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2:06 pm

Right here, right now...Some thoughts about Mindfulness. By Catherine Orzech

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.


It’s incredible how often being on auto-pilot works and gets us where we want to go without having an accident. But the question I ask myself is: at what cost? 


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

11:45 am

Yoga Mad Lib: Kadee Mardula

A big thank you and hug to Kadee Mardula for playing Yoga Mad Lib with us! 


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.


Yoga Mad Lib Play was inspired by Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga and Yoga Dork.


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.


  1. Adjective
  2. Adjective
  3. yoga pose you struggle with
  4. verb
  5. noun (body part)
  6. yoga pose you love
  7. yoga teacher’s name
  8. adjective
  9. verb
  10. noun
  11. adverb
  12. adjective
  13. past tense verb
  14. noun


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!

12:27 pm

Hypnotic Pain Relief

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.


Elizabeth Weber

Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, CHP