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                                                             abunDANCE image

Grace at Graceful Yoga & Simplicity passed along this tribute to dance through the image and logo above and I am paying it forward, as it were. 

 

The idea of “AbunDance” made me think about the power of all movement therapies, yoga being one form of these healing arts but one in a kaleidoscope of motion.  Dance Therapy, Movement Therapy, and Expressive Art Therapy are all beautifully expressive forms of moving art and powerful tools for healing. 

 

There are even hybrid forms of therapy that include yoga and dance: YogaDance and Yoga Meets Dance trainings (also being discussed over on Grace’s comments page).  Another, slightly pricey program I came across in my recent search for other movement therapy resources is a program calledTampala Institute which seems to have an excellent protocol for movement and arts therapy.   And there are traditionally educated Dance and Movement Therapy masters degrees such as the one at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. 

 

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day who has an extensive background in dance and is currently in school for social work who is grappling with the best way to integrate the powers of dance to heal with her academic background and the gamut of social work experience she is garnering. 

 

I know, for myself, that although my academic background was so useful it also made me a little bit myopic; unable to see outside of the box that had been created for me through decades of research geared to talk therapy and nothing beyond that.  My instincts always cried out for alternate ways of healing.  I had such personal healing through other modalities: writing, music, yoga.  In some ways I had to move beyond my educational background to see the vast landscape of healing and follow what my gut and my heart was telling me to pursue. 

 

I got an amazing email from a student entering the masters program at my Alma mater (New York University) the other day that made me well with inspiration and hope.  She had seen the article NYU’s School of Social Work had written on my work with creative therapies and yoga for trauma which apparently is on their homepage at present. 

 

 She said she had read my interview and been inspired as she had worked in theatre for almost two decades and was hoping to bring her background to this career change.  She spoke about wanting to implement holistic treatment programs and measuring the outcomes.  She told me that reading about my work inspired her in her goals with holistic treatments.  The email and her passionate sentiments meant everything to me.   

 

My intention with all of this blog/website cyber experiment of shouting into the oblivion is to try to let people know about this work and to share my experience on my own (w)holistic journey.   To hear that there was someone else out there in this oblivion with the same passionate intention and that something I had done had given her hope was, for me, more than I could have asked for. 

 

And so maybe we each “Pay it forward” in our own way.  Every blog does this by giving voice to something that is both personal and universal; a single human experience expounded upon.  Every personal passion can become infectious, and often in surprising ways. 

 

Movement therapies can help people dance through their darkness and into their own light.  I believe this completely and the more I talk about it the more people I stumble across with the experience of mind/body healing.  And the more I explore this cyber universe the more I find people with passions like my own.  All of these things and steps on my journey give me hope that even if I am shouting into an abyss, occasionally someone else will shout back.

 

“Dance is a song of the body.  Either of joy or pain.”

                                                                                                                                                           Martha Graham

 

 

magical misterious woman iii

Photo from flickr (alestaliero). 

…Just as soon as you decide to try something new, you begin to see all of the things you liked about it to begin with. 

 

I remember when I moved away from Fort Collins, Colorado in 2003 everything was more beautiful every day I got closer to leaving.  The sky was an ever-increasing vibrant royal blue and the rockies jutted up out of the fields of golden grass higher than ever and with a regal importance.  I couldn’t imagine why I had ever wanted to leave it behind; but in the end I left nonetheless. 

 

As I say goodbye to New Jersey, one day at a time, I keep finding nuggets of beauty I had forgotten were there.  I notice the kindnesses I had ignored amid the sea of chaos, pollution-muddied skies, and aggressiveness.  I  smiled with appreciation the other evening when a lady held the door for me, grinning, and making eye contact without a semblance of haried roughness. 

 

In the last week or so it seems like the roads don’t seem quite as crowded or angry, the landscape has suddenly revealed pockets of grassy loveliness in places I had never noticed, and the 3 month rainy season that was our summer finally departed leaving sunny days and warmth in its stead. 

 

And–like the haircut I just had to change and then realize I love an hour before my salon appointment–I find myself ambivilent over leaving my homestate. 

 

But, like a haircut that can grow back, I know I can always return and there is a comfort in that–New Jersey’s constancy and predictability. 

