Palm Desert that she has made available to me. I spent 2 months there in a solo retreat and returned to Oregon in April (2013) refreshed but by no means full. In my search for fellow Qi Gong practitioners I discovered Live Well Studio.
Live Well Studio is more than a business. It is a community service and a gathering place full of loving people. Life is full in this place.
My experience started in the Gentle Yoga class where Lisa weaves her magic and shares her gifts. She moves with such grace and ease as she transforms your morning. I expanded into her Flow class which was equally transformative. Ashtanga with Lissy was next and what a power experience as she breaths life into the Primary Series for me (she makes it look so easy). Sandwiched between the two morning Astanga classes is Irene's Hatha Yoga class which was perfect mix of moon - sun. And then there is Angie who bring song and story telling into your practice. Prepare to be entertained in the most delightful way as she takes you to new places.
These were just the morning classes. I have no idea what goes on in the afternoon but it must be fun. I can feel this as I put order to the disarray of props in the mornings. There is also a very strong Pilates presence here at the studio with group classes and private sessions with equipment. The Pilates instructors are equally impressive. I would like to explore more fully on my next visit.
I was blessed with the wonderful opportunity of greeting all the beautiful souls as they entered this space. I can still see each and everyone of you. The joy in your eyes and the sweetness in your hearts. Each and every day you added bountiful portions of goodness to my soul.
I owe a special depth of gratitude to my benefactor Kristina who made all of this possible. You are a most gracious and generous host who seemed to know exactly what was needed to return me to, and beyond, Fullness. Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for making me a part of your community.
My Summer of Yoga and return to Fullness and Beyond...
... with love and gratitude to all
... Om Shanti Om
Live Well footnote: Tim has migrated south for the winter. We wish him safe and joyful adventures and look forward to his return.
"I just encountered the most accessible book on -and beyond- Yoga ! In Threads of Yoga, Mathew Remske gets straight to why it is that I practice yoga. Beyond " stretchy-pants fitness", beyond obscure and mysterious-sounding terminology, he takes an ancient classic and makes it breathe and makes it applicable to my real life, and touches my heart and soul. Isn't this really why we practice? To get in, to get connected, to see clearly. Read this book -it will open a path."
A limited number of Threads of Yoga are available for sale in the studio.
Matthew will also be offering a 4 part workshop series, October 4-6. Click here for details.
Enter promo code 'matthewremski' and save $50.
Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India. Ayurveda is experiential somatic (felt sense) medicine. In Ayurveda everything is medicine: food, exercise, daily self-care, prayer and meditation. Ayurvedic medicine is adapted to an individual’s personal constitution: how you eat to care for yourself is specifically adapted to your body, your emotions, your time of life, the seasons, and where you live. This view of the health care makes sense to me. My husband and I both eat a whole food diet, but a different whole food diet. We have different food sensitivities and allergies, we burn calories at a different rate, we sleep and exercise differently. So although the general prescription is the same, the specifics of the prescription are unique to us both. This is the medicine of Ayurveda.
I find Matthew Remski to be one of the most compelling modern Ayurvedic practitioners and yogic philosphers of our day. If you ask Matthew why ghee is good for you, he is likely to provide an answer that spans the range from western neuroscience to ancient philosophy to metaphor. He offers ayurvedic health care that ties the practical details of self-care to our greater presence on the planet. He doesn’t let yogi’s off the political hook, he pushes us to ‘act’ our yoga principles in our lives. He is willing to question the dogma of yoga to find the gems that are worthy of continuing to guide us. He does so in a way that is easily accessible and fundamentally practical. Matthew teaches an Ayurveda that you can incorporate into your life to make profound changes in an intelligent and compassionate fashion.
