Gratitude affects healing?

Published on Saturday, May 21st, 2016

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Living a life of gratitude does affect healing, according to numerous social science and psychology studies. A mind that is focused on gratitude doesn’t have the space to ruminate on the negative of life. This positive outlook effects our physiology, reducing inflammation(and all its negative consequences) in our body.f Some folks say that gratitude is the parent virtue of all virtues. If putting gratitude forward in our life leaves little room for negativity, reducing our stress levels and increasing our happiness, our overall health and wellbeing will improve. Can we make gratitude as natural as breathing? I believe we can.

There are many ways to incorporate gratitude into our lives. As will all change we want to adopt, making a conscious habit of turning our minds toward gratitude takes some effort. There are many techniques: journaling, mantras, meditation, actions performed with gratitude. I hope we each can find a way to make this healing habit part of us in a way that we find meaningful.

This week’s yoga practice will focus on the healing power of gratitude. As we use our bodies in asana, we can use our mind and spirits to radiate open hearted gratitude. Come join us on Monday, May 23 from 6:30-8 pm at the UU Church of Fresno!

Next Monday, May 30, 2016 Memorial Day, there will be no class.


What is healing to you?

Published on Saturday, May 14th, 2016

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Do we define healing by our own personal experience(or stories we hear from others)? By that I mean, do we strictly think of “healing” as a cure from a disease or condition? Or do we take the mind/body/spirit approach to healing; knowing that when a physical healing does not occur, perhaps a mind/spirit healing does? Are we an active participant in our wellness? What does personal wellness look like to us? I can tell you that from where I stand today, I measure the quality of my own wellness in a more understanding, gentle way (than I did in the past). I believe that one of the many gifts of aging is being present with my own physical, mental and spiritual changes. Letting go of what is not possible anymore and honoring the possible.

One aspect of our own healing (on any level) that we can actively participate in is managing our stress. The last decade in medical research and knowledge has given more credence to the detrimental effects of stress on our beings. Learning ways to handle daily stress is a key to wellness. A yoga and meditation practice can be a great tool for you in finding ways to decrease stress.

For our time together this week, we will focus on how yoga, pranayama (breathing), mediation and purposeful relaxation can be useful tools in wellness and healing. Join us May 16, Monday, from 6:30-8pm at the UU Church of Fresno for a time of healing. All are welcome!


May: A focus on healing

Published on Saturday, May 7th, 2016

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Our Monday nite yoga focus follows the monthly Church theme. This month is healing, a rich theme for yoga. Each of us gets the opportunity to define “healing” for ourselves: physical, emotional, spiritual. The practice of yoga is both a personal and practical one. Come for physical healing and you may find spiritual or emotional healing. If we subscribe to the notion that mind, body, spirit are not just connected, but are indeed one system, it is an easy step to see how yoga practice is integrative. I came to yoga for physical healing and found so much more!

In addition to our gentle practice this week, I will add a few offerings from Kundalini yoga. This system of yoga focuses on awakening energy while providing a stress reducing practice. I mentioned last blog entry attending a Kundalini yoga class while in Southern California. Since that time, I have done a little study and a beginner’s Kundalini yoga practice that you may find enjoyable.

We gather on Monday, May 9 at the UU Church of Fresno on Alluvial, from 6:30-8:00. We always welcome new yogis who may have never tried the practice, and those who are seasoned. Please join us as we focus on our own healing!

For more info on Kundalini Yoga, The Huffington Post article: Introduction to Kundalini: The Yoga of Awareness is a good source.


Be adventurous this Spring!

Published on Sunday, May 1st, 2016

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I was fortunate enough to travel a bit this week. Whenever I travel, I try to take a yoga class in a studio in that locale. I found a lovely little studio in Old Towne Orange California called Sunspark Yoga(sunsparkyoga.com). This is a small studio owned by a husband and wife team who are dedicated to providing yoga to their community. What called me to this particular studio was the styles of yoga and that Stacey, one of the owners, has given a TED talk.

What will bring you a sense of adventure this Spring?

This week’s yoga class will be a Yin Class. If you are new to yoga, look on the right hand side of this blog for a link to Yin yoga explanation. We meet May 2, Monday, from 6:30-8pm at the UU Church of Fresno. All are welcome!


