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6:22 pm

Why should a Yogi learn Pilates?


by Lisa Wells

Short Answer: Pilates is all about the core and building strength from the center out.  Pilates builds strength in places that are often neglected in a traditional yoga practice. Core strength and awareness can help heal and prevent back pain.  Core strength that will help prevent you from injuring yourself as you push toward more complicated yoga postures.

Long Answer: Some 17 years ago, a few years after a spinal fusion, still dealing with neuropathy, pain and instability, I asked myself: What was my yoga practice missing?  What needed to be trained and developed in my physical body for better overall health? There were a few answers: 1) I needed more direct core strength; 2) I needed more rotational movement; 3) I needed more freedom of movement, outside of the strict protocols and alignment principles of Iyengar Yoga.

I addressed the first issue by adding Pilates training to my personal fitness regime.  The answer to the second two questions will come in a later blogpost on dancing.  We’ll stick to building core strength in this one.

In the ‘90s, when I started practicing yoga, a common Iyengar cue was ‘soft belly.’ No matter the pose, we were taught not to restrict the breath from moving into our abdomens.  Basically, we were un-training our core muscles. And for someone with my spinal condition (spondylolithesis), this was a cue that may have set up the ultimate failure of my spine in 1997. A few years after surgery, postoperative PT, and continued Iyengar Yoga, I realized I needed a different approach to training my body. My core wasn’t strong enough. And Pilates was the ‘new’ (not really, but new to me) way to strengthen core muscles.

I added Pilates to my weekly movement experiences. The Pilates principles and exercises taught me how to engage and stabilize core muscles as I moved my limbs. I became stronger and more able in everything I did.  A variety of yoga poses became accessible that I could never do before. I had less pain, my sciatica disappeared, and my neuropathy lessened.  Pilates is fairly simply in theory, build strength close to center of the body, in the center of the torso and particularly in the region without bony support between the pelvis and rib cage. When the core is strong, then the limbs can move freely. The core is challenged to hold stability while movement of the limbs provides the challenge to that stability.  Effectively, the limbs become the free weight to train the core. To use a construction analogy, far from perfect but a decent visual, to stabilize a cantilever you need a strong and stable support, like the foundation to which a diving board is attached.  If you build strength in the limbs without building the stable core, failure is inevitable, the diving board will fail if its foundation isn’t true. Pilates exercises and cues give you access to that strong stable support from which to move your limbs safely. 

Done well, Pilates exercises eccentrically train the muscles of the torso. While the cues often sound like classic situps or crunches, the contraction phase of the movement is not the hard part. For example, a Pilates double leg lift starts out looking like a crunch: lie on your back, extend your legs toward the ceiling, place your hands behind your head and curl your head and shoulders off the floor.  The first challenge of this exercise is to hold the abdominal and pelvic floors muscles strongly and force the breath into the lateral rib cage.  The engagement of the deep torso muscles then allows you to hold your spine stable as you begin to lower the legs toward the floor.  The lowering of the legs necessarily lengthens the abdominal muscles, thus requiring a strong eccentric contraction to prevent the spine from extending and the breath from moving into the belly. Often, particularly with newcomers, the motion of the legs will be quite small if the attention to the core stability is honored.  One thing about Pilates, it’s easy to cheat and to do the exercises wrong.  To build eccentric core strength requires the attention to detail that Pilates was famous for.

While Pilates honed some brilliant exercises and principles, clearly drawing from yoga, gymnastics and calisthenics, he was also a bit of a brute and disciplinarian. I do not teach or practice the way Joseph did anymore than I teach the way BKS Iyengar did. I adapt Pilates with the mindset of modern yoga best practices: use somatic cues to develop inner awareness, include anatomical education, both western and eastern, offer balanced spinal flexion and spinal extension, add rotational and range of motion movements, and best of all, never skip on savasana.

Overtime, my classes have become a mash-up of yoga, Pilates, resistance stretching, trauma releasing exercises and somatic awareness. I still call the classes I teach yoga, because I bring what I believe to be a yoga world view of integration and wholeness to the approach. I doubt my students know where one modality begins and another ends. But as Yogis and Yoga teachers, I think it is incredibly important for us to look at what is missing from our yoga practices and to supplement and fill in the physical gaps for ourselves and for our students. 

