The end of summer can equal a big case of the “I-don’t-wannas!” It is that feeling of lethargy, a lack of motivation to do anything. Think about those times when you have experienced “couch lock,” where you can’t seem to get off the couch. I’m not talking about depression, or hopelessness (although those might play into what is happening). I am talking about exhaustion. You have hit your limit and there is nothing more to give. Exhaustion is so common in our society today. We give and give and then we give some more. While we are in the process of giving, we are also going, doing, and stressing. We have become a world of human doings and have forgotten that we are human beings.
To end this cycle and reclaim our energy and motivation, we must pause and take inventory. Why am I giving so much? What am I doing that doesn’t need to be done? Why am I not taking time to rest? Is there an easier way to do this? There are many answers, and each is unique to you. Consider revisiting your goals and dreams in the next few days. Set aside some time to list the steps that are needed to realize those dreams.
At the heart of the situation is a delusion that we all suffer from, “I am not enough.” Perhaps if I gave more of my time, I would feel more whole. If people like me, then I will feel like I am enough. If I just keep going, I won’t have the time to feel alone. We chase external pleasures in the hope that stuff will drive away the feeling that we are not enough. But if that feeling is still there, then that means that the stuff we bought didn’t work. Time to buy more, do more, eat more, watch more, etc.
Only through reconnection with our innate wholeness will we finally be enough and have enough. The ancient yogis tell us that we were born whole and connected. It is through the process of living that we have disconnected, from ourselves and each other. Our yoga practice provides a pathway back to that wholeness. The first step is to identify what is constricting you right now. Welcome this constriction, invite it in for tea. Ask this constriction, “why are you here with me right now?” The answer may come in the form of words, an image, a feeling, an emotion, or a belief. Allow yourself to be open to whatever comes. Once you have received an answer, ask “what do you need from me right now?” Again, be open to the answer. When you receive the answer, give this constriction what it is asking for.
Let me share an example. August is a hard month for me. Tucson is just so hot, and I am ready for fall to begin, but I still have another month to go. I hit those summer doldrums and motivation drops to an all-time low. Instead of struggling and fighting that lack of motivation, I asked that feeling why it was here. It said, “I’m exhausted.” I asked what it needed, and the response was a rest. Together we agreed to take a long weekend. As soon as the agreement was made, motivation returned.
As ever, thank you for reading!
Owner/Director, LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute
Research Spotlight: Anxiety
Effect of Yoga on Stress and Sleep
Research: Yoga decreases anxiety and improves sleep in military personnel in India.
“Most of the young men that make up the Border Security Force in India are from rural areas who are trained and then posted to the borders. They experience social isolation, desolate landscapes, severe anxiety, poor sleep,” according to researcher Shirley Telles, MBBS, Ph.D. This study looked at the benefits of yoga on self-rated sleep, anxiety, and performance in a vigilance test in a nine-day residential program.
The 722 young men participated in this study. The experienced 240 minutes of yoga each day, in the morning and the afternoon, plus lectures on stress reduction and coping with stress based on the Yoga Sūtras of Patanjali. The yoga practice included prayer, chanting, warm-ups and loosening practices, 50 minutes of yoga postures, 35 minutes of yoga breathing, and relaxation.
The participants showed a significant increase in scores in the vigilance test, a decrease in anxiety by 20%, and improved self-rated sleep. Results showed an increase in the amount of sleep at night, a decrease in the amount of time it took to fall asleep, a reduction in sleeping during the day and waking up in the night. One of the big limitations, according to the researchers, to this study was the lack of a control group, which made it hard to say if the yoga was responsible for the decreases or if it was the change in environment.
This study points to the changes that happen over a relatively short period of time. While we can’t say with certainty that it was the yoga that made the changes happen in this study, we can look at the growing body of evidence for the benefits of yoga on decreasing anxiety, increasing sleep, and improving focus. 240 minutes of yoga (four hours) is a lot to fit into a daily schedule, especially for those that work full-time. However, 5 to 10 minutes a few times a day is doable. Remember to practice, it is good for you!