 

Erich Fromm, the renound social psychologist, said this [of new adventures]:

Let your mind start ajourney thru a strange new world.  Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before.  Let your soul take you where you long to be…Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.

 

Every experience, every journey, every state of being, state of mind, and state of the nation has its own uniqueness.  To explore the new, to some extent, we have to let go of the old.  As I stand in limbo between two worlds I find myself torn.  Hanging on, nostalgically, to the last morsels of “old”, not yet ready to embrace “new”.  I am contemplating the necessary freefall, but I am not ready to let go of the cliff’s edge from which I dangle.

 

Fromm’s words above strike me as very meditative, very spiritual.  The more internal “work” that yoga asks of us is to be able to be in the moment, with our body, with our souls and just be; not ask questions or think about yesterday or tomorrow and just exist in the present.  That is what Fromm illustrates poetically above: just be where you are and live in that experience, letting go of whatever came before the now. 

 

This is an essential piece of meditative practice and the yogic mindset that I grapple with.  I have trouble letting go.  Whether it is worry about the future or dwelling on the past, I have trouble being present-centered.  I need to work towards a “present-centered life” and letting go of New Jersey is part of that process. 

 

And in that effort I am sincerely considering a new haircut.  Seriously.  I am thinking of taking it all off.  Starting from scalp and working my way back from there to hair.  We’ll see.

I am sick, sick, sick.  Of course, of course, of course.  But there is no real time to dwell in feverish grossness or to get frustrated over missing one of my last days of work due to delirium.  I have, on the plus side, finally fully set up my website on mind/body healing called “EMBODY: (W)holistic Mental Health”!  That makes this day not feel like a complete loss, even if I’ve lost my voice. 

 

Feel free to check the website out and leave any feedback!                                                        http://embodymentalhealth.com

 

 

brambleroots' yoga 3 mosaic

“Yoga Mosaic 3” from brambleroots on flickr

 

Now, on to more interesting matters than the state of my sinus cavities, although this particular musing was inspired a little by the cavities (or rather the excrutiating sensation of pressure I feel inside of them right now). 

 

I am contemplating my yoga state of mind (queue the music from Billy Joel in the background to “New York State of Mind”) and as of right now I am leaning towards some nice soothng therapeutic and restorative yoga.  Today is not a Vinyasa day.

 

The other day I read a post called “Some Sour Yoga Apples” on the lovely Graceful Yoga and Simplicity Blog and Grace was speaking about an unfortunate encounter with a bit of a yoga snob–one of her teachers.  The kind of teacher who is certain their version of yoga practice is high art and all others, especially vinyasa, are just a sloppy and negligent mutilations of the eastern practice by western commercialism. 

 

 So much for Namaste which loosely translated means: “The light in me honors the light in you”.  What if my light is screaming for some Flow?   Ha.

 

My feeling is that there are yoga forms out there for everyone and if one suits you better than another then go with your flow and follow what feels right.  To me, that is the yoga of it all. 

 

I am a bit of a yoga-whore, if I may be so bold.  In terms of style, I get around.  Perhaps as I craft my practice through yoga schoolin’ I will become more versed in one form or another and prefer one practice over all else, but for now, I get around. 

 

Today all I want is  a restorative reprieve.  Often I need to purge myself after a long day of chair sitting and emotionally exhaustive trauma therapy with a really explosive Vinyasa Flow class, and many of those times I even prefer the Hot variety. 

 

Anasura and Iyengar frankly are like math, I know I need to know it to do the basics in life (yoga life that is), but it makes my brain hurt and leaves me feeling very inadequate.  At the same time, when I feel like everything is off in my body, Iyengar grounds me back again and gives me some clues of where I have gone wrong: there is stability in alignment focus. 

 

Kundalini is a practice I am just learning about and am very intrigued with as it seems to have some of the more contemplative spiritual focuses that seem very grounding in a soul-kind-of-way. 

 

I really believe that yoga is meant to suit everyone in one variation or another.  The rise of Vinyasa may speak to a need for more and more people in a frantic life circumstance, unable to center and get quiet in themselves, to have a  yoga that can purge and purge explosively all of the energy seeping out of their pores: and with hot yoga plenty more than just energy will seep out of your pores. 