Register HERE for Pilates of Yogi's



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6:35 pm

Firecider, oh my!

 by Lisa Wells
 
Ayurvedic medicine is all about balance. Taste and sensation are medicine in this somatic system of well being: to fight off the viruses that proliferate in the stagnant cold wet-dry of winter we are advised to add heat, bitter and astringent flavors to our diets. Firecider, although not a traditional ayurvedic medicine, fills the bill.  Firecider is an immune system booster, a deterrent to viruses and bad bacteria, a source of good gut bacteria, with a bonus of the apple cider vinegar base being an standard traditional remedy for arthritis and the pains of aging.

We’ve purchased Firecider (firecider.com) from Shire City Herbals in Pittsfield, MA. You can read about the recipe here (firecider.com/pages/our-story). I was introduced to Firecider at Standing Rock. Shire City donated enough Firecider to camp to keep everyone healthy through the winter. So, each day, people would come by the Med yurts and pour themselves a shot glass of firecider to ward off ill health. I’ve been drinking it daily ever since my journey to Standing Rock, and in spite of the broken arm, have never felt in better health.

Finally, you’ll get to learn what it feels like to be a fire-breathing dragon. We all need a bit of fire-breathing dragon in our minds and bodies these days. Be prepared for a bit of a shock to the system when you try Firecider. It will warm your belly and your mind.  You’ll feel it dousing out any bad bugs hiding in your body. And, you’ll be prepared to fight any battle on your horizon.

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12:07 pm

January 20th: Yoga on a General Strike Day


By Lisa Wells

On January 20th President Obama becomes former President Obama and President-elect Trump becomes President Trump. Many things are happening to mark the day. As someone who finds the President-elect’s misogynistic and racist rhetoric to be unacceptable in ‘my president and the leader of the free world’ I have a strong desire to join the General Strike that has been called for on Inauguration Day. However, I also feel the need to be at the studio and hold a safe place for others who may feel threatened by the incoming administrations agenda and whose spirits can be held safe with yoga. Having talked with Koa and Mona, the other teachers who are scheduled to teach that day, they have similar feelings to me.  So, we’ve made a plan.

1)   Lisa’s 10am Gentle class in the morning will be free to all comers. If you’re on a class pass, I won’t be charging you. If you bring a friend or two or three, they’ll get in free.  I personally don’t want to generate income to feed the economy that day.  I will also be contributing $5/person who attends my class to the Civil Liberties Defense Center (https://cldc.org). The CLDC is a non-profit legal firm out of Eugene that defends cases where civil liberties and constitutional rights are threatened as well as providing civil liberty trainings for activists of all ages.  The CLDC are the lawyers for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, ND.

2)   Koa (7am and 5:30pm Flow Yoga) and Mona (12pm Pilates) will be donating the profits from their classes to local and national non-profits that defend civil liberties and stand up for women, the indigent and people of color.

I intend to take the spirit of the strike with me into the world on the 20th as a personal ‘buy nothing day.’  And perhaps you’ll join me at the ‘Inaugurate Eco and Social Justice’ (https://www.facebook.com/events/384709295212168/) event and march which will convene at 3:30pm in Central Park and end with tabling and cider in the Odd Fellows Hall around 5pm. I’d love to see you there!

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7:12 pm

What to do when you are injured: RICE vs. MEAT vs TEA


I’m writing this blog post with a broken arm.  Last Wednesday I took a hard fall on the ice.  I was taking out the garbage and getting the mail. I stepped away from the garbage can, took a single step toward the street, and in less than a blink of an eye I was on the ground.  It happened so fast, there was no possibility of catching myself or falling gracefully.  I sat there for a moment and took stock: Can I move my limbs? Yes. Can I stand up? Yes. Can I walk? Yes. I moved slowly out to the mailbox. My wrist hurt, but I could move my fingers. When I got back in the house, I knew that I wasn’t okay. I was shivering uncontrollably. I was nauseous. My vision had narrowed.  I was having difficulty articulating myself. I realized that I had broken my arm. Jay took me to the ER. An x-ray confirmed the break. Luckily, it was a clean break of the left radius (thumb-side forearm bone) and there was no need for surgery. I left the ER with a cast-splint, a prescription for opiates (that’s another blog post) and a referral to an orthopedist. Luckily, the orthopedist swapped the big splint that limited my finger and elbow motion for a forearm cast.  It’s so good to have use of my elbow and finger again.

