Are Private Clients needy?

yoga therapist1

I have a private client that was attending an event downtown recently and she was seated at a table with a local yoga teacher. During their conversation my client mentioned she did yoga but had a private teacher. The person she was talking to said she did not take private clients because private clients were ‘just too needy’……. Hummmm well my knee jerk reaction is “what a jerk!” but that’s not very Yogi like is it. So I thought about it for a minute and I know that each of us has our talents and the gifts we were born with. And I’ guessing that her gift is something other than working with private clients. It does take a specific skill set to be successful at working one on one.

But I think it’s her perception of private clients as being needy that I took the most exception too. It is way off base……They aren’t needy but they are in need. They need the specialized training that a private yoga teacher has. If you had a heart problem you wouldn’t go to a General Practice Doctor you’d go to a Cardiologist. If you need help with your teeth you see a dentist. If you are training for an Iron Man event you don’t go to your local gym and hire just any Trainer you hire someone who specializes in coaching athletes.

And the people who go to a dentist, cardiologist or hire a coach aren’t considered needy. But they do have a need.

DSC03887B&W

And just as not all yoga teachers are gifted as private teachers, private yoga isn’t for every student. Most of you will never have that ‘need’. But don’t assume that because someone is hiring a private yoga teacher that they are needy and just want a lot of attention. All of my clients have very specific needs, such as pain reduction, mobility issues, illness or injury recovery to getting ready for a marathon or Iron Man (and many others). But whatever your reason it should be looked at as part of your self-care regime. Just like getting a massage, seeing a chiropractor or having your teeth cleaned it’s all part of what you do to keep yourself health and well.

You keep doing what you need to do to be healthy and well!

 

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Be Gentle

Being gentle with yourself doesn’t mean lying around doing nothing

Being gentle with yourself means practicing ahimsa with yourself

Being gentle with yourself is a gift…. Not only to yourself but to those who love you

Being gentle with yourself means recognizing your light and doing what is needed to fuel your fire

Being gentle with yourself today is needed

When yesterday depleted you

And tomorrow looms

Be gentle

For tomorrow may kick your ass and then you will be thankful for today

Be gentle once in a while

You are worth it

~c

Om Shanti

Restorative Quote

Sensation

Sensation

The Merriam Webster definition

:a particular feeling or effect that your body experiences

: a particular feeling or experience that may not have a real cause

: the ability to feel things through your physical senses

keep-calm-with-constructive-rest-257x300

When you are doing yoga are you always looking for something to feel? Looking for a sensation? I have taught for many years and throughout those years I have taught a lot of newcomers, people who don’t  know they have a body let alone understand it. So a lot of my teaching has had the idea of looking for ‘sensation’. Feel this or look there. This is helpful to people beginning to explore their bodies and to understand what and where their pain may be.

Hopefully they eventually get to a point where there is no longer a need to look. Over time you learn to connect to your body,  you know it so well that you know your edges, your challenges and you know when they change and shift. But sometimes it’s the absence of sensation we should be noting. I’ll explain.

I had a student in class last week make an interesting point; we had been doing a yummy psoas release (notice I didn’t say stretch) using a block and after class he said he couldn’t feel his psoas. I said most people can’t since they didn’t know where to look, he said he was well acquainted with it since he had been in PT several times for sports injuries. He said no matter how hard he stretched in the pose he couldn’t feel it. I wondered if maybe he was trying too hard. That sometimes it’s more about the letting go of sensation not chasing after it.

Well that conversation got me to thinking about sensation and the need for it in a yoga practice. Yoga teachers, me included, are always asking for students to ‘find their edge’ but here’s the thing most people are on the edge all the time, whether in pain or  stressed out. Maybe we should add a few minutes in our practice to explore the absence of sensation.

I work with a lot of people in pain or at least a lot of discomfort. They feel sensation all the time, some even constantly, so for them we are usually working on letting go of the ‘sensation’, moving past it or around it. To learn to move in ways that aren’t the sensation of ‘pain’. But this idea can also apply to someone who may not be in pain, but their body is tight and stiff, rigid, stuck. Sometimes we need to change the need to feel a strong sensation when stretching (that  hard ‘pull’ or ‘tug‘) maybe we could work towards feeling no sensation at all. Instead try simply letting go of, moving away from, sensation. Sometimes when releasing tightness there may be no sensation, none at all. This releasing creates space in the body, the (guess what) sensation of spaciousness. That concept of creating space in the body is about letting go of the tightness that contracts and that contraction or constriction is what can contribute to a lot of pain. We hold ourselves tight as if braced for battle and of you’ve been in pain for a long time you are always braced for that battle.

Think of this as part of learning the practice of Pratyahara.  Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses from both the external world and the images or impressions in the mind.  When we practice pratyahara we gradually gain positive control over the mind being obsessively drawn towards the things that contribute to our pain.

Sense withdrawal, pratyahara, rests on the solid foundation of a steady, comfortable posture and smooth, deep, quiet breath. The combination of breath and steady, calm movements and postures can help us find that place where sensation is sukha, effortless.

images (1)

Try exploring the differences between stretching and releasing;  stretching to create length and releasing the concept of letting go of tightness and creating space.

Let me know what you think

Om Shanti

Cheryl

 

 

What is meditation to you?

A dear friend is just beginning her Yoga journey and she asked a question about meditation. She wondered if listening to music could be meditation. It’s a great question. Don’t we all wondered at the beginning of our journey how the hell we are ever going to be able to ‘sit here’ in meditation. The mind wanders away, off to ‘God knows where’ and you can actually feel your eyes looking around (even with closed eye lids) and you desperately want to tap your fingers or wiggle your toes, it’s all you can think about! OK maybe that was me, but you get my point. Meditation is hard! But I also believe that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Meditation comes in many forms.

guru-cartoon-clip-art-540px

We always picture it as a guru sitting in lotus, fingers in a mudra, being completely still and totally quiet – Well that’s one way.