 

Disability-oriented yoga I think exemplifies yoga for everyone and the antithesis of yoga elitism.  I think everyone should work with a population with physical disabilities at some point just as a practitioner and a teacher to understand what the root of yoga is all about.  The origin in yoga’s history is as a moving meditation as much for the soul as the body.   

 

If you can sit in a chair and only move your arm or your head you can still do yoga.  If you can never manually move your legs into Warrior One or Triangle Pose you can still be as yogic as anyone else.  Our limbs are only the beginning of what yoga is and therefore the method you use is only the segway to the deeper root of yoga: the meditative center. 

 

Or that is my impression thus far.  I hope to come back to this issue as I begin school and start regular practice within  a particular path and tradition. 

 

What is your yoga of choice and why?  I think this is a very interesting question with very interesting potential for answers. 

lotus flower from bahman farzad

Image from flicrk by Bahman Farzad.

 

Namaste.  I think I’ll go stretch and take some sinus medication.

I slept amazingly last night on my brand new Target “firm” pillows and it felt like heaven.  There is nothing like the feel of a new pillow.  The reason for the new pillow of course is another story with not so pleasant details.  My dog, Guinness (half Labrador and half Pit Bull) is somewhat of a compulsive regurgitator. 

It is all his own fault because he tends to inhale things with the ferociousness and velocity of a snake inhaling a tiny mammal, and usually as gross in presentation.  He has swallowed everything from undergarments, to whole pieces of meat, to, and this was the most disturbing of all, a medium size teddy bear head to t0e. 

Anyway, this particular vomitous episode resulted in me getting new pillows so perhaps it was a win-win…except for the poor bedraggled undergarments. 

My other dog is a compulsive urinator and, similarly, has caused the need for new sheets and various other items.  She is actually more of a bored or retaliatory urinator and really quite a brat all around.  She is the reason we will only live in dwellings with hardwood floors from this point on. 

My confession at this point is, however good of a therapist I am, and although I am excellent at diagnosing my dog’s neurosis in human terms, I am an awful dog trainer.  I admit it.  I am the worst alpha pack leader ever.  Caesar Millan would be so disappointed.  But how nice are my new pillows!

And as we begin to pack away the remainder of our home and box everything but essentials piece by piece it seems that my husband and I, as well as our canine counterparts, are getting more and more restless and more and more grumpy with one another. 

I keep thinking of Caesar Millan’s (my doggie guru) wise words on “Dog Whisperer” that explain how dogs feel the owner’s emotions: this fact constantly leaves me feeling delinquent and cruel.  I am, as of late in particular, a ball of frenzied nerves bouncing off the empty walls of our apartment and I am sure my dogs are much worse for the wear. 

I looked around the living room last night at 9:00pm and had to giggle a little at the sight.  My husband collapsed at one end of the couch, me at the other, and both dogs flopped on the floor in similar exhaustion-laden postures.  We are a family of two + dogs all flopped out, crapped out, peed out, and vomited up, just trying to muster our way through these last moments of the dog days of August. 

 

 

And in conclusion…

 (although every writer knows when you are ending something you should never say you are ending it, there is no art and subtlety in it, please excuse my Monday morning abruptness)

… a little  something dog-ified and yog-ified that gave me a Monday morning chuckle.  Images are from the Melia Luxury Pet website where they sell these super cute and yogically-inclined dog bowls that I just might have to break down and get…after the move. 

A.M.:  Everything “After Move” is cataloged in a different time period entirely.

I wrote my post yesterday then got into my cozy homebody clothes and settled down for a long summer’s nap, flipping on the television for some bedtime watching and I caught the tail end of “Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story” along with the song “Perfect” by Maren Ord (or so I think from my google research). 

 

 

I am one of those people who, given a good soundtrack background song at an opportune cinematic moment, has been known to weep uncontrollably and this was one of those moments.  Two minutes of the end of a movie that I haven’t seen for at least five years and there I was, snuggled up for my long summer’s nap, weeping and wide awake. 

So as I sat there and munched on the leftover veal from my delicious going away-dinner-doggie-bag from the previous night I began to ponder movies based on true lives that have inspired me and their corresponding crescendo soundtrack song that put me over the emotional edge. 

