Recently, after our SEEKING YOGA event, I finished my Gentle Yoga class with Kelly Loidice and felt rejuvenated, renewed and in love with my body. Wow! What a take-away! I believe the postive benefits of yoga are amazing for both physical and mental health. It reminded me why we offered the Yoga event on 4.22.18 at the Body Art Studio in Blooming Grove, NY. If you missed it, here’s a little recap!
During our event, a number of teachers gave us tips on having a safe, successful, and beneficial yoga practice. As with all tools on a personal growth journey, it’s always important to follow your own instincts. Like all attempts at self-development, the teacher you follow must be ethical. And the practice you choose must be safe for you.
At our event, Sarah White emphasized the importance of knowing your own vulnerabilities, and appreciating that trauma is held in the body, physically. A good yoga practice can help the release of built up tension. However, if a person has experienced physical or sexual abuse, they may feel especially vulnerable to touch. It is important for a teacher to ask students if they are comfortable with being physically helped to hold a particular position. A good practice can help one to re-establish a sense of groundedness, safety, a rediscovery of one’s powerful center.
Michelle Dawson, our host at the Body Art Studio also encouraged our participants to “pay attention” to their own bodies. A strong, authoritarian teacher might push you beyoand what is physically safe for you. One can allow for challenge, but if you internally feel threatened in any way, STOP. That is not failure. Yoga is not about mastering the asanas (positions), it is about breathing mindfully to bring your whole attention to the joining of mind, body and spirit. Learning to breathe into the rhymths of movement, stretching muscles and quieting one’s mind has enormous benefits for physical and mental health.
Jenese from the Lotus Yoga Loft in Pine Island, took all of us through 45 minutes of gentle yoga and Sue Cooney ended our day with a beautiful mediation in the hanging silks. A new experience for me. It was incredibly relaxing, gently swaying in a colorful cacoon while calming my breath and mind, allowing a peaceful power to replace worry and anxiety. When the mind is quiet, it can become more focused to address the things in life over which I have some control and release the frustrations of those things which are clearly beyond my control. AAHH….
All the teachers last Sunday reminded those in attendance, both teachers in training and yoga neophytes to check out the studio and teacher when deciding what yoga practice is right for you. Do not be intimidated by the teacher (even the one who looks like an austere Eastern Guru). It is your body and your right to be respected and protected. Ask questions. Do not do something that doesn’t feel right.
Thank you to all of the lovely teachers who shared their wisdom and talent with us! Hopefully you’ll join us next year for our SEEKing Yoga event!
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Stay with us in this next month as we explore MEDITATION as another practice that has been well researched to show positive health benefits.