I am extremely excited to be hosting Matthew Remski at Live Well Studio where he will be teaching “Ayurveda for Yoga Practice” October 5th and 6th. Here is Matthew’s description of the workshop:
"Yoga has its own medicine — Ayurveda – which seeks to illuminate our ecology, and to harmonize with it. This workshop will be a primer in the essentials of Ayurvedic holism, foundational energies (elements), modes (gunas), and bodily flows (doshas). The language of Ayurveda connects desires to the tissues, digestion to will, fertility to joy, and the body to the seasons. Together, we’ll explore basic intuition techniques, simple assessment tools for exploring constitution of self and other, and workshop whatever questions about personal health and balance arise from our discussion."
In addition, Matthew will be giving a free public lecture on Friday night, October 4th, “Yoga on the threshold of Activism”. Matthew has proposed that all yoga studios should also be soup kitchens hence this event will be by donation benefiting Linn Benton Food Share. Come hear his thoughts on how yogis can inspire themselves to a more active roll in the world.
Workshop registration. Save $50 by entering promo code 'matthewremski'
A Midlife Surprise: Making Peace With My Body
When I first came to Live Well, I remember Lisa saying, “Your body will wake up if you let it.” I find this to be happening in ways in ways I no longer thought were possible.
For all my life, I have been too heavy. When I was young, the fight against fat was imposed on me. I tried, rebelled, and did all kinds of stupid things to win that fight – but, of course, that is not what happened. The notion of a variety of healthy body sizes had not arrived yet, so all I knew was that, no matter what I did, I could not become what I was supposed to be. My body became a war zone – the scene of countless losing battles – but my spirit was the casualty.
If one way of life with my body was war, the other was resignation (and, on bad days, despair.) After a long period of intense stress took its toll, I resigned myself to fate. I had no more energy for the fight but instead decided to eat as healthfully as possible. “At least I can do this much,” I thought. It was a step in the right direction, but I didn’t yet know the rest of the path.
Then, a year ago on Labor Day, my body nudged me toward life. That nudge arrived like a problem: I’d gone into the garden to pick zucchini, then realized that my leg hurt. Part of it was bright red, pulsing and hot. It scared me and got my attention. I knew I needed to get into motion, but this message said it was also time to “take off my shoes” so I couldn’t run away. Time to be still and listen. Holy ground.
In the midst of this there was something like a magnetic force that drew me to Live Well. It insisted I come here. So I did. But I was tentative, scared, wondering if I could do this. Kristina and Lisa welcomed me warmly. Then one day during announcements there was talk about a class called “Making Peace with Your Body.” Peace sounded really good. I learned that the peace-making path is more like alignment with life – learning to love oneself and nurture oneself well, leaning into real life.
For not quite a year I’ve been talking one step after another on this path. Unlike all the other things I’ve tried, this is working (and it’s not even hard, more like delightful!) My body and my mind are coming more and more into harmony. Four times now, I’ve had to order new jeans, each a size smaller than the last. The first few times I’d open the package, take a look, and wonder how these ‘small’ things would ever go on me. This last time, I took a look, smiled, and zipped them right up. I’m not even afraid of gaining it all back, because I have been made new. Lots of people are noticing my new size, but the best compliment of all is that my countenance has changed. I am noticing that I am beginning to think of possibilities again – including those that have nothing at all to do with weight. It has been a long, long time coming and my heart is filled with gratitude. Thanks, Live Well!
Ever find yourself driving down the road, and realize that you’ve been so lost in thinking that when you look up at an exit sign you say “how did I get here?!” Or in the shower, so completely absorbed in rehashing a conversation in your head that you don’t remember if you washed your hair or not? I know I have.
My mind, like everyone’s, has an amazing ability to time travel. Indeed, it spends most of it’s time doing just that. If we really look at our own minds, we often find that we’re either in the past, rehashing some previous event, or in the future, planning or rehearsing. Very rarely are we right here, right now.
Mindfulness is the opposite of living our life on auto-pilot. It is the “awareness that arises when we pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally,” in the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of the well-known Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.