 

Here are some films that really inspired me and continue to every time I watch them (many of which I have used as illustration in my Multimedia Groups along with the corresponding memoirs) :

 

War Dance“:  This documentary film tells the excrutiating and riveting tale of of the students of Patongo Primary School in Northern Uganda, an area overrun and terrorized by the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.).  These children have experienced, first hand, atrocities that no adult could fathom.  They have seen parents murdered and friends dragged away and they fight fear and the imminence of danger daily just to get to school.  This is the story of the children purging out their trauma through dance and fighting diligently for their artful expression to be seen and heard in the National Music Competition in Kampala.

 

“Cry Freedom”: This film depicts the friendship between rights activist Steve Biko and newspaper editor Donald Woods during apartheid-era South Africa in the 1970s.  It depicts how the friendship with Biko, a brave anti-apartheid activist murdered in jail, gave Woods the bravery to write Biko’s story and escape South Africa to have it published.

 

“October Sky”: This is the story of Homer Hickam (NASA engineer and Vietnam Veteran) in his childhood when, after seeing Sputnick, he rallied his friends together in their small, impoverished, mining town and created a rocket of their own.

 

“Hotel Rwanda”: Paul Rusesabagina was the manager of the Hotel Mille Collines when the Rwandan genocide events broke out in 1994.  An estimated 800,000 people were murdered; Paul Rusesabagina was personally responsible for saving 1,268 people by protecting them within the walls of the hotel.

 

“Freedom Writers”: This is the tale of Erin Gruwell, a newbie teacher starting in 1992 at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Ca.  Her classroom is full of troubled and traumatized kids who have experienced the gamut of the worst life has to offer, from emotional and physical abuse at home, to the violence, gangs, and death found on the streets.  They are up against every demographic strike against them from poverty, to racial issues, to an educational system that has already discarded them as defunct.  With Erin’s efforts and genuine sincerity for their quality of life and education her class defies all of the assumptions about them and survives, thrives, and fights their way out of what they were born into. 

 

“Lioness”:  This movie documents the fascinating lives of of five women on active duty in the Sunni Triangle in Iraq in 2003 to 2004 with the US Army’s 1st Engineering Battalion.  They were never meant to be in combat or in the line of fire or have to shoot their weapons but all of those things occured.  Women were not meant to be on the front lines of the Iraq War but the front lines proved to be everywhere and they ended up being the first women in combat. 

 

“Erin Brockovich”: In the early 1990s single mother Erin Brockovich got a job as a file clerk in a Southern California law firm.  In her filing work she stumbles upon medical records related to a pro bono real estate case and gets permission from her boss, Ed Masry, to research further.  This research led to the discovery of toxic Chromium 6 in the Hinkley, California water supply and led to a lawsuit award of $333 million dollars to over 600 residents. 

 

“Schindler’s List”: Oscar Schindler went from being a defunct but charistmatic businessman whose intention was to swindle the Nazi’s and the war out of all the profits he could muster to a humanitarian hero who saved the lives of over 1200 Jewish men and women and lost his momentary fortune to do so.  There are 7000 descendents of “Schindler Jews” today due to the man who gave everything he had to save them from death.

 

“In the Time of The Butterflies”: A film based on the true story of the Mirabel sisters in the Dominican Republic in the 1920’s and their part in the rebellion against the dictator of the time, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.  They were brave women beyond imagination who fought with everything they had for what they believed was the justice and the salvation of their nation. 

 

“Julie and Julie” : A recent addition to my inspiration collection which juxtaposes the lives of Julia Child and Julie Powell as both struggle to find their place and find a voice for their passion in their “living” world and in the cooking and literary world, respectively.  Julie still has her blog up and current…I’m impressed!

 

All of these stories tell of people who could have done nothing but did SOMETHING.  They could have stood by or sat back but instead they took ACTION.  They are people with flaws and fears and people who second guessed their own bravery but still persevered.  That is something to inspire us all to aspire…I know I always need to do more, try hard, act more bravely and these stories give me that punch of courage when I forget or become complacent. 

 

And in thinking of inspiring true stories and my earnest hopes to push myself emotionally and mentally during my yoga teacher training I cannot forget to talk about Mr. Matthew Sanford who I was introduced to by a yoga therapist who worked with him and trained under him. 

