My sadness over yet another mass school shooting seems immeasurable and exhausting at the same time. I feel anger, disgust, frustration, grief; so many emotions, and I imagine that you are experiencing something similar. I will not tell you that “everything happens for a reason” or that “we must let this move us into action.” I will not add yet another “sending hopes and prayers” post. Those things feel trite. A mother doesn’t want to hear that her child died for a reason. A father doesn’t want to see a hopes and prayers post. They want their children back.
Let us not gloss over our emotions of anger, sadness, grief, and helplessness by tweeting a quote on top of them and moving on. Instead, I invite you to feel each feeling. Not just your own sadness, grief, and anger, but the discomfort and unease with watching others suffer and not being able to fix it. This is what our yoga practice leads us to – the ability to be present to what is happening. When we are present to what is, we allow space for wisdom to arise. In turn, it is through this wisdom that the proper response arises. In this way, we can start responding from that place of wisdom and compassion, instead of reacting from a space of fear and hurt.
Yes, I know; easier said than done. That’s why we call it a practice. There is no part of our yoga practice that exists in isolation. What we practice on the yoga mat is practice for our life. When we stand and feel the intensity of sensation in an ankle after a balance pose, we are really practicing the ability to experience discomfort while resisting the urge to run away from those feelings. Let your yoga practice be a space of being, a place to experience who you are and where you are in this present moment. When you allow yourself to be, without fixing or judging, you will know an inner peace and deep wisdom. Imagine what you might do from that place of wisdom!
If you do not have a yoga practice, or you have never done yoga before, there is no time like the present. Yoga is NOT bending yourself into a pretzel, nor standing on your head, nor changing your whole lifestyle. Yoga IS a way that stills the storms of the mind. āsana (yoga poses) is taking a position where the spine is elongated, being and breathing in the pose, and focusing your mind and attention on the infinite (G-d, or Allah, or The Universe, or a Higher Power, or …). Try it right now. Sink your seat and hips into your chair, place your feet flat–ahhh…grounded. Lift your ribs towards the heavens while dropping your shoulders–sigh…gently extended. Lengthen the back of your neck slightly, and sit regally, like the manifestation of light and life that you are! Now, breathe. Feel. In. Out. Watch your breath, watch the sensations in your body, watch your mind trying to analyze.
Stay here. Right here. Right now. This is the practice of yoga. This is the gateway to enlightenment.
Research: A five-day inpatient EMDR treatment programme for PTSD: pilot study.
EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a known treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A small pilot study was conducted with 11 patients in a 5-day inpatient treatment program with EMDR and trauma-informed yoga. PTSD was assessed at three times, the beginning of the program, at the end of day five, and a follow-up on day 21. Nine of the patients completed the program and “showed reliable changes in terms of self-reported PTSD. At the 21-day mark, two of the patients no longer met the criteria for PTSD.
Join us in March for our Free Webinar Series when Rose speaks with Kathleen Williams about the incorporation and integration of LifeForce Yoga and EMDR.
Research: Investigation of Yoga Pranayama and Vedic Mathematics on Mindfulness, Aggression and Emotion Regulation.
Examinations in any subject can cause stress, emotional pressure, anxiety, etc. This can cause an emotional outburst, aggression towards other students, teachers, and parents. This study, conducted in India for students facing preuniversity examinations in mathematics, looks at the efficacy of yoga breathing, versus vedic mathematics, versus no intervention, to increase mindfulness. Students were randomly assigned to one of three groups for 15 days: a yoga breathing program, a vedic mathematics group, and a regular class work.
The results: “mindfulness, aggression, and negative emotional regulation changed significantly for the YP group, while mindfulness alone improved significantly for the VM group.” There were no changes in positive emotional regulation.
While the researchers note an increase in mindfulness in all groups, it is interesting that this increase failed to increase positive emotional regulation. This suggests that more than mindfulness is needed to increase positive emotional regulation. [Note: mindfulness as an outcome is different than mindfulness techniques that most are familiar with in the West. Mindfulness in the West, like Mindfulness-Based Stress Relief, includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy]
The yoga breathing used in the study was Kapalabhati, known as Skull Shining Breath, which is a rapid and forceful exhalation of the breath; Bhastika, known as Bellows Breath (which is used in the LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation), which is a strong inhalation and exhalation. Both breaths are used in LifeForce Yoga as a means of meeting and burning off the anxious mood. These breaths were followed up by Sectional Breathing, also known as Three Part Breath, focused breathing into the abdomen, then into the rib cage, then up to the collar bones.
During LifeForce Yoga training programs and retreats, we chant the Gayatri Mantra. This chant is about connecting with our own inner illumination. In this live recording of a meditation session, led by Rose Kress on January 28th, 2018, includes Gayatri Mantra as w
ell as the LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation – Calming version. Below you will find information, including translations, on the Gayatri Mantra. The Gayatri Mantra and how to chant it can be found on Rose’s CD, Mantra Chanting with Rose.
The practice begins with the Vyahriti Mantras, which clear the chakras and the mental space. We then move into learning Gayatri Mantra and chanting it. The last portion of the practice is the calming version of the Chakra Clearing Meditation, which includes three Bee Breaths and the Mudra and Mantras.
LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Retreat in The Bahamas
Sivananda Ashram, Paradise Island
March 31 – April 4, 2018
Win – Win! Upgrade your skills while immersing in a week of loving self-care in the sun! Our annual Module A workshop is open to all bodies and all levels, complemented by sun, sand, and sea! This experiential session is Module A of our 3-Part certification course to become a Level 1 LifeForce Yoga Practitioner. Learn an empowering, evidence-based Yoga protocol to help students and clients focus, relax, and have greater access to feeling states. CEUs available.
You will experience all aspects of LifeForce Yoga, including pranayama, kriya, asana, nada yoga (sound), bhavana (visual imagery) sankalpa (intention/affirmation), meditation, and non-dual self-inquiry.
There will also be opportunities for practicing with one and other and receiving feedback from the faculty. For those who are already LifeForce Yoga Practitioners, this can be taken as a refresher course/retreat. Yoga and healthcare professionals and general practitioners will learn strategies appropriate for a clinical setting that can safely release chronically held physical tension and repressed emotion. Details & registration can be found here.
LifeForce Yoga Webinar Series!
February’s free webinar series features Kat Larsen and LifeForce Yoga Director Rose Kress. The LifeForce Yoga and Cancer with Compassionate Practice presentation is free and open to the public, Tuesday, 2/20, 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern.
Our next webinar is scheduled for Friday, March 23, LifeForce Yoga & EMDR with Kathleen Williams, PhD, trauma specialst and EMDR practitioner.
Register today to reserve your spot, space is limited! Once registered, the recording will be available to watch, gratis, for one-week. After that week, the webinar will be available for purchase and download in our store.