I was taught how to treat injuries with the acronym RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  The overall lesson was, stay off the injury, reduce the swelling and limit the pain. It seemed to work. But I don’t think most of us ever particularly tried a scientific experiment to compare whether or not this treatment actually improved the rate or quality of healing. However with time, sports scientists have begun to question the RICE treatment protocol.  Asking the question: does avoiding inflammation, our body’s natural response to injury, actually help or limit healing?

After an injury the body floods the injured region with fluid that creates inflammation.  This fluid serves a number of important purposes: 1) it creates a natural splint to prevent you from reinjuring the tissues; 2) it floods the area with your own natural antibiotics and the materials and chemicals needed to heal and rebuild tissue; 3) it presses on nerves, causing pain to stop you from reinjuring the tissues. Recent studies suggest that preventing inflammation at this critical time can inhibit the healing process.  Ice, compression, elevation and NSAIDs are all intended to reduce inflammation and can inhibit the healing process as a result. NSAIDs in particular, while reducing pain, are believed to slow healing. So, what to do?

A number of physical therapists have shifted to the treatment acronym MEAT: Movement, Exercise, Analgesia, Treatment. I understand where these therapists are coming from, but 1) A few of these categories seem redundant and forced; 2) Treatment is rather self-serving, as it is encouragement to see a PT. Sometimes needed, sometimes not; 3) MEAT as a treatment protocol just sounds kinda gross.  So, I came up with my own acronym and treatment protocol: TEA

Time:  rest, give it time, have a cup of tea, take a day off, return to motion slowly as the pain subsides.

Exercise: start with gentle range of motion and isometric contractions of the injured tissues, gradually increase load and range of motion. Work with a professional as needed.

Analgesics: use pain relievers sparingly. Use the lowest dosage and the least invasive analgesic possible:  Arnica, peppermint and/or camphor, ice and/or heat, acupuncture, massage, Tylenol, Ibuprofen.

So, where am I personally on this journey with my broken arm? It’s been less than a week so…

Time: I’ve taken time off.  Because the bone is broken, I’m following the orthopedist’s advice. My forearm is in a cast to insure that I rest it. The bone will need 4 to 6 weeks to knit itself back together. I’m avoiding lifting or pushing with the injured arm. A month feels like a long time but I know it will go by quickly.  So, time feels like the first and foremost treatment protocol I need to pay attention to. Being patient with myself is hard for me. Healing is energy intensive. I’m exhausted at the end of my days even though I don’t feel like I have done much.  I keep reminding myself to give myself Time to heal.

Exercise:  I long to Exercise. Yesterday I went for a short walk. Today I walked a little farther.  It’s a mess of slush out on the byways of Corvallis, so that is a good deterrent from doing too much. At this early stage of healing, I’m carrying the cast around, moving my fingers and elbow, and doing simple isometric contractions of the muscles inside the cast. As I start feeling better, I hope to begin doing adaptations of my usual yoga/pilates/weight lifting/walking routines. As much as it saddens me, I’m going to stay off my bike until the doctor gives me the thumbs up to ride.

Analgesics: Here’s the reality, I don’t want to be in too much pain.  I took ½ of a Norco on the first night to sleep.  I don’t think that was a sufficient dose to do much of anything and I haven’t taken any since. For the first couple of days I took minimal amounts of ibuprofen, just enough to take the edge off the pain. I’ve been taking homeopathic Arnica Montana and Symphytum Officianale. I’m using essential oil of wintergreen, birch, lemongrass, white fir, marjoram, helichrysum and lavender 3 times a day. I’ve scheduled bi-weekly acupuncture at Corvallis Community Acupuncture. And I had a massage yesterday. I’m going heavy on the alternative therapies. Even if they are placebos, if I believe in them they might help. And if they don’t help I know they won’t hurt.