 Matthew Sanford is the author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence and has been paralyzed from the chest down since the age of thirteen due to a horrible accident that took the lives of his father and sister.   He found himself waking to his life and his body through practice of yoga and, following that experience, spent his life dedicated to bringing that life and awakening to others. 

 

Matthew said (of writing his book):

“I wrote a memoir, not to tell you something about me, but rather to teach something about the mind-body relationship.”

 

A man who created a body of writing not for self-promotion or even for self-exploration but with a purpose and for a cause.  I hope that as much as this blog elaborates on elements of me and my experience that it stays focused and centered on the cause which is also creating connections, discussions, and relationships between the mind and the body experience and healing.  Ultimately in the hopes of being able to translate this story to be a piece of my work with mind/body healing and be able to better help others for having taken the journey.

Today we had a visit from the clinical head of my region’s programming at work and I had the most interesting “year in review” type of interview.  The experience inspired me to consider my own long term dreams and daydreams a little more closely.  He asked very creative programming questions like what theorist or therapeutic framework did I work with more than others and who did I really admire within the field of study. 

My favorite question he asked was if I were “Queen” of my agency what would I do?  My reply was, “Impliment alternative and holistic practices in centers nationwide as well as studies of each program to collect massive national data so no one can continue to say there is no empirical proof this ‘stuff’ works…and of course funding, funding, funding.” 

 

Dreams:

 

Now while this encompasses my dream where I am today were I to dream big I would have to say my ultimate goal would be able to create nationwide nonprofit centers for holistic treatment.  Each center would provide an array of holistic treatment for clients needing mental health, attending to mind, body, and soul.  Each center would house the following (for starters): psychotherapy, yoga, creative arts programs, reflexology, massage, and a small animal farm out back equipped for animal-assisted therapy to include at least dog and equine therapy. 

 

Inspirations:

 

In the arena of Therapist Authors…

…To be as prolific, poetic, and therapeutically qualified as  Irvin Yalom or Mary Pipher.

 

In the arena of Trauma Therapist Yogis…

 …To to be as eloquent, empirical-minded, and yogically inclined as Bessel van der Kolk.

 

In the arena of Body-Oriented Therapists…

 …To be as adeptly empathetic and intuitive as Pat Ogden or Peter Levine.

 

In the Yogic arena…

 …To be as centered, soothing  and inspiring in and out of the “classroom” as Sean Corne and Shiva Rea.

 

 

I hope this dream list inspires you to think about what your ultimate hopes would entail and how far your imagination could take you.  Someone told me the other day, and re-reminded me, that what happens in our life is what we make happen for ourselves.  If we aren’t proactive advocates for our own lives than who will be?  And as a therapist and social worker I ask myself if I cannot dream big, hope to heights, and be constantly inspired for myself in my own life how could I ever hope to do it effectively and authentically for my clients?

Please feel free to comment with some of your dreams and inspirations!

I am breaking up with New Jersey and it is really hard to do.

  I am sorry New Jersey, I know this is going to be hard for you but it is harder for me…I swear.  It’s not you, you did nothing wrong (besides that funky smell by the landfills, the angry traffic-mongers, and the general grumpiness and crowdedness).  Really, it’s me, not you.  I just have to go.  Please, don’t say a word…I know, I know.  We will both be better off in the long run.  We will grow and learn and be better for it.  Shhh, don’t speak…let’s just leave the rest unsaid.

So, as I begin to pack up the last of the boxes and having the final dinners and night’s out with friends and family it is beginning to really sink in: I am leaving New Jersey, I am leaving this life behind, I am beginning yoga school (soon), I am starting a new job (even though it is a transfer), I am starting over.  Now of course these are all things I knew in some conscious/unconscious way the last month or so but the entire decision to execution of this move has only been since July 4th weekend and so everything since then has been sort of a blur of “to-do’s” and denial. 

I am desperately excited and invigorated by this new start; my husband and I beginning our own adventures and experiences that are those of this new family unit of two (+ 2 dogs) we have created.  At the same time I am nostalgic and melancholy over the life I am leaving behind.  It was a perfectly good life: one full of friends, coworkers, a career that I loved, and work I was passionate for. 

I have never left something behind before when it was good, there is a risk and a gamble I suppose in doing so but it also feels like the timing is right.  Like that moment in a movie or a book where you know an exit is necessary even if you are not exactly sure why. 