Effect of Yoga on Mental Well-Being and Anxiety in School Teachers
Research: Increased Mental Well-Being and Reduced State Anxiety in Teachers After Participation in a Residential Yoga Program.
Being a school teacher is challenging on many levels. Teachers are responsible for education, safety, care, support, fun, etc. Often teachers bring their work home with them in the form of grading tests. It is no wonder that teachers experience anxiety and disruptions to their mental well-being.
This study compared the mental well-being and anxiety in teachers who participated in a 15-day yoga residential program versus those who continued a regular routine at home. 236 teachers participated in the study; 118 were assigned to the experimental yoga program and 118 control group continued with their normal teaching routine. The study group participated in 15 days of yoga training for six hours a day in a residential yoga center. At the end of the 15 days, the primary school teachers experience an increase in overall mental well-being and lower states of anxiety. The non-yoga control group had higher levels of anxiety.
Stress and anxiety do not discriminate. As this study demonstrates, yoga can be a great support to mental well-being by reducing our anxiety. Teachers can bring in simple yoga tools to manage stress at work and involve the kids. Try some taco or tostada shell breathing! Or perhaps “ants in the pants” – a practice of shaking the legs and the arms to get rid of extra energy. It works!
LifeForce Yoga Practice: Cooling Breaths
Would you like some tips to really keep your cool? Recently we posted a VLOG about Shitali Pranayama, and Sitkari Pranayama, yogic cooling breaths, used to cool the body and mind. Imagine that, a breath that acts like an internal air conditioner. You have got to try it out.
Take time to practice and see for yourself how cool you really are! More information is here.
Best Practices for Managing Depression
LIVE! Wednesdays September 5th & 12th, 4pm PST/7pm EST
with Director Rose Kress
Register here for this new two-session course, and discover the best yoga practices to reduce depression, without even a yoga mat! Experience accessible and portable yoga practices to boost your energy and brighten your outlook. LifeForce Yoga tools for managing depression and low energy include sound, visualization, hand gestures, breathing practices, intention setting, and meditation.
- To clear your mind
- To deepen your breath
- To wake your energy up first thing in the morning
- To stimulate your body & mind
- To reconnect with your whole self
More info here.
Help your students and clients focus, relax, and have greater access to their feelings. These strategies can safely release chronic physical tension and repressed emotion and are appropriate for a clinical setting. This training interweaves ancient yogic wisdom with current findings in neurobiology.
Upgrade your skills while immersing in a week of loving self-care. This experiential session is the first step to a Level 1 LifeForce Yoga Practitioner (LFYP-1) Certification. LifeForce Yoga interweaves the power of an ancient discipline with current scientific findings to help you release what’s no longer serving you—without a story attached! CEU’s available. And, it’s Yogaville in the Fall! The only thing missing is you. Details & Registration here.
OCT: LifeForce Yoga Weekend
LifeForce Yoga Enhancing Your Inner Toolbox: Creating Space for Balance
Led by Director Rose Kress, ERYT-500, C-IAYT & Merrill Black, LCSW, LFYP-2
October 12 – 14, 2018
Eastchester, New York
Open to all bodies, all levels–no mat required! Discover new awareness and insight with gentle LifeForce Yoga practices to soothe and energize. This weekend retreat is for those struggling with body-focused repetitive behaviors.
- Experience breathing and meditation practices for addressing mood states
- Practice postures, breathing and cleansing, visualizations, and intention
- Enjoy a weekend of self-care to nurture your own balance
- Take home new tools and confidence for working with depression and anxiety
Details & Registration here.
JAN 2019: Annual Desert Training Retreat
Registration Now Open!