So, the next time you’re injured, have a cuppa TEA and skip the RICE and MEAT.

I’ll be back at the studio on Wednesday, 1/11/16. Hope to slowly work my way back into teaching over the next week while taking my time and not overdoing things.

Originally Posted at yogawells.com

References:

NSAIDs and possible bone healing impairment: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3259713/

NSAID therapy effects on healing of bone, tendon, and the enthesis
http://jap.physiology.org/content/115/6/892

Do NSAIDs Impair Healing of Musculoskeletal Injuries?
http://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/articles/do-nsaids-impair-healing-musculoskeletal-injuries

http://goodmedclinic.com/meat-vs-rice-for-injury-management/

http://www.thesportsphysiotherapist.com/rice-or-meat-protocol-for-acute-ligament-sprain-treatment/

https://www.yogatuneup.com/blog/2014/10/08/r-i-c-e-or-m-e-a-t-what-to-do-when-recovering-from-injury/

 


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5:39 pm

She Restores My Soul


by Angela Grace

She restores my soul. She restores my soul (reference to Psalm 23:3). This refrain resounds through my being as I walk through the forest these days, and I luxuriate in the vibration. This is the face of the teacher I love. Nuturing. Healing. Consoling. Beckoning. Inspiring.

There is another face of the teacher. Challenging. Harsh. Confrontational. Calling us out on our stuff. This is the face of Krishna presented in the Bhagavad Gita as he enjoins Arjuna to get up off the floor of his chariot and fight the battle that is before him.

On the eve of the defining battle of his lifetime, Arjuna lies despondent; his bow and arrows cast aside. He has surveyed the battlefield and found not nameless strangers, but rather his family members, his teachers, and people he has known his whole life ready for combat against him. They have chosen to fight for a ruler representing injustice, oppression, prejudice, and greed. Arjuna is overwhelmed with grief and tries to rationalize his way out of the fight. Krishna will have none of it for the opposing forces must not be allowed sway, and inaction is an illusion.

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most relevant texts for us to read and understand in the West right now.

Standing Rock. Political divide. Black Lives Matter. Racism. Implicit bias. Misogyny. Prejudice. Fear. I admit to spending time recently, as Arjuna did, on the floor, unable to speak, unable to move for the despair I felt. Yet just like many of you, I feel Krishna surge in my belly, exhorting me to action. It is well past time to stand. It is well past time to shout. The defining battle is at hand. What action will you take? I repeat; inaction is illusion.

The gift of this time of unrest is an opportunity to address elements of our culture, elements of our own psychology, which we would rather press into shadow. It is an uncomfortable opportunity, but an opportunity nonetheless. How do we act wisely?

The Bhagavad Gita still offers her insight.

Deep Dive into the Bhagavad Gita Register HERE
January 6,7,8; January 20,21,22; February 3, 4,5; February 17,18,19 Times: Fri. 6:30-9:30; Sat. 12-4; Sun. 2-5

Price $599 before December 13, 2016; $799 after
40 hours of Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Credits

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4:55 pm

“I really like hands-on adjustments”


 by Lisa Wells
 
Last Tuesday, I had a new student in class.  I asked, as I always do, “Is there anything you’d like me to know about your body?”  I’ve honed this phrase over the years to acknowledge my desire to help students while not sounding like a medical practitioner.  This student told me about a few physical issues, and then said “I really like hands-on adjustments.  And please tell me when my alignment is off.” 

I had to tell the student that I rarely make hands-on adjustments when teaching group yoga classes.  I don’t often correct alignment unless it is clear to me that I can bring more comfort and ease, sukha, to a pose. The truth is, the more I’ve learned the less I know about what any yoga pose should ‘look like.’  Given the wide variety of the human form, the wide variety of injuries, the wide variety of arthritis and auto-immune disorders, PTSD and other ailments that clients bring to class with them, it feels hazardous to impose a form on a body if I can’t be in dialog with the person that I am working with.  I want the student to articulate what any adjustment feels like. I need the student to feel comfortable saying ‘stop’ if I am pushing them into a range of motion that feels painful or injurious. That kind of dialog is possible only in one-on-one or small group settings.  

