Feeling Vibrant

How do we feel vibrant, ageless and alive? For me it’s when I feel a loving connection. I can feel my heart expand when I am attuned to Shoshanna, my seven-year-old granddaughter, whether I have that rare opportunity to be in her presence, or even when I conjure up an image of her in my heart’s mind. Science corroborates my experience. Our hearts literally swell when we feel love, and they shrink when we grieve. Grieving is a natural part of our lives, not to be tamped down, but there comes a time when we must turn our faces to the sun, when we must let joy flow through the grief, even if it’s only a small stream. For the [...]

Feeling Vibrant2022-04-04T07:36:10-07:00

Even the memory of love expands the heart.

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, [...]

Even the memory of love expands the heart.2022-04-04T07:36:10-07:00

NEW MUST-READ for Therapists, Yogis, and Self Care Seekers

Why do I say Joanne Spence’s new book Trauma-Informed Yoga is a must-read? If you, as a mental health, yoga or other healing professional, support people in recovery from a history of trauma and associated mood disorders, you will love this book. Stephen Porges, PhD changed our understanding of the body-mind’s response to threat when he published Polyvagal Theory in 2011. Deb Dana, LCSW brought that understanding into the treatment room when she published The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy in 2018, and in the simplest and most accessible of ways, Joanne Spence, BSW, MA, helps us non-neuroscientists take hold of the “Autonomic Ladder” and support our clients and students as they rise to safety and connection. When I read Trauma-Informed Yoga for the first time (disclaimer—I read it a [...]

NEW MUST-READ for Therapists, Yogis, and Self Care Seekers2022-04-04T07:36:13-07:00

And STILL, MEDITATION STILLS

Do you have trouble meditating? Does your mind seem too active to find stillness? Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind; simple, yes, but not often easy. When I began to meditate, I went on "rounding" meditation weekends, and the group practice made it easier than practicing at home alone. In fact, the depression that clouded my mind created a lot of negative self-talk, no matter if I practiced with my mantra or focused on the breath. When I closed my eyes, my self-critical part took the lead. Sound familiar? Later, when I added yoga practices to "give my mind a bone"--mudras, mantra chanting, pranayama, kriya, body sensing--I found a portal into a quiet mind. [...]

And STILL, MEDITATION STILLS2022-04-04T07:36:13-07:00

Increasing Courage Amidst Fear

Dear Ones, As we Americans face the inauguration, fear arises in many of us. Many have expressed the fear of the violence that may erupt in coming weeks and months. Most of us are expressing fear of the hate and distrust that has gone underground. What to do to create ease? I’m finding two things that are particularly supporting my sense of personal courage and confidence right now. One is taking a small action, any action, to serve in my community, and the other is a practice for calm strength and energy. My present action is here: The "Trashy Divas", a group of us in Tucson, gather every month to clear our favorite trail. Yes, it’s small in the scheme [...]

Increasing Courage Amidst Fear2021-01-19T15:59:14-07:00

The Promise that Keeps Me Going

Dears Ones, do you know how hard it is to release your first published novel (Temple Dancer, September 8th!), especially in a pandemic? These days, I’m immersed in the hard part—promotion. What keeps my head above water is that I feel I’m fulfilling a promise I made 26 years ago. After a second sojourn in India, I received a gift from an eight-year-old girl, born in India in 1930—Saraswati’s voice. Saraswati became a temple dancer (devadasi), auspicious and then later disgraced. When I learned about the decimation of the devadasi culture, I knew I was given her story for a reason—it was meant to be shared. Birthing a Book It has taken me twenty-five years. Those years included writing books [...]

The Promise that Keeps Me Going2020-11-10T19:47:14-07:00

A practice to widen the window while flattening the curve

During the Pandemic, many conflicting emotions are arising for me, as I imagine they have for you. I am grateful to be well, to be living with my partner in peace and in love, and to be learning new technologies in order to offer free online webinars and practices during this time. I’m a slow learner, and I’m crawling like a baby up the learning curve, whining as I go! Throughout it all, there have been moments of sadness, as I hear about the mounting death toll and read the stories of individuals who have succumbed, or about others who have unwittingly spread the virus by hugging a relative at a funeral or praying in a church while on vacation. [...]

A practice to widen the window while flattening the curve2020-11-10T19:50:03-07:00

Need Elevation? Welcome a yoga nidra break!

As fall gets underway and winter approaches, stress can increase. Between shorter days and darker weather, new school schedules, end-of-year deadlines, or holiday commitments, perceived pressures can mount, so be sure and make time for yourself. I designed this evidence-based LifeForce Yoga Nidra especially to elevate mood. Move through the traditional body sensing and breath awareness, to an exploration of the opposites of sensation and emotion. Then dive into a sustained period of ananda, which in Sanskrit means bliss. Enjoy this elevating nidra any time you'd like a boost in your mood, or when lethargy or depression is visiting. It's about 32 minutes long, and won't overstimulate you but leave you feeling a calm sense of peace and contentment. [...]

Need Elevation? Welcome a yoga nidra break!2020-11-10T19:51:01-07:00

Full Moon Glow – Just Ask

When you see me glowing with happiness under the full moon, please don’t assume that I feel this way all the time. Like anyone’s life, there are moments of happiness and moments of grief. In my case, depression and anxiety have been the default since early childhood. We don’t transform our essential nature, but we learn, through our yoga practice and through healthy healing relationships, that we are not alone in the way we feel, and that we are so much more than any particular feeling. Because I walk the Cliff Walk at sunrise often while I’m in Rhode Island, the great beauty of nature—the changing cloud formations, the bird song, the placid or crashing waves, the sun obscured or [...]

Full Moon Glow – Just Ask2020-11-10T19:51:36-07:00

Bhavana. Still finding your groove?

Thank you for your article, Mara Gordon (see link below)! Your piece hit home because it relates to so much of what I teach. It’s lovely to read how science is validating what those of us in LifeForce Yoga® (LFY) have long understood: finding and living our life’s mission is principal to vibrant wellbeing! In my LFY to Manage Your Mood workshops, we spend significant time shedding the layers of Unknowing that block us from understanding our true purpose. We practice visualizations of those who've said “yes!” to our dreams. Then we cultivate the ability to say yes to them ourselves. Sometimes, this involves understanding the family legacy stored in our DNA which could be a source of our self-limitations. [...]

Bhavana. Still finding your groove?2020-11-10T19:52:58-07:00
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