Yoga Under the Oaks

Published on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Last week I mentioned an opportunity to practice under the Oaks at the Mackenzie Preserve of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy. The Preserve is located about 20 minutes outside of Fresno off Auberry Road. You can read more about the class and the instructor on the conservancy website at www.sierrafoothill.org. Check the out the tab “classes and hikes” to read about the class Saturday, May 7. The cost is $10 if you aren’t a member, free if you are a member. It could be a good time to become a member, as there are many hikes and educational opportunities available.
You can also access the website if you look on the right hand side of this page and click on Sierra Foothill Conservancy.

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Fearlessly facing change

Published on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

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One of the Buddhist concepts surrounding fear, is walking toward that which we fear, rather than running from it. The idea is that when you walk toward that which you fear, it loses it’s power over your emotions. When the power is gone, we can view that which we feared, as”no big deal”. In my own life, I find that fear about a situation usually comes from my listening to the viewpoint and reports of others. While it is important to listen to others, we must remember that what they relate to us is their unique viewpoint. When we go into the unknown carrying someone else’s viewpoint, then we are not fully present. Change seem to me , to be less “painful” when it is our experience, our approach.

Please join us this week for our Monday nite yoga practice. On Monday 4/25, we meet at 6:30-8pm at the UU Church of Fresno. Our time together is spent in meditation, pranayama and asana practice.


Gather our energy to prepare for change

Published on Saturday, April 16th, 2016

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How does staying in the “now” help us deal with change? Does it help us trick ourself by not thinking about the future? I think we can’t help but think about the future. We need to plan for dinner, for a vacation, for our retirement. These events are real. A prepared person is wise to make plans for them. I think the message here though is not to miss the “now” by placing your attention fully in the future. And yesterday seems to be the focus of our brain tapes that we replay frequently. Going over and over our mistakes or “should haves’,can bring down our attitude . We can set our daily intention to focus more on the now and less on the past and future. When we do this, change remains a factor, but not the star of the show.
Yoga, particularly an Ananda yoga practice, can help us gather our energies and direct them in a positive direction. We have control of thoughts thru the practices or meditation and asana (poses). Ananda yoga mantras and focus on the energy our bodies generate during our practice and can help us learn to direct that energy to our brain.
Please join us on Monday April 18, from 6:30-8pm of our weekly practice. We will utilize and discuss energy flow during our practice. Come join us!


Contemplating change and adaptation

Published on Saturday, April 9th, 2016

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Change. Our physical changes can be subtle or dramatic.How we react to them provides us with the opportunity to learn how to adapt.

Several years ago I broke my ankle. This meant 6 weeks of no weight bearing and then several months of wearing a restrictive brace. This can be problematic for life in general, but as a yoga teacher, I found this limitation doubly challenging. I truly felt broken. My take away from this time was that the practice, my needing to adapt to my physical limits, challenged my ego more than my body! Of course, I healed, and I realized that my body was not always going to be able what it did even the day before. Learning to be realistic about change and how I wished to adapt was an incredible lesson that I am mindful of on a daily basis.

As our class grows, yogis come to our group with a variety of physical limitations. Just sitting on the floor can be daunting for some! This week, we will have a practice in the chair. You can google “Chair Yoga” and see that many of the poses can be adapted to the chair. I invite all yogis this week, to practice in the chair. I think you will be amazed that what this brings to your practice.
Please join us on Monday nite, April 11 from 6:30-8pm at the UU Church of Fresno.I invite you to try Chair Yoga (the practice will be such that you can also do it without the chair)this week and maybe have a breaking thru moment!


Impermanence

Published on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

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Our focus for April is impermanence. We all know that change is the constant in life. But taking the idea of change a step further, we come to impermanence, our own, our love ones, everything. Some will find this idea depressing. It is the reality we all live with. Once we decide that we want to look at impermanence, maybe even ease into the idea, how best to do this? Or even, why do this? Here’s what Buddhist nun and teacher, Pema Chodron says,

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.”

How will you do things differently? Think differently? Our challenge of this month and beyond.

Please join us for our Yin yoga practice on Monday, April 4 from 6:30-8pm at the UU Church of Fresno. Our Yin practice will give us time go focus on impermanence and what it means to each of us.


Are you following your bliss?

Published on Saturday, March 26th, 2016

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This month, we are shinning a light on faith. Faith in ourselves and the possibilities faith can usher into our lives. Yoga can provide us with the process of developing faith in the possibilities for our bodies, minds and spirits. It is a tool, available to all, to apply to our everyday lives. Movement, meditation and mindfulness bring the possibilities of deeper connections.

Please join us on March 28th, Monday, from 6:30-8 pm at the UU Church of Fresno for our weekly yoga practice. Our practice this week will be an Ananda inspired practice. See the side bar for more information!