In private sessions with clients, I do all kinds of hands-on adjustments. I use a variety of hands-on techniques, from my therapeutic yoga training to Ki-Hara Resistance Stretches or the Trauma Releasing Exercises to help my students be more comfortable in their bodies. And, they can tell me how they feel as we work together. We reduce the risk of injury with dialog.  We find new ease and a reduction of pain through exploring movement together. It’s a very exciting process.   And it is a very intimate process.  

I am more interested in what a pose or movement feels like than what it looks like. If we choose to follow Patanjali’s teachings, one of the primary tools of yoga is dharana, focused attention.  Dharana is one of my primary teaching goals: focused attention on the body and the breath.  The pose may or may not look like a pose in a book, my classes are likely to include all kinds of movements or shapes that don’t look anything like what we’ve come to know as the traditional postures. And, I invite my students to pay attention as they move in and through poses. I invite students to notice how the poses feel in their bodies and to adjust the pose based on sensation and awareness.

I imagine the yoga poses were originally discovered by a similar curiosity.  Yogis exploring motion and awareness. Yogis exploring how to move energy and emotion in their bodies to ultimately find mental focus and stillness.   The ancient yogis were not particularly interested in a yoga butt or most of our modern yoga goals. There was no instagram or facebook to post selfies or to feed their egos over advanced pose achievement.  Rather, the poses helped them find their way into deeper meditation.  The poses helped them to focus their minds toward the ultimate goal of achieving Samadhi, full meditative absorption in big Self beyond this temporal body.

Returning to my point, I cannot keep track of the nuances of all the bodies in a group classroom. Maybe other teachers can, but that is beyond my skill set. I cannot engage in real dialog with a single student I’m adjusting when there are 20 other students in the room to tend to. It is also difficult for a student to speak their needs or boundaries around touch when being witnessed by a room full of acquaintances or strangers.   As such, the possibility of my injuring you with an adjustment is just too high.  I’m not willing to take that risk.  

The human form is beautiful.  The human body comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and with a wide variety of injuries and health issues. There is no particular shape a pose should look like. My hope is that the poses and movements of yoga help you feel alive, reduce your pain, and help you be present in this amazing moment.  Maybe, with enough attention to the details of the pose, we’ll begin to find our way into meditative absorption. We might begin to taste Samadhi.

So, the take-home message here is, if you really like hands-on adjustments, see me for private instruction. We can do some good work together!

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5:00 pm

Yoga Inspiration for Difficult Times

By Lisa Wells

One of the oldest meanings of yoga is to yoke, but not to yoke just anything, yoga refers to yoking a wild horse to a chariot. The human mind was observed to behave like a wild horse, liable to start and jump at any whim.  Patanjali, who wrote the yoga sutras some 2000 years ago says that yoga is attained through practice and imperturbability.  In other words the wild horse of the mind can be trained to best benefit if we practice daily, remain steadfast and focused, and do not allow life’s irritations to divert us from our goals. 

In the Bhagavad Gita, a mythologic text contemporary to the Yoga Sutras, Krishna says that yoga is selfless action. Krishna tells Arjuna, the hero of the epic, that he must show up on the battlefield of life and act, do his dharma, his calling, and let go of the fruits of his actions.  In a simple modern colloquialism: “do the footwork and let go of the result.”  Krishna is a god incarnate, Arjuna is a warrior.  Krishna does not tell Arjuna to go into the forest and pray. He does not tell Arjuna to turn the other cheek or wash the feet of his enemies.  He says, and I summarize, “You are a warrior, it is your calling to fight a righteous battle, you must show up and fight the battle before you.  You may not win, but you may not turn away.”  

So what will I do in this time of turmoil?  I will take the lessons of yoga and I will show up for my life.  I will practice meditation and yoga postures and movement.  I will stay strong and healthy so that I may arrive on the battlefield of my life prepared for what is put in front of me.  I will do the footwork and let go of the outcome of my actions.

