Staying Steady Through Instability It may be a challenge to go within when outside events are tumultuous and frightening. However, now is the most critical time to continue or begin your spiritual practice. It will see you through whatever tensions our world is offering to us all right now. For inspiration think of the suffering experienced by Thich Nhat Hanh during the Vietnam War, his escape and life in exile. Think of Nelson Mandela, struggling to end apartheid in South Africa and suffering abuse and incarceration for 27 years. They each had a profound inner connection to silence. I believe many survivors do. Whatever your practice looks like. consider these points: ✦ Practice a little EVERY day. It doesn’t matter when [...]
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So far Liz has created 39 blog entries.
When I suffered from depression, I felt numb, not sad. I lived in a fog of unfeeling. Now, when sadness hits, as it invariably does, like it did today when I heard that a friend is in ICU with Covid, I feel it. I didn’t always understand how important it is for my mental health to feel all my feelings, not just the “good” ones. If I can let myself cry, the release opens the channels for joy to flow. If I feel the barbs of life and breathe them into my heart, they pass through me. If I let myself feel the hard stuff with an open heart, my heart stays open to feel the good stuff—the pleasure of dancing, of [...]
Dear Ones, Today, we remember a teacher, mentor, and friend, Ruth Adeline Hartung, who died last week. Director of Seven Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona for over twenty years, Ruth was known to her students as Sraddhasagar —Sanskrit for Ocean of Faith — and that she was. She was a force for good and an inspiration to me. Sraddha’s devotion to serving took her often to the Middle East, where she trained yoga teacher trainers to help embattled and traumatized people through the nightmare of ongoing conflict. Her commitment to core yoga teaching included philosophy, diet, shatkarmas and kriyas, in addition to the more common teachings of asana and pranayama. This made her program, Influenced in part by the great Rama Jyoti Vernon, [...]
When conflict arises, and when an incident disturbs our peace of mind, we have choices. We can turn the conflict over and over in the mind, our thoughts spinning ever tighter, like the bands inside a golf ball, as anxiety increases. We can attempt to forget it, just toss the betrayal over the fence. Both of these choices close us down. A part of the mind constricts. If we follow the first course of action, obsessing about the incident, we can lose sleep, we can be distracted from our work, and we can distance ourselves from our intimates. Eventually, the knotted ball of pain is internalized in the body, joining in with a chronic tension in the shoulders or neck, [...]
Yoga Interventions to Shift Depression Along with the pandemic, mood disorders have reached epidemic proportions. Depression is four times more prevalent than it was before the pandemic when 40 million Americans reported suffering from anxiety and depression. This is affecting young adults at even higher levels and deaths from drug overdose and suicide in that population are skyrocketing. There are simple practices from the yoga tradition that can be effective in bringing us into balance and many don’t require a yoga mat or previous yoga experience. When I founded LifeForce Yoga in 2004, it was to make these practices accessible for those without a yoga background who might not find their way to a yoga studio or who might not [...]
My heart is full! Last week's launch of my new YOGA FOR YOUR MOOD CARD DECK has been gratifying. So many of you have reached out to say it's making a difference in your life. As someone who suffered from an anxiety-based depression for many years, I know personally the relief that yoga can bring. That's why I have been teaching and writing about it for nearly thirty years. Portable mental health is key in these troubling times. We all need some relief, and these short, powerful interventions can shift your mindset. I love seeing your images, please keep those photos coming - it's wonderful to see them near and far. Here is a recent article I penned for the Yoga [...]
Dear Ones, My heart is full of love, and excitement, and my head is in a tizzy! Next week, I will be seeing my beloved daughter and three grandchildren, the third of whom I have only met on video calls. Over these past 18 months, they have celebrated birthdays, graduations, recitals and other momentous events. Since they live in Canada, I have missed out on it all. Finally, after so many missed moments, we'll reunite for 6 days on Coney Island! Will I be able to keep up with their buoyant little-kid energy and enthusiasms? My daughter is competent, so I trust her to arrange their Kosher food needs, as I usually screw up some of that. I also don’t [...]
Here I am in my happy place, right? Right. And yet, I wish I could transplant this dreary weather to the Sonoran desert that needs the rain and humidity so desperately. This morning, the skies are gray. Again. In the 13 days since I arrived, there hasn't been a beach day. So, like everything else that seems to disappoint, I need to look at my expectations, which are always the source of my suffering. When I do that, I can also see the gifts hidden in the gray. First, there is the great privilege of taking a vacation. What a gift it is to me to reconnect with dear friends on the East Coast in balance with the lovely solitude [...]
Dear Ones, Despite or because of the many rainy days since I arrived in Rhode Island, the waters of Narraganset Bay nourish my soul. I am blessed to begin my day with a standing practice surrounded by water. This is Naragansett Bay. :) We can’t always be on vacation in our happy place, so it’s vital to cultivate a healing practice wherever we wake up in the morning. Click below for the 3rd video in my Metro Meditations series that I recorded in downtown Tucson before I left. These quick videos are short, potent interventions, doable anywhere, anytime for a quick shift. This is a working vacation for me. Yesterday, after lunch with old friends, I finished a second draft of the screenplay for Temple Dancer and, along with [...]
Dear Ones, Mood happens. We all know this, because though many of us have been vaccinated, none of us have been immunized against our shifting moods over these last 15 months. Even if we're not clinically depressed or anxious, we've known depression, lethargy and panic. Although there's no replacement for therapy, be it psychotherapy or yoga therapy, there are some really quick, effective ways to shift your mood in the moment. That's what my new YOGA FOR YOUR MOOD DECK from Sounds True is all about. It's a quick entry to therapeutic practices and self-regulation skills for every body. The Yoga for Your Mood Deck has already been recognized as an important contribution in this review, and I'm grateful [...]