The big problem with life on auto-pilot is that we may discover that we’ve become limited in our choices for how we think, act or feel. With mindfulness, we gain the ability to put ourselves on pause long enough to observe what’s actually happening in the moment. We begin to see our own habits of mind and reactions in a new way. This can actually allow us to expand the range of options we have for how we will enter in to the next moment, and ultimately our lives. Not surprisingly, there is a growing body of research pointing out the health benefits of living our lives more consciously.
But Mindfulness is not something that we can just hear or read about. It is a transformative life skill that requires practice. In fact, the hardest thing about being “mindful” is simply remembering to be “mindful”. The capacity to remember takes training. It’s really no different from any kind of new physical exercise we might try. I’d be pretty foolish to think that just because I heard about skydiving and think it might be a cool sport, I can simply go up in a plane and jump out without any training. But, if I get some good instruction and I practice, I may just get the ride of a lifetime. So too with Mindfulness Meditation. If I practice, I may find that the ride of a lifetime is actually my own life... and that I’m here for it.
Join Catherine Orzech for, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, an 8-week course, Thursdays, September 26 to November 14, 7-9:30pm plus a one day workshop.
The program includes: guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices, group discussions, gentle stretching and yoga, daily "homework,” CDs and a workbook. Register here, $375
Yoga has helped me become more appreciative of myself and my limitations on the mat and more appreciative, forgiving and thoughtful of others off the mat. I live my yoga every day by smiling and seeing myself in others.
Mad Lib #2:
Yoga is ecstatic and makes me feel delightful. When I practice scorpion I really need to run my kneepit afterward. But doing pigeon arm balance with Lissy I feel dirty and want to sweat a sunflower rabidly right away. It’s the most blissful feeling since I shook a bicycle.
Please create your own and send them our way, we’d love to share them with our community.
The original by Curvy Yoga:
Yoga has helped me become more _______ on the mat and more ________ off the mat. I live my yoga every day by ________.
Silly Mad Lib by YogaDork Just jot down a word for each below.
Now, fill in the appropriate blanks.
Yoga is _1_ and makes me feel _2_.
When I practice _3_ I really need to _4_ my _5_ afterward.
But doing _6_ with _7_ I feel _8_ and want to _9_ a _10_ _11_ right away.
It’s the most _12_ feeling since I _13_ _14_.
And post the final the comments below!
I knew my friend was in bad pain when I heard the slur in his words as he answered the phone. My friend, who I’ll call “B” is attended by a naturopathic physician, so I didn’t expect B to be on vicaden and flexall. As long as I’ve known him, B throws his back out occasionally and ends up missing a week or so of work.
“You know I have a few little tools that can help with pain through hypnosis. With your doctors referral, I’d be glad to help” B got a referral from his doctor and we set a time to work together.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being excruciating) B said his pain was at a constant 4-5 and spiked up 7-8 if he moved wrong. He said it was like wearing a painful corset cinched too tight. Additionally, he said it felt like he had a bear trap that would spring and clamp down on one side if he moved in the wrong way.
Somehow B got into a seated position and closed his eyes. He didn’t look remotely comfortable, but was willing to follow my instructions. We worked together in a state of waking hypnosis – meaning he was very present and communicating with me throughout the session.
For the next 35 minutes we went through a process to loosen and unravel the corset around his waist, and diffuse and soften the bear trap. We turned both of these constructs into a soft velvety neoprene like sleeve that comfortably supported B’s lower back and gave him a feeling of safety. We made sure this soft sleeve would communicate clearly and easily with B so if he was putting his body in a dangerous position, he would know it before any injury was caused.
At the end of the session the look of relief on my friends face and in his physical posture was profound. On a scale of 1-10 he reported that his pain was at a zero. Completely gone.
Coincidently, B has not thrown his back out since, and his doctor now refers other patients for hypnosis.