In daily life, this looks like my mundane daily meditation.  I sit in my garden lean-to every morning rain or shine for 30 minutes to an hour.  Later in the day I will move my body through yoga postures, dance, bike riding, weight lifting.  I will will enjoy the moment of life that I am in. I will support those in need and I will step forward to defend the harassed and abused. I will minimize my participation in consumer culture and I will conserve resources.  I will boycott companies that perpetuate abuse on the planet or other humans.  I will write letters. I will call politicians and business people who have the power to protect both native people and the planet.  

I plan to be leaving to join the Standing Rock Water Protectors within the next couple of weeks.  I am called to show up in support of those standing up on the battlefield of indigenous rights, the rights of the environment and the planet.  I intend to be willing to put my body where my heart is and to show up where I am needed and can make a difference.  If you would like to support Standing Rock and have North Dakota-winter-reliable resources to gift to the Standing Rock Protectors (sub-zero shelter, propane stoves, solar panels, oak or ash firewood, financial donations) please feel free to contact me. Or offer your donations to the Native American Longhouse at OSU or directly to the Water Protectors online.  

Finally, I will keep these words of @sonofbaldwin in the forefront of my mind : “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”  

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1:01 pm

Yoga Sutra 1:1 by Lisa Wells

join the flow of yoga

yoga sutra 1.1
atha yoganusasanam

atha:  now, beginning, in this moment, in this work
yoga: to yoke, to join, to train a wild horse to a chariot
anusanam: a continuing discourse, further teaching, the flow of knowledge

There is a paradox here at the beginning of the sutras.  We are going to begin something that is continuing.  We are going to join the flow of the stream. The discussion has been ongoing, perhaps since the beginning of time or awareness. But each of us has to join in at some point, and now is that moment.  We begin.

What is this flow of knowledge that we will join?  Yoga: the yoking of a wild horse to a chariot. Yoga is the training of the urges of the mind, the wild horse, so it doesn’t run wild pulling us randomly in different directions.  To train is to concentrate the movement of the mind on a goal.  What goal?  We’ll find that out in the following sutras.

So, the yoga sutras begin with the acknowledgement that this technology of mind has been taught before and it is our time to join the stream of that knowledge. And the stream of knowledge will teach us to tame our minds toward a higher goal. More will be revealed.

Tuesdays, from 5:30-6:30 we will meditate and join the flow of knowledge of the yoga sutras.  We'll spend about half of the time meditating, about half of the time discussing the sutras.  And then, if we continue like we did last night, we'll hang around and talk about our personal meditation practices and how meditation benefits our lives. There is a richness, a sweetness, of meditating with others.  Join the flow!




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6:01 pm

Why I Meditate (and why you should too) by Katelin Gallagher


Ha, I hate shoulds. Should is indeed shit.  Please excuse the tongue-in-cheek title of this post. Nevertheless, you are most thoroughly invited to join me in some meditation this year.

As many of you know, the start of the meditation immersion (a 10-month, weekend-based program) is nearing and I’m feeling the potency of this time, as it’s a birth of the most meaningful project I’ve ever worked on. I’ve dedicated much of my life to my meditation practice…I travel 3-4 times per year to study with my teachers and extended community, I’m researching contemplative philosophies in graduate school here at OSU, practice is at the center of my day, and I’ve made this work my life’s work.  While these are landmarks of my path, I developed the meditation immersion with something else in mind.  Along with a few of my mentors and friends, I created this program so that deep meditative practice, training and community could be accessible right here at home.

Here is why I meditate. On a good day, meditation helps me to step into a more thoughtful, compassionate, and wise version of myself.  I move through the world with greater clarity, ease, lucidity, and trust in the unknown unfolding of life.  I’m certainly a better teacher when my practice is thorough and steady, and I breathe more, slow down more, savor, offer gratitude, and I have greater sensitivity to the infinite ethical complexities that life brings.  On bad days, the training bestowed by regular meditation practice has helped me to meet the more difficult aspects of life – pain, suffering, loneliness, anxiety, overwhelm, anger, stress, grief – with little bits more presence, grace, and tenderness.  And that, perhaps, is one of my biggest motivators for practice.  Meditation training helps when things suck.  Who couldn’t use a few more pocketfulls of renewable grace, tenderness, and presence?
 