Dance (asana practice) is meditative, singing (mantra), breathing (pranayama), walking a labyrinth. All can have meditation like results – You have to ask yourself “what is meditation”. Meditation is the practice of ‘stilling’ the mind, allowing the mind a deep, quiet space where nothing distracts us. Meditation is about relaxing, but relaxing so that you can hear what is being said; To you, from within you. Pretty powerful stuff.

Swami Rama says….” In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent. When the mind is silent and no longer distracts you, meditation deepens.”……. I believe that we can be ‘doing’ and still be in a meditative practice. If we are singing, dancing, ect ect and that is our single focus, the only focus of our mind, is it not then an inward focus? Are we not fully engaged and alert to that one thing we are doing, not focused on the outside world? Well then that is a kind of meditation. And in our world we find it very difficult to completely quiet the mind, at least when we are beginning a meditation practice. So these other ways to practice meditation are a good beginning, the beginning of learning to cultivate stillness.

What is meditation to you?

meditation_quote

Om Shanti

 

Cheryl

Yoga as preventative care,

soul-medicine

The idea of Yoga as preventative health care is not  new.

In the west especially, Yoga has become more about trying to make yourself look like the cover of a yoga magazine than about health; mental, physical & spiritual health. So how then do we convince people that yoga is for everyone, that yoga is about breathing, breathing life into your tired sick body. Yoga is about moving, moving your body in ways that propel your life forward. Yoga has always been about health, a healthy body, a healthy mind,a healthy spirit.

Take a few minutes and watch this TED talk from Lisa Rankin, MD……. go ahead I’ll wait, it’s important.

Is medicine killing you? Lissa Rankin, MD at TEDxFargo

This is a long one, but the message is very clear….. modern medicine, at it’s best is life saving and awesome for emergency or acute care, but for long term, chronic conditions modern medicine is lacking…. This is where complimentary care can have an amazing effect on the health & well being of the general population. Physicians need to have and to use the resources of those offering complimentary services, such as yoga therapy, massage, acupuncture ect ect. We too are here to help and to heal.

Dr’s, Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants,  listen!…… I am a Yoga Therapist, use me! Or at least use others like me. We can help you teach your patients how to reduce their stress, to live healthier lives. Take time to understand what stress really is and then realize that there are resources available to you, to your patients, to everyone. Together we can ‘reclaim Soul medicine’.

download

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Because breathing matters

images (1)

The conversation this morning went something like this…..

My Client: “But the problem is when I slow my breath down the movement gets slower too”

Me: “Hows that a problem?”

Client: “Well, it’s not really yoga if I go too slow. I am supposed to move fast to get anywhere, right?”

Me: “Where are you trying to go? What are you trying to achieve?” Yoga can be so slow you don’t move at all, that is more restorative, Yoga can be fast paced, jumping, hoping, one breath/one movement. And it looks like its moving fast right? But it only looks like that on the outside, Yoga no matter how fast it looks on the outside  should still feel slow on the inside. If you move too fast, no matter what you’re doing, you can create tension in the body, clenched jaws, tight tummy’s, fingers clutching at the mat and that all becomes tense breathing. So even if your yoga is fast paced, keep the breath smooth and easy, then on the inside you can become very still, even while moving.
Thats Yoga!

download (1)

Yoga as Medicine

This is a great way to start a series of articles I will be writing on Yoga & Exercise as medicine. One of the biggest hurdles we yogi’s have is getting people  to understand what Yoga Therapists actually do and how beneficial yoga can be.  And the key is getting Insurance companies to endorse yoga the same way it does other complementary care modalities such as massage therapy and chiropractic care. Well it looks like the insurance companies will have to sit up and take notice now, listen as  Mark Bertolini, chairman and CEO at Aetna Ins talks about using Yoga as a means to over come pain when conventional medicine wasn’t working. Please read this article & watch the video and pass it on to all the CEO’s and esp to the corporate wellness directors out there. Lets get the word out about the importance of Yoga and in bringing Yoga to the work place.

Here is a quick link to the video interview

mqdefault

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqY1aHgEewQ

And here is the full article.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100569740

Oh Shanti

Cheryl

We’ve come a long way baby

  
Yes that’s a Fisher Price kids cassette recorder. In 2005 I was living in Nashville and getting ready to move back to Chattanooga. At one of my very last classes in Nashville a student of mine, Beverly, asked if I would mind if she recorded the class so she could practice after I had gone, it was very sweet and of course I said yes. I was thinking she would bring a tape recorder to class or a digital recorder even, so I thought I would teach from the front of the room and not stray too far from her device. So I was totally surprised when she comes to class and takes this child’s recorder out of her gym bag and said she couldn’t find her ‘real’ recorder. Everyone rolled with laughter as I walked around class, teaching, while trying to hold the recorder in one hand and the bright red plastic microphone in the other. All the time trying to teach and talk without using my hands. What I would give to hear that recording after all these years. Beverly, if your listening …….
Well we have come a long way baby, and to be honest I don’t know if my kids ever had a Fisher Price recorder, but I do have a very cool digital bad boy recorder and so I have recorded a short meditation for you to link to. It’s my gift to you so you can listen anytime you need a break.
 You should be able to open this file below and listen right away, I say ‘should’ because I am new to  ‘cloud hosting’ so lets hope this works, so sit back, enjoy and relax. 
 
 If you have ‘Media Player’ click on the title… OR  to play directly from the site click the url 🙂
Relaxing Marble Meditation or click the link below http://www.filefactory.com/file/1lqq20nscsdb/marble_meditation.3gp_(1).mp3