This month I'm sharing a story about a gift from last month's Pause. I hope you enjoy it below.
And, Heart Tree Yoga has an exciting NEW workshop this month on helping transform your relationship to pain and retool for healing. See details below!
HTY's THRIVE program for people with Parkinson's also begins again this Fall.
Heart Tree Yoga's Movement and More video clips will resume next month. If you would like to receive these short clips on how to teach your body to move better, breathe better and feel better overall, I hope you will subscribe to our mailing list.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23
Yoga Nidra and the Art of Conscious Relaxation
5:00-6:00 pm at Body Grace studio in Vienna (NOTE new time for this month)
Fee: $20 pre-registered: $25 drop-in
Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice that takes people into a state of deep relaxation through a guided meditative process and conscious visualization. Also known as yogic sleep, the practice gives rest to the mind, body and senses by drawing the practitioner into a state of conscious awareness—a brain state between full wakefulness and full sleep. This practice has been linked with reducing stress, tension and pain; improving circulation and immune functioning; lowering blood pressure and inflammation; and stabilizing mood. Yoga Nidra is generally practiced while lying down or in a seated position. For your comfort, please bring a pillow and wear comfortable clothing and arrive 15 minutes before class start. Mats and blankets are available at the studio or feel free to bring your own. Please RSVP to reserve a spot with Jan at email@example.com
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30
Retooling for Pain Management: Transforming your Pain Relationship through Yoga and Mindfulness
1:00-5:30 pm at 2203 Abbotsford Dr (home of Martha Brettschneider)
Do you suffer from pain related to tension, trauma, or other chronic conditions? Are you tired of band-aid approaches to dealing with physical discomfort? Do you want to understand what contributes to why you are hurting and integrate other therapies into your healing process? Join certified yoga therapist Carolyn Bagdoyan and mindfulness coach Martha Brettschneider for a restorative half-day retreat to unpack the components of pain and fill your toolbox with practical tools to manage pain more mindfully, intentionally, and sustainably. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited so reserve your spot early.
THRIVE: SUPPORTING PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON'S THROUGH YOGA THERAPEUTICS
I'm really thrilled to share that the THRIVE program is returning this Fall.
THRIVE is a program I started to support people with Parkinson's. It is a specialized, intimate program to designed to help build a toolbox of techniques to apply to the unique needs of each participant--to help respond to "what shows up" each day--whether the need is to manage energy, uplift mood, reduce anxiety, alleviate body tension, or build greater internal physical balance, stamina and support.
THRIVE uses a unique combined format of private sessions and supportive small-sized community classes to help participants nurture a personal customized self-care practice. The community classes will include time to review and reinforce what each student is working on with their customized program so that the practices can become more integrated and supported in daily life.
The group classes for this program will be held on Saturdays at 10am, starting October 6th at the Fairfax Presbyterian Church located at 10723 Main Street, Fairfax. If you know someone with Parkinson's who you think could benefit from this unique opportunity, please be in touch or forward this along. Registration has begun. Reach out for additional details!
Chincoteague's gift . . .
When I was a young girl, each summer I would visit my grandparent's alfalfa farm located in the desert in Lancaster, CA. I haven't been back to Lancaster in many, many years, but in those days there was NOTHING else around. I don't know how many acres of farm land they had, but the long roads leading to their small house had very few homes alongside. And where there wasn't alfalfa growing, there was just empty, dusty, dry dirt and rolling tumbleweeds. I won't say that it was a very pretty place. BUT, it offered this one thing that I especially loved: a brilliant night sky. Because of course, out there in the nothingness (with no light pollution to speak of) the sky was LIT.
I have treasured memories of sitting on the hard ground and just star gazing. The sky was so ABUNDANT with them. I would marvel at the shooting stars. And this calm would wash over me as I gazed up to the heavens. It offered a sweet peace.
In the later years, as those summer trips became a memory, whenever I would get the opportunity to visit a planetarium and see "tonights's sky," a sadness and longing would come over me. Because in our modern cities and suburban lives, "tonight's sky" features only a few faint stars. My heart would clutch that many (most?) of today's youngsters have never even seen what the sky REALLY looks like. The planetarium shows will take you back hundreds, thousands of years and show you what people saw back then in those night skies, and every time I've seen this bounty it has brought tears to my eyes.
Because I've developed this personal theory (which I assure you my boys have heard over and over again.) I believe that star-gazing, specifically up at an abundantly filled sky, is a natural reset for humans. Something that can naturally create awe, a chance to feel yourself in proportion to existence, and bring a calm within. Essentially, a nightly recalibration of the nervous system.
And it is the one thing that all of humanity once shared. The one thing that no matter what one's socio-economic status, everyone had access to, everyone could share. Truly, deeply, I believe that as humans, in an evolutionary sense, the fact that we no longer have this nightly recalibration impacts our body-mind and our fundamental physiology.
So, what I'm saying is: I have an emotional attachment to stars and have a core yearning for the night sky of my youth.
We were sitting at breakfast in Chincoteague a couple days into our vacation and Geoffrey says: "Mom. Last night I was sitting in the screened porch (at about 2:30 am) and saw a shooting star. So I went out to the deck and was amazed by the sky. I decided to lie down on the deck table to look at the stars. And then I wondered how many shooting stars I could see. You won't believe how many I counted!!" (He stayed, lying on the table, pillow under his head and blanket over him, until 5:30 am). And he joyously told me, "SIXTY-FIVE!!!" He went on to describe various ones with enchantment and excitement. A few were particularly spectacular.
Oh, the thrill for him. And the aching longing in myself.
"Don't worry Mom. Tonight I will wake you up. I will come get you and bring you out so you can see."
And they did. My boys came to get me. I ventured out onto the deck from the screened porch, gazed up and gasped in awe. The SKY! So Clear! The stars! So Many! The hazy banded stretch across the sky of the milky way. OH!
They'd prepared the deck table for me to lie down on.
"Mom. Lie down here and look up at the sky and don't look away."
And I did. I stayed about 45 minutes until the sky was slowly overcome with clouds blocking out the view. And saw a number of dazzling shooting stars.
The next night I woke up in the middle of the night and went out on my own for awhile. I can't really describe how special it was. That sense of calm. That sense of proportionality.
I so wish we still had daily access to the natural reset of a simple gaze upwards. And, we don't.
Instead we have to cultivate our resets in other ways. And, I believe we MUST. Because we as humans are meant to reset. We are fundamentally meant to bring ourselves back to balance. Daily. I believe this to be unfalteringly true.
On my bucket list is an intention to visit a star sanctuary someday. I've heard these places exist, where the land is protected from light pollution and you can see the sky as its meant to be seen. Oh, my heart.
Care for yourself and be well.
Blog Archives including Heart Tree Yoga's Yamas and Niyamas Study from January-December 2016 and seasonal newsletters.