we give ourselves permission to let go,
Don’t wait until life settles down; you are not going to get less busy.
Happy New Year,
Restorative Yoga uses blankets, pillows, and other props to allow the body to fully and comfortably relax into each pose, often resting in each pose for 3 or more minutes. Through these fully supported body positions, breath awareness, and meditative contemplation, Restorative Yoga restores a deep sense of calm relaxation to the body and mind. Every effort is made by the teacher to assist the student in finding comfort in each position. Transitions between poses happen slowly, with ease and awareness. The body’s comfortable, supported postures allow the mind to begin the process of unwinding.
Due to the continuous influx of stimuli in our daily lives, most of us live in a constant state of alertness. Where this behavior does keep us from being eaten by tigers, falling off of cliffs, and other such peril, it also creates a state of continuous mental, physical and emotional stress. As the body recognizes the sensation of full support and the lack of imminent danger, the mind is unburdened of physical concerns and able to refine focus on the breath.
In Restorative Yoga, as in other styles of yoga, we use the breath as a link between the conscious and the unconscious. We can both choose to control our breath as well as surrender to the natural process of breathing. Thus, focus on our breath and the experience of breathing begins to bring us truly into the present moment, into what our body and mind can sense right now, removing focus on exterior stresses and daily concerns and allowing the nervous system much deserved rest.
With the physical body fully supported and the nervous system functioning with ease we have the opportunity to explore even deeper states of relaxation. The meditative states achieved through Restorative yoga practice are often more restful than an average night’s sleep. This rested state of mind and body is where we put together the puzzle pieces we’ve picked up throughout our conscious daily life. This is where we establish patterns and where we create memories.
A regular Restorative Yoga practice is a powerful tool for those interested in improving the health of the mind, the body, and their vast network of interconnectivity. With the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher, Restorative Yoga is available and beneficial to students of all level, including those completely new to yoga, recovering from injury, seasoned practitioners of any style, on its own or as a complement to any strong practice.
How would you answer this question, “What is the most important question you have ever been asked?” (and your answer CANNOT be “Will you marry me?”). Over 8 years ago, as I sat as a student in a class called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), I was asked such a question. The Instructor (now Mentor) asked, “Is your mind a good friend or does it take you into bad neighborhoods?” Needless to say, my mind was screaming, “NO I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND AND NEVER WILL BE”. Now, 8 years later, I can say with certainty that my mind was only giving me bad advice. Below are ten (10) insights that have emerged since making mindfulness a daily practice. Read them and ask yourself, “Is your mind a good friend?”:
This is more than just self-awareness or knowing you like dark chocolate more than you like milk chocolate. It is about knowing your DNA, i.e. knowing your purpose, what you value, and what is never compromised.
Someone once said the most important choice we ever make in this life for personal happiness is who or if to marry. And it is less about finding the right person than it is about being the right person.
Resentment is like eating rat poison and expecting the rat to die. Regret is holding on to a hope of having a better past. Letting go is not shooting a second arrow after you have been stung with the first one.
If we are looking for faults, we will see faults. If we are looking for the good in someone, we will see only the good. What we seek, we will surely find.
Yes, even all of you extroverts. You don’t have to be like Thoreau at Walden Pond to take periodic refuge without the presence of others. When you lose touch with your inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.
Showing up means being present with others, i.e. being HERE NOW not somewhere else in your head.
I was once told that when you get in a hurry, you run off and leave more than you ever catch up to. I never quite understood what that meant, but I have run off and left many precious gifts that were only waiting for my patience to arrive.
Nothing also meaning “no one”. Clinging, craving and attachment are the core elements of 99% of all human suffering. The heart and mind function like a parachute…they only work when open.
Rilke said it best when writing, “Let everything happen to you, the beauty and the terror. Just keep going. No thought or feeling is final.” This is the Law of Impermanence.
Smile more, complain less, & never give up.
-by Elmo Shade
Elmo offers meditation and qigong classes, mindfulness workshops for adults and teens, and individualized mindfulness coaching.
Have you ever seen photographs or video footage of a therapist walking on a client’s back, using overhead bars and straps as support?
That is Ashiatsu, a powerful and effective form of massage therapy that is one of our offerings here at Ha.Le’ Mind and Body. In Japanese, the root word “Ashi” means foot and “Atsu” means pressure.
Controlled foot pressure uses physics of both bodies – therapist and client – for maximum benefit. With feet, the therapist activates acupressure points and spreads tissue fibers, distributing more body weight and pressure than what is available during traditional massage therapy using fingers, hands and arms.
With the feet, Ashiatsu therapists push, pull and pump tissue to relieve symptoms of chronic soft tissue damage. Ashiatsu is very effective at treating scar tissue and is the most profound way to receive myofascial release. The support bars and straps allow therapists to control the weight and pressure – Ashiatsu feels like a deep massage (which it is) more than it feels like someone is walking on your back.
Barefoot massage techniques have deep historical roots throughout Asia and date back at least 3,000 years. In India, oils on bare skin and one balancing rope characterize Chavutti Thermal. Elsewhere throughout the Pacific Rim, Buddhist monks would provide the healing art of barefoot massage, through clothing, to pilgrims who made financial offerings of support and devotion.
In the West, Ashiatsu was introduced by Ruthie Harding, who saw a group of women using their feet to massage a row of men on cots in the Philippines in 1967. The women all used one long rod suspended from the ceiling for support. During a trip to India, she saw a man stabilizing himself with two knotted cloths hanging from a tree while using his feet to massage a man on a mat.
I trained at Ruthie Harding’s facility in Colorado. Here in Nashville Ashiatsu massage is one of our specialties. The method creates a strong bond between therapist and client. Such a bond increases a client’s comfort level, making the massage more effective. We use a method of sinking into muscle fibers as breath allows, and the pace and knowledge of our therapist make our sessions therapeutic, profound, and beneficial.
One size does not fit all when it comes to body work, but for many of our clients in Nashville Ashiatsu is the perfect fit.
If you’d like to experience Ashiatsu, give us a call at 615-415-0242.
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is commonly associated with soldiers and other people in war-torn areas but it doesn’t take a war to manifest. Massage for PTSD is a powerful treatment form.
Any sort of prolonged chronic stress, from the loss of a loved one to an undiagnosed or misunderstood health condition, from marital discord to caring for a loved one, can result in PTSD.
I’ve seen it following knee replacement surgery, after replacement of a natural body part with a mechanical substitute. The surgery itself causes stress of many kinds – physical and emotional. But anxiety, grief and confusion often accompany the loss of an original part of the body in subtle but profound ways patients don’t expect.
PTSD also is caused by childhood trauma, including diseases and abuse, that carries forward.
PTSD is tricky. Unknown triggers set it off. The disorder comes and goes. It can manifest as depression, addiction of any kind, high anxiety levels, neuromuscular ticks, restless leg syndrome and balance problems.
Massage for PTSD has two important components. Massage with a trusted therapist creates and strengthens a trust bond that allows the client both physical and emotional comfort. That comfort and trust, in turn, create a space for coping with the stress the body is under.
Of course manipulation of tissue fibers is important, too. Massage for PTSD and generally increases relaxation, boosts mood and improves the quantity and quality of sleep. We have an amazing and innate ability to heal ourselves, and massage increases awareness of both physical and psychological stress. Massage for PTSD is empowering.
PTSD can be illusive, frustrating and at times debilitating. It doesn’t have to be.