As I have told my clients before, “We are all the authors of our own lives,” and so I guess this is a chapter I have begun without much of an inkling of how it will wrap itself up.  That would probably be considered poor form and bad storytelling as a novel writer but as I am working within the genre of creative non-fiction I guess I have the leeway to let life become whatever it is meant to be and not try to carve some clever plot point into it. 

Yesterday I attended an event for combat soldiers at a local memorial monument (current and past–although if you ask a soldier I guess there is no past when it comes to being a soldier of war).  A young Iraq veteran in fatigues stood up and thanked those men who came before him for their service and paving the way for him.  I felt myself, standing in the front of the crowd no less, beginning to well up with tears.  I surprised myself, as public displays of emotion are not really my style. 

I think I am kind of raw right now.  Full of my own nostalgia to such a point that I am ready to burst at every evocative thing I find.  Every last session with a client becomes harder to bear, every time I walk into work I think how it is closer to the last time. 

Interestingly enough I am not too worried about leaving friends and family as I am my work.  I know that those people who have been in my life personally and with whom I have deep personal relationships with will sustain: My family will visit and my friends will facebook (ha) but my work is so integral to every day, every moment, every trauma-oriented passion I have…and I only hope I can distill and translate some of what I have done here to somewhere else. 

In those hopes I continue to prepare for yoga school like a nervous child preparing for kindergarten.  Which is how I feel: not sure what to expect, not knowing how I will do, and petrified about headstands–well ok, the last one is not exactly like kindergarten.

My plan is to go home and begin, yes begin because I have yet to start it, my first assigned reading book: The Food Revolution by John Robbins

I feel like a delinquent already. 

 

 

 

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”                                                                                                     

B.K.S. Iyengar

I adore the above quote by B.K.S. Iyengar as I feel it epitomizes, in a visceral way, the potency and power of yoga to both heal and when it cannot heal, to bring the capacity to self-soothe the incureable wound. 

I love it so much I wish it could be a plaque above my office door or, better yet, above the front door of my house to serve as a constant reminder of both yoga’s sincerity and my own reminder that all wounds cannot be healed but may be ameliorated with time and work and learning how to live with pain. 

In some ways that is the existential crux of trauma: that often it is not a healable thing in the way that we would wish it to be.  It is not a wound you clean and bandage and it heals without a scar.  It is more the kind of injury that leaves you with an ache when it rains or you move the wrong way or become overly stressed.  That said, it can be diminished with the right effort and the right tools: I sincerely believe that yoga is one of those tools.  It contains all the ingredients I find crucial to placating an old wound.

Yoga uses breath as almost a language.  You take it in with one motion and expel it out with the next, like a meditative and hypnotic dance of sound and purification.  Biologically breathwork has a detoxifying effect, deep breaths cleanse physically and they also become emotionally calming. 

Yoga applies a philosophy of attunement with the body and the mind.  The mind almost necessarily gives up it’s voice to the body, in a yoga class all that can be heard is the swaying of bodies, rhythm of breath, and the teacher’s guiding and encouraging prose.

Yoga requires that we work with ourselves to achieve our postures and breath in synchronicity.  The mind’s focus is on the body and there is an affection for oneself that is cultivated in this intimate self exploration and communication. 

Yoga feels like poetry to me and sometimes I wax a bit too long on the poetry of this wordless art and philosophy of releasing oneself into oneself.   So for now I will end with one more quote…and perhaps return later to wax a little more.

“Yoga is invigoration in relaxation.  Freedom in routine.  Confidence through self control.  Energy within and energy without. ”

 Ymber Delecto


So I have two points on which to talk about preparation and motivation.  The first is something I came across that I thought I would share as it is super cool (and because as of last night and seeing a friend’s new iphone I am seriously considering a switch in phone carriers).  If I hadn’t been convinced before that Apple iphones have an “app” for everything and every need, I am now.  I discovered while searching through the Mind Body Blog this morning a new application the company has created with iphone called YogaNOW which for $1.99 will utilize the phone’s gps system to find the nearest yoga class to wherever your current location is.  Now that is a no excuse, easy access form of preparedness.  IF I decide to go the iphone route I am definitely going to spend the two bucks for that application.