Hypnosis can help with both acute and chronic pain. It can help with preparation and recovery from surgeries. Hypnosis can be amazing for helping women prepare and go through labor and childbirth. Hypnosis can be extremely beneficial to help manage stress and bring greater levels of grace and ease into life. A doctors referral is required for hypnotic pain relief.
Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, CHP
Cultivating a practice of self-discovery is an act of courage and if we stay brave enough to keep going, new patterns emerge within that serve to inform and guide our lives.The journey is different for all us and there are many paths that will lead us to similar places. My most recent journey started one year ago, when I committed to teaching a new approach to mind-body wellness by blending my therapeutic mental health skills with yoga practice.
It is a humbling, joyful path I am on, one that is testing my ability to perceive with my heart and listen with my entire body. I find great joy as both a student and teacher to learn to see “inside” myelf and others in a different way. The path teaches us how, as Ticht Nan Han writes “to taste stillness and know it is medicine”.
In my yoga classes, I reference both the inner body and the outer body as a way to distinguish the energetic pathways and to build awareness of the mind-body connection. The primary tool I return to again and again is the practice of breath awareness as it generates an intimate connection between the two “bodies”. As we notice the breath, the mind naturally settles and the rapid fluctuations slow. I encourage all of us to intentionally cultivate self -discovery, whether through asana, meditation, or mindfulness practice and take advantage of the miraculous healing that can take place, one breath at a time.
~ Martha's journey has led her to develop and lead an 8 week course, Yoga Body Mind Skills for Anxiety and Emotional Regulation. her next offering is Tuesdays, September 10 - October 29, 2013. Cost $179, limited to 10 students.
I was born and raised in New York City and that had a profound effect on my personality and outlook and it is yoga that has ultimately “healed” that, although it wasn’t until I was 40 that I came to yoga. I tore a calf muscle skiing and realized that I needed to do something about my flexibility after a twenty-something physical therapist told me “yeah, that’s what happens at your age”. As is usual for me, I wasn’t willing to accept that.
I’d been introduced to yoga by a partner, she talked me into a living room practice one evening. I’ve always been active but I remember thinking it was the hardest thing I’d ever tried to do! As I sat in the PT’s office, I remembered the intensity of the stretching that evening.
I went to my first class with Lori Gholson at the Yoga Center and was hooked. It still wasn’t easy but I saw the potential to improve my flexibility. I remember telling a skeptical friend “I’m just there to stretch, I don’t want any of that spiritual mumbo-jumbo.” Seems funny now, yoga is sneaky, it drew me in, first it was one class a week, then two, then four, then a home practice. I started to notice that the little annoyances of day to day life didn’t bother me so much anymore. I also noticed that I no longer sprained my ankles!
As my practice evolved, my intellectual curiosity was peaked and I started digging into the literature, I wanted more and more. I did a couple of teacher trainings, started reading the materials for an Anusara certification and did a little teaching. I’m dogma averse, so I drifted away from Anusara and sampled from the rich variety of styles available in Corvallis and on the west coast. Yoga was a gateway drug into meditation and a salve for failed relationships and athletic and construction injuries. That spiritual thing crept in as well and I find myself open to the value in religious and spiritual teachings from many disciplines now. I actually WANT to talk dharma.
I’ve benefitted physically from yoga but it has had a profound effect on me mentally. I’m constantly learning more about myself, my past, my present and it’s an intellectually fascinating combination of art and science (even quantum physics). I’m happier, calmer and I see the world in a much more benign and less judgmental way than before. It’s become something to engage with rather than tolerate. Yoga, and the community it facilitates, opens my heart and gives me perspective, and joy I never expected.
P.S. Addendum to what I sent earlier…. I parked on Spruce this evening for Miranda’s class. Somebody side-swiped my car tearing the driver’s side mirror off. In my pre-yoga old life, this kind of incident would have set me off in a self-destructive tirade of profanity and ruined my evening. So this evening, I was merely disappointed, I’ll fix it tomorrow.
Ken West: Corvallis Yogi