I personally just don’t buy it when some marketing touts happiness or bliss as an outcome of learning a practice or attending a course or whatever. Struggle, however, is something I know and relate to well. Yet… it is quite curious what happens when I – over time, with earnest practice – hold myself and others in presence and compassion throughout the full spectrum of life experience.  Little by little, meditation practice has sharpened my attentional faculties for, in moments of grace, something more subtle, even blissful.  I’m infinitely grateful to have been trained in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage that supports and educates solitary retreat practice.  This, most especially has offered glimmers, glimpses into the greatest and sweetest curiosities of my life, into largely unseen, or unnoticed realities. Training for deep retreat practice and basking in the natural wisdom that arises for each of us when we become quiet are of the central intentions of this program,

I hope you’ll join us for some or all of the program, if you feel the pull (portions of each module are also open on a drop-in basis).  The program in its full conception, however, is deliciously comprehensive.  It is designed for those who desire a unique, immersive experience supported by a co-hort and for those planning to guide meditation, or who are already teaching yoga.  A fellow yogi told me recently that she was intimidated by the program.  You’re welcome wherever you are at in your practice, we will start together at the very beginning. You can drop-in to our first session and explore the possibilities from there.  If cost is a great concern, we’re happy to extend the early bird pricing until Friday 9/9. Talk to the front desk staff at Live Well for payment plan options. We truly want to help make this in reach for you.

The full immersion schedule & more information can be found here.

The drop-in schedule and registration links can be found here.

Check out other opportunities to learn meditation in town right here.

You can catch free online meditation audios here.

You could also just sit down and breathe deeply and relax for a while, that’s a good start.

Don’t should on yourself. Just practice, the opportunities to do so are infinite and always, always available.

Love, Kate

 

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7:07 pm

Lisa’s dispatches from vacation…


I’m off on the other coast this week. We spent a few days in New York City, saw some shows, ate fine food, & sweat like fools.  Now we’re in upstate New York at the Omega Institute.  It’s deep green here, and like Corvallis, trees grow like weeds.  Chipmunks and cottontails meander in and out of the brush and the bugs don’t bite too much. The food is vegan and it is a bit like Breitenbush, but bigger and without the hot springs. There is an east coast leisure clothing aesthetic that I rarely see at home, a bit more upscale than Breitenbush is, but a good number of hippies none the less.  I do feel more at ease here than in the city, at least some of the women are make-up free. 

While in New York I took a couple of yoga classes from J. Brown.  He coined the term ‘Gentle is the New Advanced.’ I listen to his podcast.  I was really excited to meet him and experience his class in person.

The space is sweet, about the same size as Live Well. It’s in Brooklyn, a short L-train ride from our Airbnb in the Chelsea district.  The neighborhood appears to be working class, with the addition of a juice bar and a yoga studio.

I took two wonderful nuggets from Js class:  First, stop practicing yoga to achieve something.  Culturally, we Americans are strivers.  We push for the pose just out of our bounds.  We push ourselves farther in meditation in the hopes to achieve… enlightenment, stress reduction, an illusive peace?  Js advice is to stop using yoga to achieve anything, and instead to use yoga to be healthy and functional just as we are.  Yoga is a tool to live a healthy good life as the ordinary human beings that we are. 

The second sweet nugget was Js tree pose practice. He said that tree pose wasn’t about improving balance. You don’t need to balance on one leg and reach overhead to have a healthy life.  But you do need to be able to laugh at yourself when you fall or fail.  So, we practice tree pose to practice laughing at our falls.  We practice tree pose to stop taking ourselves so god-dammed seriously.  Try it right now:  Stand on one leg, bring the other foot to rest on your inner shin, knee or thigh, and lose your balance.  Smile, giggle, chuckle as your lifted foot comes to the floor to catch you.  You can fall.  You can fail.  And you can laugh at yourself.  Now that is a useful skill. Thanks J.

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