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood Level 1
Led by Director Rose Kress, ERYT-500, C-IAYT & Trainer Randy Todd, LCSW, LFYP2
Special Guest Teachers: Amy Weintraub and Maria Mendola
January 11 – 18, 2019
Our annual Desert Training Retreat is now open for Registration. Discover how to treat mood disorders with a yogic protocol while remaining within your scope of practice. This incredible training, the first of its kind, gives you the tools to work with your clients from a holistic perspective. LifeForce Yoga is perfect for clinical settings; no mat is required.
Our program is accessible, adapted, and informed by current research. Lifeforce Yoga views mood issues as constrictions that keep the individual from experiencing their innate wholeness. During this state-of-the-art training, you will experience practices that dissolve the layers of constrictions to reveal your radiant self. We teach ancient yogic philosophical foundations for mental health in a practical way. Building on the tenets that suffering is temporary, and the true self is immortal, we learn to drop our labels, dive beneath our stories, and develop pathways to wholeness that honor the uniqueness of everyone.
Held in Southern Arizona, our flagship training is exceptional. Not only will you experience the life-changing effects of LifeForce Yoga, you’ll enjoy 70-degree days when most of the country is plunged in the depths of winter darkness! Watch the sunrise as you practice yoga, feel its warmth on your skin as you meditate, and enjoy the light as you take an afternoon hike in the desert. Are we biased? Just a bit. Tucson is a pretty unique place. Reserve Your Spot Today!
Our Winter Retreat offers you training, and the opportunity to release and unwind your mind while filling yourself with ease, self-care, and real methods for optimum mental health. The personal experience of these tools gives you greater insight as well as the ability to share what you have learned with others. Together, we can de-stigmatize mental health issues while inspiring and empowering others to be free from suffering. There is no better time than NOW to start your journey with LifeForce Yoga.
Yoga for Mood Management Module A: Experiential
with Kathleen Williams, Ph.D, LFYP-2 & Merrill Black, LCSW, LFYP-2
March 8 – 10 & 22 – 24 (Training runs over two weekends)
For the first time a Module A that takes place over 2 weekends. This is the perfect training for working professionals that do not want to take time off work. You will experience all of the aspects of the LifeForce Yoga 5-day program over two separate weekends.
Registration coming next week, so mark your calendar!
MAY: Bahamas. Module A Training.
One of our favorite annual trainings is held in the beautiful Bahamas! Take time for YOU at the Sivananda Ashram — Our 5-day Intensive is tailored for clinical professionals and yoga practitioners; all are welcome and CEU’s are available. You’ll have plenty of self-care time, and you’ll:
- Discover breathing & meditation practices for anxiety-based depression
- Take home skills & confidence to increase your clients’ self-awareness, acceptance, esteem, and coping ability
- Design one-on-one yoga sessions for depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder
- Experience vibrant LifeForce Yoga techniques for you & your clients
- Enjoy a self-care immersion: a reset for you, thus a reset for your clients & students
- Practice bhavana, mantra, asana, mudra, meditation, therapeutic holding, and non-dual self-inquiry kriya, pranayama, sankalpa
FEB 2020: Retreat. India. (Yes, India!)
with Rose Kress, ERYT-500, C-IAYT & Bhagwati Mistry, LFYP1
LifeForce Yoga travel is afoot! You’ve been asking, now we’re answering! Join us for our inaugural retreat to Gujarat for 10 days of travel, sights, yoga, culture, and connection! Experience the sacred beauty of India using LifeForce Yoga tools to delve into the experience. Bhagwati, a native of Gujarat, India, will lead our travels through the region with the insight and connections that only a local can provide. We’ll visit temples, including the Swami Kripalu temple, the beach, take a lion safari, and of course shopping! Each morning Rose will lead a LifeForce Yoga Sadhana practice that includes meditation and intention-setting for the day’s excursion. Bhagwati will lead an afternoon meditation practice specific to the setting. This is an up close and personal trip — a 5-Star experience at a 3-Star cost. Mark your calendars and save your pennies, registration and details coming in December.
Feeling stressed and constricted? Get clarity on your life and your path with a one-on-one consultation with Rose Kress, Owner/Director of LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.