On a more personal note I have been attempting to make my yoga practice as equally accessible and excuse-proof as possible and in that attempt I ordered four yoga dvds from amazon.com: “Power Yoga: Total Body Workout” by Rodney Yee, “Yoga Journal: Baron Baptiste’s Foundations of Power Vinyasa Yoga”, “Shiva Rea: Fluid Power: Vinyasa Flow Yoga”, and “Yoga Journal: Sean Corn-Yoga From the Heart”. 

I thought that making yoga  more accessible to myself would help ease me into a daily practice and I hope that it will over time but I have found that unlike a kickboxing or aerobic-rooted exercise video that motivates through adrenaline that, for me, as yoga is such an intimate and personal kind of practice I find I have to get in a more meditative mindset before even beginning the yoga videos.  When I don’t I feel a sense of disconnect and almost loneliness, like I am getting the instruction of a yoga class but missing out on the palpable sense of collective experience and energy that pulsates within a yoga class environment.  I find myself getting fidgety and loose with my practice, taking breaks in the middle of postures, and being all around floppy…to describe it best. 

Perhaps another stab this evening…to un-floppy my mind and center my heart in the practice.  That felt like a very “yoga” thing to say–minus the floppy.

There are 3 books I am supposed to read before even beginning my first day of “class” which include:  Food Revolution by John Robbins (heir to the Baskin Robbins cone but fled that life to live one of health and promotion of green living and eating), Yoga Mind and Body by the Sivananda Yoga Centers, and The Sivananda Companion to Meditation. 

Following the pre-program protocols for reading I am meant to read only literature and materials that benefit and enhance my yogic lifestyle so I have begun compiling my own Fall Teacher Training Reading List.  It’s like Summer Reading in Elementary School and is giving me the reminscent tingles similar to those I had as a fledging book nerd in my formative years.  I was, I can proudly say, winner of “The Summer Reading” Award three years running which was awarded to the unsportsmanlike soul who spent their summer hours reading more books than any other child. 

Funnily enough I came across my poster card award certificates this past month when purging through old paperwork in my parents’ attic in anticipation of our Florida move.  I was, as a terminal literary geek, still as fluttery and proud even decades later looking at the brightly colored paper with the promises of my prize written on the front: “One ice cream cone from ‘Do Me a Flavor'”.  Those were the days.  But I digress. 

So I have begun cataloging my “TO Read” book list for the two months of my abstinence from the chaos and ADD-inducing elements of the world like television, music, and hormone-laden meats (oh meats, I love you so).  I have also broken them down into a few subcategories such as: Yoga, Contemplative Thought and Spirituality, and Body-Oriented Psychotherapy and Trauma (some may overlap in area of study).  My list so far follows accordingly :

Yoga:

Kundalini Yoga Meditation: Techniques Specific for Psychiatric Disorders, Couples Therapy, and Personal Growth by David Shannahoff-Khasla (an interesting read as it covers a yogic method but comes from a base of study, statistics, and empirical data)

Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Trancendence by Matthew Sanford (autobiography of a man paralyzed in his childhood who was reinvigorated in adulthood by a yoga teacher and led him to create a yoga methodology for disabilities)

Contemplative Thought and Spirituality:

Open Mind, Open Heart by Father Thomas Keating (on the reinvigoration of Christian Contemplative practice and a guide to the practice itself; I am rereading it for inspiration)

Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions by Wayne Teasdale (a book I have read in pieces but never comprehensively which universalizes the search for meaning and the root of contemplative practices in world faiths and includes references to yoga)

Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hahn (about the contemplative traditions across two different faiths and their essence and universality; a book I am rereading)

Body-Oriented Psychotherapy and Trauma:

Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy by Pat Ogden and others (Pat Ogden is a well known body-oriented therapist who has worked for years in the space between mind and body, accessing both…a book I am very excited to explore)

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences by Peter Levine (another well known body-oriented therapist and a book I am interested to explore and contrast the approaches of himself and Pat Ogden)

As I go through this literary feast I plan to write on each of the books, both here and through more in-depth reviews on my website www.embodymentalheath.com.  I look forward to the endeavor and a return to my youth where I can give myself the time, freedom, and leisure of pouring over books, one after another, without any other form of distraction. 

*More books may be added as I go.  Dependent on my literary stamina.*

August 2009
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